Home > Singapore Scene, Stay Away from Her > Stay Away from Her

Stay Away from Her


Solomon – a man known for his wisdom, chose to have innumerable wives and concubines. Yet in the book of Proverbs, he warned against adultery and sexual immorality in no uncertain terms. Proverbs 5 alone spelt out in length the ruin that would befall the man who failed to stay away from her (sexual immorality). Unfortunately Mr Yaw would probably be able attest to the accuracy of that proverb.


I am upset. Friends who are social workers tell me Mr Yaw did a marvelous job at the grassroots level. He worked hard and he cared. So he had a weakness – but who is without sin? Should he be expelled simply because he had an affair? I am as conservative as they come – but modern society always claims acceptance at sexual dalliances. So are we being hypocritical?


I simply feel that we have gotten the order wrong. We often fail to teach the young abstinence and denials as virtues. Instead some label these as archaic and irrelevant in modern society. We tend to close an uncomfortable eye when we see the tell-tale signs of the beginnings of an illicit relationship. But when the shit hits the ceiling fan we cry for public confession and crucify the man. In so doing, we pay little heed to those immediately affected – an aged mother perhaps, a wife in pain or children shamed.


So yes – teach abstinence and denials as part of the sex ed programme please, teach – not preach. Teach the young ones how to avoid compromising situations, tell them about the natural urges that healthy males and females will feel, show them what can be done to minimize such urges, explain responsibility, mention the social costs of sexual laxity and warn them about the emotional upheavals they can cause to their loved ones. No one “sins” alone. I am not saying we ignore the other part of sex ed programme. But abstinence must be taught too because it is not natural to want to abstain.


Precisely because sex can be so heady, it is wise to have accountability partners. This is by the no means fool proof, but someone who can check in once in a while can help pull one back before one steps over the brink. Like doctors who make sure they have nurses with them during patients’ examinations, politicians too would do well to avoid visiting residents alone.


When all has failed, instead of bashing the perpetrator, it is time to have damage control. It is time to move towards reconciliation and healing. In persisting in wanting to punish the villain, often it is the vulnerable that suffers the most pain and shame. Frankly the less said publicly the better. In private though, the parties concerned need the service of a compassionate counselor who can take them through the confession – forgiveness process.


I felt that Mr Yaw and WP were doing the right thing when they kept very quiet about the allegations. In my mind, let this issue be settled privately first, then a public statement would be in order. I certainly do not agree with Mr Khaw’s statement about the public figure having no private life – my paraphrase. If that were true, then the citizens will want an accounting from all politicians regarding their rumoured failings, plus details of their personal wealth, and the positions that each of their family members are holding.


Then the shocker – Mr Yaw was expelled. I was very upset.


Then I thought more about this. It is unfortunate that one of the complainants was a resident. Allegations about an affair with a colleague is a private matter. But if there were affairs with residents that he was helping, then there was a breach of ethics. A lack of denial spoke volumes. I began to understand WP’s move – they could not afford an onslaught of accusations with no leg to stand in terms of defense if Mr Yaw refused to help them. On the other hand, silence need not mean an admission of guilt – he could have his reasons to keep mum. Still, his party leaders could not keep using ignorance to push away complaints.


I am sure it was a painful decision for Mr Low Thia Khiang. After all, Mr Yaw was his protégé, and someone he had poured his own life into. Potentially losing Hougang after all the years of work put in would cause Mr Low and WP much. Still, it had to be done.


So no, PM, Mr Khaw, I do not see WP as having let the people down. I see a character weakness that was unchecked that brought about a man’s downfall. This can happen to anyone. I see a party that could not and would not protect a member at all costs. A by election in Hougang could be suicide for WP. Still, it was a decision that they had taken to show a sense of responsibility for alleged wrong-doings. It’s not about whether Mr Yaw had broken criminal law or not – it’s really potentially about his apparent unwillingness to be transparent to his leaders and the possibility of a breach of ethics should residents be involved.


To me, I feel really sad that Mr Yaw had lost so much in this debacle. No man is beyond redemption. I still believe that this young man can rise again, can be helped once more, should be given another chance – but perhaps after some private time. He needs that privacy to heal – and it will be good if we can leave him alone to do just that.


And yes, please stay away from her in the future.

  1. patriot
    February 17, 2012 at 2:19 am

    The best article me got to read
    about the Yaw Affair.
    Very balanced, very sensible.


  2. Adeline
    February 17, 2012 at 2:45 am

    No man is without failing. There will always be people out there questioning and criticising and it is up to Yaw and the party to manage this. Important thing is to realise it, face it and communicate with credible and honest messages. Yaw did neither. He did not even come clean within the party who repeatedly asked for clarification. This is more than Yaw’s personal failing. Especially in such circumstances, the team needs to stand united, strong and tall. Without honesty and respect how can this be so? His private life certainly may not have bearings on his good works on the ground but it is the way this is being managed that spiralled the incident to what it is today.

    It is a sad case for WP and I agree that WP did not let the people down. With Yaw skipping town after the announcement, lets just hope that WP pick up the pieces and persevere on. The people will understand and support.

  3. Simon
    February 19, 2012 at 12:31 am

    Very well written. Agree on many count. A bit strange to expel if there was no smoking gun. Even if there is a smoking gun, he has the rights o keep his silence. This time, the knife was out far too quick this time. In comparision, there were no body calling for sack when old one lost 58 billions. .. In comparison such indiscreet affairs happens everyday but yu don’t lose 58 billions everyday.

  1. February 17, 2012 at 3:34 am

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