Thursday, December 13, 2012

Michael Palmer-Laura Ong and Ng Boon Gay-Cecillia Sue

Yet another scandal has erupted involving top public servants and the latest casualty this time is none other than Speaker of Parliament, Peoples' Action Party MP Michael Palmer, who supposedly got involved with a People's Association Constituency Directory, Laura Ong.

The Ng Boon Gay and Cecillia Sue sex for favours corruption case had been hotly followed by many for its saucy revelations and interest was only dying down recently and out comes the Michael Palmer-Laura Ong case.

Thinking slightly further back, we also had the Workers' Party Yaw Shin Leong case where the female in question was never directly identified.

These people were the elite of our society but they were all brought down by sex scandals. However, the common thread amongst them thus far has been that they were basically having extramarital affairs.

In the words of actor Jackie Chan, they had basically committed an offence that all men are prone to. While our society had been conservative, we had been opening up over the years and perhaps it is time to consider if extramarital affairs are really such a serious character flaw.

As recently as a few decades ago, our society was still one that practised polygamy. We humans are after all just enlightened animals. Millions of years of evolution had hardwired into us to seek to companionship and procreate. Rich and powerful men and beautiful women had always been magnets for affection.

Are extramarital affairs permissible? The politically right answer to say now is a resounding no. However, I believe it is a trait that is just being suppressed by current societal norms. The question is who is able to do a better job of not succumbing to having an affair when offered the opportunity.

While extramarital affairs are a direct violation of marriage vows, it is basically not a crime. Even if we call it adultery, it still is not a crime in Singapore. Perhaps, the impact of it is only if the married couple decides on a divorce and it gets factored into divorce proceedings. Yet, if the wife has forgiven the husband and is willing to stick by him, why should society stick its nose into what is essentially private matters?

Yaw Shin Leong's wife stuck by him and left the country together. Ng Boon Gay's wife stuck by him and attended court sessions together. Michael Palmer's wife stuck by him and accompanied him to bid farewall to his grassroot leaders.

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