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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

An amatuer case analysis by a frustrated Malaysian.

(Read my first post on this case here.)

The full judgement for Noor Afizal Azizan's case has now been released and is available here. You are welcome!

I am now going to completely contradict my previous stance. I side with the statement made by the Court of Appeal, in particular where they stated in Para 22 that "if the order of the suspended prison sentence has the effect of rehabilitating him, then public interest has indeed been served and best served."

The reasons for the court's decision in basically letting him off (his conviction is still recorded, but who are we kidding; do we really think he is in any way being punished?) were that Afizal was not much older than his victim, that the sex was consensual, that he had shown remorse and pleaded guilty, was a first time offender, and gave a guarantee that he would not repeat his actions. Oh, then there's the whole "bright future" thing, but my previous post has went into detail about my thoughts on that  ludicrous notion already, so no need to repeat myself.

However, the argument that completely swung me was Para 17 and 18, where the objective of sentencing was considered. The court claimed that by imposing a custodial (prison) sentence, public interest would still not be served because it would not serve as an effective deterrent towards future consensual statutory rape cases, because "the safeguard towards such cases lies at home, through parental disciplining and religious knowledge, and at school through sex education about the consequences of pre-marital sex."

This is a rape case; it is completely irreversible and should not be taken lightly. This was not theft or burglary, where any losses could be monetarily compensated. He had sex with a minor, which I'm sure he was aware was against the law, and last I heard breaking the law should come with dire consequences.

Having said that, I take a step back, and agree that jailing Azizan would not discourage underage sex. I personally know numerous people who had sex while they were underage, and I am pretty sure nothing would have discouraged them from doing so at the time, even the prospect of facing possible jailtime.

In good conscience, I cannot say that I believe these people should be put in jail, even if not all of them can rightfully be said to have a "bright future". Horny teenagers will always be horny teenagers, and noone ever thinks that they will get caught; in Para 7 it was recorded that the victim made no complaint, and the sex romp was discovered after her father read her diary, which leads us to a whole new issue of privacy and parental boundaries, but I digress.


I readily admit that the whole "bright future" issue shouldn't even have been brought up as such a big mitigation factor, and the fact that it was probably fueled many netizen's angry insistence that he should be jailed. I still believe that noone should escape criminal liability by sole virtue of being young and highly gifted. However, the whole issue is two horny teenagers having sex, which is so common that most people wouldn't have batted an eyelid at if noone went to jail, had the "bright future" thing not have been discussed.

Although I risk going into complete moral decay, I conclude by saying I believe that sans the whole "bright future" issue, the right decision was made by not sending Azizan to jail.


Nevertheless, I cannot say the same for this 22 year old who had sex with his 12 year old girlfriend and walked away free. He was sentenced to a RM25,000 three year good behaviour bond instead of jailtime, and yet again that stupid "bright future" issue was considered, because he dropped out of school at 14 and just managed to get a fixed job.

With Azizan, both parties had checked into a hotel (very extravagant for first-timers), and it was clear that they intended to have sex. However, Chuah Guan Jiu had "coaxed the girl into skipping school and following him back to his flat on the pretext of him being sick, and despite her asking him many times to take her to school, he still said he felt unwell and took her to his home."

It seems to me a clear-cut case of a grown man taking advantage of his very young girlfriend's naivete and the same arguments regarding consent in support of Azizan's case cannot and should not apply for him. I can't say much for the victim's taste in guys, but if she had indeed repeatedly asked to be taken to school, I dare to speculate that she had not intended to have sex with him, at least not right then.

One issue brought up in Azizan's case was age difference. There was a rough 6 year gap in Azizan's case as she was 13 and he was 19, but in Chuah's case he was 21 and she was 12.

Call me biased, but when there is near 10 years of an age gap, and the victim is only 12, I doubt there is true sexual consent. Which primary school student has sufficient capacity to give consent to sex? More pressingly, what kind of adult would want to have sex with a primary school student??

The kind of adult that should be put in jail is what I think. The material facts of both cases are completely different, and the objectives of sentencing in Chuah's case should be giving more weight towards retribution, rather than deterrence and rehabilitation. When you're a legal adult, I don't think the law should afford any leniency towards sex with a minor, because there is just that much more likelihood of taking advantage of the immature horny minor.


What next, Malaysia? A 30 year old having sex with a 15 year old and also not going to jail for it? Honestly, it wouldn't even surprise me at this point.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Murphy's law.

