Go with a smile!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

About that Vincent Wijeysingha allegation

Lately I’ve read a few conservative commentators – and a few of them are friends on Facebook. They have been complaining about the way that they’ve been treated by the pinkdot gang. They almost sound like they’re the victim here. One or two are even moaning about how their kids are becoming more progressive than they are. I say more power to their kids man.

There’s a parable here to be told. There’s this guy, he walks into a crowded shopping mall. And then he says everybody’s looking at me with fear and hate in their eyes. All the security guards are after me. What the hell is going on? Well, what’s going on is that he’s holding a loaded gun in his hand. That’s the thing. That’s the part of the situation that he doesn’t really appreciate. Why is everybody so hostile towards you? Maybe you should start examining yourself and trying to figure out whether or not you’re holding that gun. There are a lot of articles on both sides of the camps but neither of them really address the issue of how we’re going to reach consensus.

True, I’ve often pooh-poohed consensus over conflict in the past. But my formula is different. I think that there should be consensus and there should be conflict, and both of them are related like yin and yang. They give rise to each other. There should be conflict because the world is dynamic and power structures change all the time. But the conflict should after that be resolved.

Anyway, let’s go to the main topic of this blog post. This concerns an article that Vincent Wijeysingha wrote on Facebook, where he criticizes the Catholic Church for the sexual abuse that he received as a youngster.

Now if you remember, Vincent Wijeysingha was supposed to be one of the shining stars of the opposition, up till the time when he quit the opposition party. He’s one of the more articulate and charismatic figures, for sure. But he’s made a few missteps in the past. First, there was the printing of the election posters during the Punggol East by-election. Then there was this time when he was caught on Facebook sneering at Jeraldine Phneah and calling her a bimbo. Then now this pretty arbitrary attack on the Catholic Church.

For clarity’s sake, I should probably say that I don’t know whether to believe that the molesting incident took place, or to believe that it didn’t. I absolutely cannot rule out that it has. Of course, I can believe that it was pretty difficult for him to file a police record if it happened. Who’s going to believe that a person has molested you? What proof do you have? These things only come to light when a lot of people come out and all of them point their finger at the same person. And if you’re the only guy that person has molested, then I suppose you’re out of luck.

I don’t know what the Catholic Church has done about this incident. Possibly they would know that it is plausible. The NMP Eugene Tan has called upon Wijeysingha to apologise to the Catholic Church. Well that’s probably a politically motivated statement. There’s no need for Wijeysingha to apologise because I think the Catholic Church might not want to sue him for defamation. That’s the thing about suing for defamation – it’s a double edged sword. You don’t really want to be like TT Durai who sued for defamation one time too many and ended up losing everything that he ever had. So this is as good as it ever gets for the Catholic Church. Nobody really knows whether what Wijeysingha said is true or not. You don’t ever want to sue, and then 100 other people appear out of the woodwork and make similar allegations about the Catholic Church priests. That would not be good.

What Eugene Tan said is pretty cunning. Because you know and I know that if Wijeysingha were to sue the Catholic Church for a molestation case that took place 20-30 years ago in his youth, most likely the verdict would be “not guilty”. As in, there wouldn’t be enough evidence for Wijeysingha to make his case. And then that “not guilty” evidence would be a presumption of innocence. And Wijeysingha would have to make a turnaround.

But the thing is – if what Wijeysingha said was true, there would be a lot of people out there who have been molested by errant priests. And they can’t ever say anything. They can’t ever do what Eugene Tan proposed for him to do. (Which is presumably why Eugene Tan asked him to do it. Eugene Tan knows that Wijeysingha has talked himself into a trap.) And they don’t really have a choice about the getting molested. You have to shut the hell up and suck it up.

There are other reasons why Wijeysingha would not want to sue the guy who molested him. He may be dead. Or he may be destitute, and that would look pretty bad.

I don’t know why Wijeysingha would bring this issue up. Maybe he didn’t think through it properly. Or maybe he did, and he just concluded that the ordinary person would come to the same conclusions that I have – that there is absolutely no way to figure out whether or not such an incident did or did not occur. Such is the faith that people have in our justice system nowadays.

So that’s the problem with the justice system. It doesn’t ever bring down a person in power unless whatever was committed was so egregious that even the courts can’t protect him (as in the TT Durai case). And while it’s a bit of a stretch to say that the justice system is unfair, the burden of proof on the plaintiff is pretty damn high.

The other reason I can think of that it's a bad idea that Wijeysingha complained about this is that it gives people the ammunition to say that people turn gay as a result of sexual abuse as a youngster. For a person who's a public figure and a gay rights activist, he should have thought about that first.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why would Vincent bring it up if it were not true? You can be implying he made the whole thing up? It's quite embarrassing to him too and it's not as though we all don't know theCatholic Church has been covering up their child abuse for years and allowing their priests to repeat their crimes in other parishes and the hundreds of defrocked bishops and thousands of others censured must be only the tip of the iceberg

I was almost molested by my Protestant pastor as a child.After that I observed this pastor as he went after other children in the church. His name appeared in the STraits Times 20 years later when he was finally caught.

6:11 AM

Blogger 7-8 said...

I don't know which part of this article you didn't understand.

The part which I said that I didn't know whether he made this incident up, or the part where I said that I'm only talking about this incident.

Recently the pope has acknowledged that child abuse is going on. In fact he goes as a far as to say that 2% of priests are paedophiles.

Just so that we're clear, let's talk about what I'm not saying. I'm not saying that Vincent Wijeysingha's allegation is false. I'm only saying that it's impossible to tell whether it's true or false.

And even if I were to say that Vincent Wijeysingha was not molested, I'm not saying that nobody was molested. Because I'm only referring to a very specific allegation about a very specific incident. ie "Vincent Wijeysingha's allegation is false" means that "Vincent Wijeysingha was not molested".

So relax, calm down, nobody is saying that all this molestation incidents is not taking place. Personally I would find it hard to believe that nobody in Singapore has ever been molested by a priest.

As for why Vincent Wijeysingha would make a false allegation, I can think of at least one reason: he knows that everybody knows that some Catholic priests are molesters, and he knows that if he were to make this allegation, it would be believable. And therefore he's using it to score points.

7:53 AM

Blogger 7-8 said...

Also want to add - I'm a former molest victim. I was 12, in a toy shop, this pervy looking guy came over, stroked his hands over my balls a few times. I was shocked but not overly traumatised. No, this is not like kids on the playground kicking each other in the balls for fun. This was real molest. After that, to my surprise I didn't think about it much. Life goes on.

Personally if I'm traumatised about anything it's probably that I didn't have a great social life in JC or whatever.

I'm not saying that molest is right or whatever. But different people are affected differently. C'est la vie.

8:10 AM


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