Sunday, January 15, 2006

The report about the naked salesman in the papers is cause for a raised eyebrow at least. Not that the guy was in the buff but that his neighbours took the time and trouble to make a police report to get him arrested.

I mean, sure, the guy was nude, but he was in his own house where he should expect a modicum of privacy at least. After all, a man's home is his castle, or maybe it was while the Brits were still here. What exactly is he guilty of? If you look at the pix in the papers (which out of good taste I won't upload here), he's engaged in his morning ritual of shaving his whiskers. Hardly anything to be concerned about there. "But he's not wearing any clothes!" as a neighbour might complain. Sure, but how did you get to see so much detail? The pix undoubtedly came from a police or press camera with a TELEPHOTO lens, rigged to catch him in the act (of shaving). Now, that's an invasion of his privacy, period.

The poor sod's being held for psychiatric evaluation pending further punitive procedures. The guy plainly isn't nuts. He might have been naive and stupid but definitely not psycho. So why did he do what he did? Simple: He doesn't look into his neighbours' bedroom windows, but forgot that his neighbours might look into his. After all, there's no indication that he was even aware that he was being watched. He didn't jump up and down, or wave, or do anything else that might have suggested that he was attracting the attention of anyone, though if he had then it would have been a different matter altogether. He just went about doing what everyone else normally does in the privacy of one's house, albeit sans attire. That's a crime?

It's typical of Singaporeans to approach the authorities to solve a problem for them, rather than work it out amongst themselves. Things would have been much better if his neighbours had just talked to him first, but they opted to slap criminal charges on him instead. We don't live in a problem-solving culture, we live in a problem eradication culture. Unthinking and unsociable is the Singaporean mindset.

So now they've ruined the guy. Publicly tarnished his reputation, stigmatized him with a criminal record, questioned his sanity, deprived him of his freedom, and probably strained relations between him and his wife for good measure. All just so that they don't have to see a naked man any more. They didn't just get rid of the nudity; they got rid of the man too. My children feel so much safer now, thanks to their civic consciousness. Thanks a bunch.

If I were him, I'd go find a good lawyer and file a counter-suit: invasion of privacy, defamation, wrongful accusation, and for social and psychological damages for starters. With his back against the wall, it's his only recourse.

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