You wait hours for a bus, then three come at once.

You rush like crazy to catch the usually late train because you have an important arrangement, and it comes early for once.

You cannot find something when you need it the most.


And so the list goes on. Time and time again, life screws us over by refusing to give us things when we feel we need them the most. It's the most frustrating feeling where you feel like screaming your head off and hitting something, but unfortunately your predicament does not change.

I am currently enjoying a one month semester break. And it is getting depressing how little I am accomplishing.

During the stress-filled weeks leading up to the finals, I was hell-bent on making sure my holidays would be when I did things that I had to deprive myself of during those long, painful two and a half months. Movies, outings, getaways, writing, actual exercise etc.

It's been two weeks into my break now, and I've done nought but relax my head off. And I've accomplished all my movie, tv, and storybook goals, but not much else.


The one that bugs me the most though, is that I have yet to write anything. I aimed to write at least once every other day, but so far have only done so once excluding this post. Inspiration just does not strike when I am the most available to act on it, and this has really been getting on my nerves.

It's not that I haven't been trying to get it to strike, but that eponymous writer's block still holds firm. I've become one of those people I hate, because I've always believed that writer's block was just a lousy cop-out from getting down to work.

But that's just how it is right now. And it's exceedingly disheartening for someone who aspires to one of those people who can never run out of things to talk about.

I do want to write more, but nothing has been inspiring a spur of thoughts so far. And I dislike writing short posts about basically nothing, like this useless one right here.

So, what do I do for the rest of the month now then?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

#BrightFutureRapeOK

Note: Viewer discretion advised; PG-13 material in the next few paragraphs. Skip ahead to [24 hours later] to avoid this.

"Come on, let's do it."

In the midst of their passionate embrace, Maryann froze momentarily in Richard's arms. They had been kissing on his bed; his parents were out and they had the house to themselves for hours. She came over to watch a movie, but they'd ended up here instead.

Maryann loved Richard; he was a mini celebrity in their little town, as he was an amazingly talented tennis player, that many predicted would one day be famous worldwide. Even though he was sought after by many, Richard had instead chosen to be with her. Everytime they went on a date, she always felt like the luckiest girl in the world.

She also did not want Richard to think she was an inexperienced prude. After all, he was 5 years older than her, and while it made her feel safe and protected, she knew that she had to compete with girls that were older, smarter, sexier, and more capable of giving Richard what he wanted.


Richard groaned, a deep guttural sound that broke Maryann's reverie. His lips were on her neck, his hands were under her shirt, cupping her small breasts that had only formed last year when she turned 12. Maryann became very aware of Richard's very erect member, grinding and pulsating against her inner thigh; sexual energy sparked the whole room alive, and Maryann felt her body responding to his in a way she could not understand. 

She knew having sex was wrong; her parents had told her so, and so had multiple sex education classes. But all Maryann could think of was her sore, throbbing womanhood; blood flooded her head and all she wanted was Richard in her.

"But wait! Are you sure you're ready for this??!" her mind yelled.

For a moment, worry clouded Maryann's thoughts. Should she stop this before it goes beyond the point of no return? But then Richard's deft fingers found their way down her jeans and started stroking her deep inside, and all the fight went out of her.

"Oh baby," she breathed throatily, "don't stop."

_

[24 hours later]

Maryann was curled up tightly in a ball at the foot of her bed, where she had been for most of the day. She was sore from the frantic, awkward love-making that happened last night; she was worried that someone might find out what she did; but mostly, she was feeling embarrassed, resentful, and guilty for her rash decision the previous afternoon.

She had been fine when Richard dropped her off yesterday, but hours later she was horrified at the enormity of what she had just done, and could never take back. She spent hours in the bathroom, scrubbing at her skin with a loofah until it was red and raw, but she still felt used and unclean all over. She slept horrible that night, repeatedly jerking awake and lying there in revulsion.

What had seemed like such an amazing idea, what had felt so right and natural yesterday, now seemed like a foolish and rash decision made to satisfy a temporal itch. Never in her life had Maryann felt so remorseful, and she knew without a doubt that given the chance, she wouldn't have said yes to Richard.


But Richard was an amazing guy, right? Older, handsome, smart, funny, athletic...the list went on and she believed she would not be able to ever finish describing his good qualities. She was sure he would understand her reservations towards any repeat of last afternoon, but instead be kind and caring, and be willing to comfort her until the dark clouds filling the sky in her life cleared.

