Singapore—The recent case of sexual misconduct where a student from NUS, Monica Baey, took to Instagram to air her dissatisfaction with the punishment meted out to Nicholas Lim, who had filmed her while she was showering, has garnered a lot of sympathy for Ms Baey, as well as caused the University to re-examine its policies regarding such cases.
Mr Lim has accepted culpability in the matter, and adopted a contrite attitude in an interview with The Straits Times.
However, not everyone has been supportive of Ms Baey, and some have even taken to vilifying her, even as they’ve expressed support for the perpetrator in her case, Nicholas Lim.
Netizen MW Ang, whose Facebook biography identifies him as a student from Nanyang Technological University (NTU), posted a compilation of screenshots on Saturday, April 27, which showed a long thread from a Singaporean gay men’s forum where many people commented that they openly sympathized with Mr Lim, and also hurled accusations at Ms Baey.
Mr Ang wrote, “I have curated a series of screenshots from just ONE page of a (at the time of posting) five-page long thread on a Singapore gay men’s forum about the NUS sexual crime incident involving offender Nicholas L. The level of hatred and discomfort that these gay men feel against women who dare to speak up is directly evident from their words.”
The original post illustrates how ‘cute’ Mr Lim is. “In SG we have Nicholas Lim scandal. Everyone has been talking about the issues. One wrong step can really ruin one life forever. I find him very cute. With his look, he can get as many girls as he wanted or even boys.”
Unlike Ms Baey and many other NUS students, commenters on the thread felt that Mr Lim had received sufficient punishment. One wrote, “I think that the warning, his one semester suspension and his public humiliation are sufficient punishment for the guy. He surely will think twice before filming people showering. And Monica the ‘victim”\’, what was her suffering? Was the film of her exposed in public, on the internet?”
Throughout the thread, Mr Lim’s looks got more attention than his offence. One wrote, “Nicholas Lim is handsome and cute. So all should be forgiven.”
“Looks damn cute. Not sure how tall he is but his forearms look very muscular. Some more he got that very decent look,” was another comment.
Yet another person posted about “Nicholas’ cute face and hot naval diver body.”
Others took a hostile attitude toward Ms Baey. One comment said, “Either you accept an apology and let go or you don’t accept and let the matter drag on but once a letter of apology was issued and accepted, then let the matter rest. Just wonder who is the real victim now?”
Another comment belittled her experience as a victim. “Somehow this Monica needs to get her yardstick of victimisation reset to a realistic value. 300 innocent people may never get ANY justice for their loss of life, every day hundreds of women don’t get ANY justice for serious crimes committed against them. While this pretentious female is asking for more “justice” because an immature boy tried to film her taking a shower ???”
However one person, a Senior Member going by the name of Diamond, showed support for Ms Baey. “applause her for guts…. My reason is : To show hidden victim the confidence to set up right from wrong. let the public moral, parents and educator to stop sweeping underneath the carpet for issue.” (sic)
But he was a lone voice. Another comment actually suggested that NUS issue a warning to Ms Baey as well. “That Monica taking revenge on him should receive a warning from the university too. She needs to learn her lesson now. Lim might have done some wrong but what Monica is doing seems not proportionate to what happened.”
Others wrote that she didn’t act like a ‘victim,’ “She does not show confidence, but an ugly abuse, (sic) taking advantage of her status as ‘victim’”.
Guest life’s lessons wrote, “the girl went overboard. And what she missed is that justice is not to serve to her satisfaction.”
SuperMember Steve5380 wrote, “Pity her? even if in the beginning she could be seen as the ‘victim’ of a very petty thing, her actions transformed her from victim into victimizer. Hopefully her school recognizes this. Underneath her sweet looks lies something ugly. She appears spoiled, pretentious. Who knows if this is her essence or if she had some motives to seek revenge on the guy. Not a good (sic) material to have in the workplace, and even less, in a family. This episode should be a warning for any naive straight guy who is attracted to her for her pretty face, without realizing that she could turn into a poisonous insect.”
Throughout the thread Ms Baey is called “a spoilt little girl in a candy store”, “relentless and unforgiving who wants nothing more than total annihilation”, “the kind of bitchy brat that give millennials a very bad name.”
She was also accused of “taking delight in torturing and punishing Nic.”
On Facebook, Mr Ang explains the vitriol towards Ms Baey this way. “Let’s face it: misogyny & toxic masculinity is a serious problem in Singapore. And if we think that gay people are automatically all perfect role models who will fight for the rights of others, then we need to think again.
This problem arises when intersectionality is ignored, and the power disparities relating to sexuality is falsely presented as separable from the systems that keep women, poor people, ethnic minorities and other groups disempowered and voiceless.”/ TISG