Poet-playwright Alfian Sa’at explains severity of male NUS student filming female student in shower
"I think it's important to centre the discussion on what this man, a fully grown adult, actually did."
National University of Singapore (NUS) undergraduate Monica Baey was filmed in the shower on the campus hostel by a fellow student in November 2018.
In a series of Instagram stories on April 19, about six months after having her privacy violated, Baey expressed her disappointment that her perpetrator got off too lightly, and hoped to incite change from the university by going public with what happened.
A public uproar ensued, and NUS subsequently issued a statement on a Saturday evening.
The severity of the case has prompted many to comment, including Singaporean playwright and writer Alfian Sa’at, who has since weighed in with his take in a Facebook post on April 21, 2019.
Alfian has been known to be verbose about certain issues, and in this case, he has taken a firm stance against the perpetrator.
Focusing on the perpetrator’s actions
While the discussion has been straying to whether the perpetrator should be named, Sa’at writes, the important thing is to “centre the discussion” on what crime a “fully grown adult” actually committed.
Alfian then laid out, in no uncertain terms, the harassment that occurred (capitalisation of words are his):
This man (forget student, or undergraduate, and whatever those terms might imply in terms of diminished responsibility and a ‘bright future’ ahead) TRESPASSED into the female toilet and decided to RECORD A VIDEO of someone who was BATHING without this person’s KNOWLEDGE nor CONSENT. He wasn’t just peeping to satisfy some kind of voyeuristic itch; he wanted some documentation of it, so that the moment of VIOLATION could be REPLAYED, probably as his own masturbation fodder.
Age of technology
Alfian then expanded on the implications that the perpetrator’s actions can have, especially in the age of easy transmission of information.
The perpetrator could disseminate his ill-gotten video among his friends and put them in chats, or upload it to a number of sites where it will be watched again and again by strangers.
This, the writer argues, is a repeated violation of the victim’s dignity and privacy, especially since “smartphones, compact cameras, and the Internet have created the conditions for voyeurism to be weaponised”.
Alfian then shifted the focus from NUS to other institutions in Singapore that he felt have “a lot of explaining to do as well”.
You can read his post here, which has since been shared more than 600 times within a day:
Top image via Monica Baey’s Instagram and Alfian Sa’at’s Facebook
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