Right on cue, her phone buzzed with a text from Richard. 

Her heart leapt with joy, and the first smile in 24 hours stretched across Maryann's face, anticipating a declaration of love from her lovely, sensitive boyfriend after his tennis training session. She chided herself for being so silly to have gotten all upset, because Richard was of course the perfect guy for her, who would now make everything better.

"Hey babe, hv d hse all 2 myself again this evening. Pick u up in 1 hr k? ;)"

Momentary disbelief flitted across Maryann's face. Surely she was not the only one who had been drowning in a deep pool of regret and self-loathing? 

But she quickly recollected herself, remembering that Richard was perfect. Perfect. He would understand her feelings once she told him how she felt towards having sex again.

"ILY, but m nt rdy to do "it" again. Could we go 4 movie n pizza instead? x"

"I tot u loved me but guess im wrong. M thru with u. Bb."



Caroline was pounding on the bathroom door; she had been annoyed when Maryann had been in there for 10 minutes, but it had now been 40 minutes and she hadn't heard the sound of water running, and all she felt now was a cold chill of fear.

"Open this door right now missy, or I'll have to knock it down and ground you for the rest of your life!"

The bathroom door clicked and swung open, and Caroline was shocked by the state of her daughter's face. It was not just the red splotichiness; not just her swollen, red-rimmed eyes; not just her tear-and-mucus-soaked face and neck; it was her eyes. Maryann's eyes were looking at her, but Caroline instinctively knew that Maryann was lost in a dark, scary world, and she needed to bring her beloved daughter back to her regular cheerful self.

After 2 hours of holding her precious baby close, wiping away her tears and softly uttering reassuring words of love and comfort, Caroline felt Maryann finally re-emerge from her disorientated state. Maryann realised had to tell someone what had happened, or she would eventually kill herself in her state of despair.

"Mom, I had sex with Richard. I regret it, I'm so sorry. So, so sorry."

*

The story above is purely fictional, but the issues are real, and very prevalent today.

Statutory rape (sex with anyone under 16) is a crime, even when it is consensual. The reason for this is simple; because a minor would not be able to handle the extremely emotional consequences of having sex. No matter how mature a minor seems to be, I believe they would still be greatly affected by the disconcerting nature of a giant, irreversible decision.

Maryann's story is what I believe I would have felt if I had given up my virginity at 13. (Incidentally, I was dating an 18 year old when I was 14 so I can understand the attraction.) But what I believe everyone would agree to, and indeed many people have shown to feel this way, is that Richard should not get away scot-free for his actions towards Maryann.


Noor Afizal Azizan did. He pleaded guilty to raping a 13 year old when he was 18 (now he's 21), and today walks away a free man, simply because he is a national bowler "with a bright future". He claims the sex was consensual, but as I have already discussed, this should not negate rape, especially as he was much older and should have been much more reasonable.

Bite-sized bits of information for the uninformed: The case was first heard in the Sessions Court that bound him over a 5 year good behaviour bond because the judge felt he had a "bright future". The High Court reversed this and imposed a 5 year jail sentence; but the Court of Appeal just one week ago on 8th August restored the Sessions Court decision, which means our rapist (he pleaded guilty) is happily walking along the streets today.

There is much outrage going on in the online world, mostly under the hash tag #BrightFutureRapeOK, and this outrage is rightfully felt.

Ask any sane, reasonable person, and they will tell you that noone should escape criminal liability for rape, and there should not be an exception for anyone, even for a talented sportsman.

The very thought that a precedent has been set that anyone who can prove he has much potential to contribute towards the country's growth, can now walk away freely after committing rape, fills me with anger towards our justice system, and shame for our country. Now everyone in the whole world will have no doubt that we run kangaroo courts.


What if the girl he raped was a star athlete too? Would he have walked away free?
What if the girl he raped was a bright talent? Would he have walked away free?
What if the girl he raped was mentally retarded? Even then should he walk away free?

Courts were originally established to dispense justice and uphold individual rights. Although justice is arguably a subjective concept, I dare to venture that there has been a grave miscarriage of justice here. It makes you wonder about the value system that our judges practise in other cases that have not raised much attention, and even in their own families.

