" I'm a member of parliament not a private investigator."
- Low Thia Khiang, when he was asked to take responsibility for Yaw's actions.
Low worked with Yaw for 10 years and never suspected that he had such an exciting ECA. Before I tell you a few stories lets start with some numbers. The New Paper on Sunday reported that 20% of Singapore women cheat on their husbands based on a survey done recently. For husbands the number is likely to be worse - you can take the 20% and double or triple it. The number of illegal hookers arrested in 2010 was 7000 and the number that are not caught is likely to be 10 to 20 times this number...you take 7000 multiply by 10 and say, each one has 10 customers, you get a very big number...think about it.
I was looking around to check if any other Singapore blogger discussed this issue and saw things the same way I saw it. I found one. A dentist called Dr. Chan and he wrote about what one group of married men he met did when they were away from home [Preachers, Teachers and School Principals]:
"Let’s backtrack to the time when I was climbing Kinabalu with a friend of mine. We met a group of Singaporean men. They were all married men and they met one another in Shenzhen when their companies sent them there. After their return to Singapore, they found that they missed each other so much that they decided to hold regular gathering. Climbing a mountain seemed healthy enough. But while chatting with them over dinner, the men revealed an interesting (but not startling) fact. They all had frequent sex trysts while working at Shenzhen.
I’ll save the lurid details for people who buy me drinks, but just for my readers, the guys had a whale of a time playing as hard as they worked in China’s economic capital.
These guys were not your regular Hokkien pengs or Ah Bengs. Far from that. They were highly educated people holding MBAs and other impressive degrees that will make them ministerial material. If the identities of these men were revealed and published in our mainstream media, it’s sure to cause an uproar" - Dr. Chan.
When I was in secondary school, I was the 1st batch of students to be taught "Moral Education". My teacher was in his sixties and near retirement. He took out the textbook on the first lesson and said, "According to the textbook, I'm suppose to teach what is right and what is wrong ..and you guys are suppose to go off and remember to do what is right. Hmm...this is not going to work". Actually most people already know what is morally good and what is morally bad so you don't have to tell them what is right and wrong - even a 6 yr old will know that lying, stealing, cheating, is not right. People know the rules - the 10 commandments have been around for more than 2000 years - but following the rules is another matter. Most people won't do something if the retribution is immediate or there is a high chance of being caught later. Most people will also avoid doing something that hurt someone else directly. According to my moral education teacher who tossed the textbook aside after the first lesson and taught the lesson using the wisdom of his own experience, most men are ruined by 3 things - women (lust), alcohol (or drugs) and gambling. Among the 3, he found gambling the most devastating. Most men who are hook on women (sex) are able to give up when they get old and find this activity too strenuous or when they are financially strained. It is the gamblers who will get into big trouble because they can't stop even they are broke - they will borrow to feed the habit. Drinkers or drunks usually run into health problems and mostly hurt themselves. Drugs addicts are rare due to effective law enforcement so we don't get many that fall into this trap but those who do often destroy their lives..it is probably as bad or worse for the individual but gambling causes more destruction for society because of the large number people involved.
The key to helping people avoid destroying their lives is not to just telling them what is right or wrong ..moral or immoral because most people already know that but how to handle the temptation and how they can help themselves if they get into trouble. It is pointless to tell a gambler that gambling is bad and he should stop, he already knows. He needs to be able to handle the temptation and treat this problem as an addiction. Similarly those who womanize need to cope with the temptation - I'm sure Jack Neo, Yaw, the ex-CNB chief, ex-SCDF chief, civil servants and the ex-school principal all know what is morally correct but they couldn't stop themselves. Nowhere in our education system and perhaps nobody teaches us how to resist the temptation. In fact the movies, the TV shows, magazines tells us to do otherwise ...admire James Bond when it comes to women....not to resist the temptation but to enjoy the conquest. Yet we are shocked, when sex scandals occur. You shouldn't be because the reality is it is that this bad behavior is far more common than what many people think. A lot of it is hidden like what Low Thia Kiang said - he worked next to Yaw for 10 years and knew nothing about the allegations.
When I was serving my NS decades ago, I was posted to a department where there were a number of civilians, yes, civil servants. One day the department organised a night tour of Singapore. Because the department head whom every one loathed was not going, the organizers decided make it more fun by adding a visit to the red light area at Petain Road - the other places we went were the Central Police Station, the fish market etc. As an innocent 19 year old kid, the tour of Petain Road was an eye-opener. It was my first time going to a place like this and the light, smell, women ...it was overwhelming. We were suppose to just walk around the red light district ...amuse ourselves then get back onto the tour bus and head for fish market. But that was not what happened. As soon as we got off at Petain Road, one of my fellow NS men headed for one of the rooms procured the services of a hooker. Half an hour later, he got back on the bus and had this smile on his face....the civil servants go up the bus and asked him about his experience..the professional skill of the... ...I'll spare you the details but none of them showed any hint of disapproval. This NS man had been sitting next to me every single working day for 8 months and often spoke to me and I had no idea he had this past-time/ECA. Over time, I learned that civil servants are not angels, they are probably the morally same as a snapshot of people you meet if you went to a food court in Singapore or those Singaporeans who went to Suzhou. They are however afraid of being reported to be seen at Geylang or one of the local red light districts. That is why Bangkok is a favorite holiday destination for some of them. The recent scandal involving civil servants using the service of an online vice ring that was busted caused quite a stir. However, if you think about it, they are more unlucky than they are unusually immoral.