The Steve Chia case: an ordinary bloke
And what do I have to say about the Steve Chia issue?
Thank heavens we have an ordinary bloke in Parliament!
The attached article from the Straits Times is probably the last word on this issue. If you are the kind who believe in conspiracy theories, you ‘d say this very article is another ham-fisted attempt at character assassination.
The government and its
police are being made by their most loyal newspaper to appear
magnaminous, and Steve Chia contrite and grateful for small favours. But
But hey, on behalf of
the hundreds of thousands of Singaporeans whose computers must surely
have porn downloaded advertently or inadvertently onto our hard drives,
I’d say we’re glad to count Steve Chia as one of our own.
Just another ordinary
It’s pretty difficult
for us to identify with the white-than-white, holier-than-holy, but
remarkably faceless PAP members of Parliament. Steve Chia’s our man!
Every square inch of his exposed skin!
OK, that was a cheap
shot, but honestly that’s how it should be. Just light teasing with no
So what if it is
revealed that he liked having nude pictures taken of himself? So what if
he likes to walk around nude in his home? As if thousands of us don’t
do that, or haven’t entertained the thought of doing that?
As a commentary piece
– I think it was Tommy Wee’s ‘Straight Talk’ – argued in a
recent edition of the Straits Times, the whole episode reflected less on
Steve Chia than on the sorry small-mindedness of Singapore society.
A clear majority of the
people polled by the media during this episode felt Steve Chia should
resign from all his political positions and cannot anymore be a credible
So what if the man has
an unusual hobby? So what if it borders on the erotic? If this is how we
judge competence or leadership, we’re doomed. We’re just asking to
be governed by sexually-repressed out-of-touch moralizers.
(Yes, I hear the
chorus, “We are already!”)
We should simply judge
politicians by their effectiveness in politics – their ideas, their
ability to communicate, and to implement if they have the chance to do
* * * * *
Steve Chia, a
Non-Constituency Member of Parliament, was having marital difficulties
with his wife, who was also pregnant with her first child. Apparently
these marital difficulties had been developing for quite a while.
In December, she
suddenly made a police report alleging that he had nude pictures on his
computer of himself and their maid. At first, it sounded as if the
wife had stumbled upon an affair. And it did seem as if the wife wanted
to establish just cause for a divorce.
Steve Chia was quick to
be open about the facts.
He clarified that
contrary to first impressions, there wasn’t any picture of him and his
maid together in the nude. In fact, while some pictures of the maid were
topless (but coyly posed), she was never in the nude.
The nude pictures were of himself taken on quite separate occasions for his own personal collection. He even showed the media some of these pictures. (From what I can see, I should invite Steve to pose for me. I am sure I can take much better nude pictures than those. And I have.)
Anyway, with that, the whole
thing boiled over and there was a general outcry about his being unfit for a
Soon it was clarified that the
maid had agreed to have her pictures taken. Somewhere, I think, it was said that
she had even initiated it by wanting nice photographs taken of herself. It’s
difficult to establish how true that is because she was let go almost
immediately – one can’t imagine Mrs Chia wanting the maid to continue
working for them – and she had since gone back to Indonesia.
This was the only point where I
had some niggling doubts. It’s difficult in a relationship between employer
and employee, sometimes, to establish how free the employee might be to agree or
not agree to an unusual request by her employer. To the extent that he applied
any pressure at all on her, it would have a bearing on his political ambitions
because the abuse of priviledge is something that is relevant to a political
On the other hand, we have to
bear in mind that it is possible for a young woman, even one working as a
domestic maid, to be frisky or vain. We must not always fall into the
patriarchal idea that a woman has no autonomy, and that if anything happens, it
must perforce be initiated by the man; she could only have mindlessly followed.
In any case, one is innocent
until proven guilty. And the police have stated that “no offence of outraging
modesty [was] disclosed.” To be fair to Steve Chia, we must accept that
What is left to morally indict
Steve Chia with? Nothing.
So get back into politics, Steve, and represent all of us ordinary blokes with porn on our computers.
© Yawning Bread