Noor Afizal Azizan should go to jail. There should not have been any doubt in the first place. Even if he was a better athlete than Lee Chong Wei and had won 5 gold medals in the Olympics, I fail to see how this should make anyone more sympathetic towards him.

With the current uproar however, I am confident that there will be a re-trial, and the decision will be in public interests' true favour, rather than the ridiculous notion the judges have put forth that "public interest would not be best served if this bowler with a bright future is sent to jail." Honestly, I cannot wait for the judgements to be released so I can laugh at their ludicrous justifications for their decision.


But while the world is raging at the courts, my heart also goes out to the 15 year old girl, that is in a state of disbelief that her rapist is freely walking about the streets. The monster in all her nightmares, the reason for many long months of depression and dejection, was not made to pay for what he had did do her when she was young and foolish and vulnerable. Our desolate fallen angel.

God bless you sweetie, and let's all hope our justice system will come through in the end.

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Art of being single.

I don't have many close confidantes. By no means am I an unfriendly person (I hope), it is merely because I find it difficult to meet kindred spirits that I can pour myself out to. I can feel entirely comfortable with my closest friends to not care about decent dressing or manners, and that level of comfort has not yet been found with the new people I've met in tertiary education so far.

However, this brings me to my next issue: my closest friends are ALL not single, bar none. Not that I was trying to hit on any of them! But this meant that in group outings, I was the clearly left out one that had to awkwardly pretend I didn't mind that I was surrounded by couples holding hands or with their arms around each other.

It used to be really depressing, and even now it sometimes still is, especially when we watch movies and they're all in various states of canoodling. I have a horrible, terrible, vegetable relationship history, so I'm guessing part of me feels jealous of their happiness.

But then again, I believe there is a reason I'm surrounded by such people. Bestf and I have been trying many times to plan a getaway for the old high school bunch, but plans keep falling through because literally everyone runs on a different timetable, so we all have holidays at different times. So she keeps asking me to finally get myself attached so we can go on a double date getaway; and even Paul keeps asking me to get myself laid.

But I tell them I can't. I've honestly not even had a serious crush since re-entering singledom over a year back, and I tell them it's all their fault. Because after many third wheel outings watching them, I've resolved to not get attached to anyone unless they can love me like how my besties respective partners love them.

The love that they have is so sweet and heartwarming, even after being together for years. The familiarity with which they casually hold hands or wrap their arms around the others waist, or call each other "bii" and insult each other in the next breath; makes me want to have the same strength and passion with my future love(s) and nothing less.


I do feel lonely sometimes when circumstances are bleak or after I've just watched a heart-wrenching love story, but for the most part I'm good, and am very happily living the single life. Maybe one day I'll start collecting cats and live in a wooden shack, but right now I'm happy with where I am.

Maybe it's because I already have impossibly high standards for guys. Besides the obvious "doesn't smoke, take drugs, or heavily drink" golden rule, I like tallish guys that are preferably fit but can never be scrawny. They have to be intelligent enough to keep up with me, don't habitually swear, and cannot be in any way metrosexual (anything from dyeing hair to wearing pink to speaking with an affected girly tone turns me off the the max).

It wouldn't in any way hurt if he was Catholic, good looking, and artistically inclined too. I prefer musician/dancers to artists/writers, but only because I'm a sucker for a man on stage, and have always dreamed of being serenaded. So add all that to the requirement of "loves me truly, madly, deeply", and you've got yourself an impossible job ahead of yourself, eh Cupid?

Yeah, sure I could lower my standards and just accept the offers that have already come my way, but why should I have to compromise my standards just so I won't be lonely? Recently, even my mom has come to me a few times and asked me if any guy has caught my fancy and if she should set me up with this Datin's son, because even she thinks I've been single for far too long.


I'm not sad or lonely; I'm perfectly fine being single.

I'm patiently waiting for someone to sweep me off my feet, give me butterflies whenever I think of him, and make me fall head over heels in love with him. If that guy doesn't show up, I'd rather remain single for the rest of my life than end up with someone who doesn't love me as fiercely as I love him.

So to anyone that is single and reading this, I hope you never compromise your standards just to alleviate momentary loneliness. Because loneliness is just a passing emotion, and I know from experience that the longer you spend with someone you don't love, the more you discourage and push away someone that could have been The One.

Oh well. Life goes on, and I'm still young. After all, there's more to life than boys, right? Right?

...Now let's all return to stalking random people on facebook.
 

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