Friday, August 28, 2009

Castle in the air

It was James Otis who first said that a "man's house is his castle; and whilst he is quiet, he is as well guarded as a prince in his castle...". Well, I am sad to observe that in Singapore, even the Law acknowledges that this is not necessarily true. There was a recent case where 2 people sued a man for not being dressed at all while he was in his house's kitchen. The inside of this kitchen faced a public area, and as the newspaper account went, these 2 women were walking pass it when they saw the man of the house all naked sitting in his kitchen. Their modesty was so outraged that they sued the man. The Courts agreed with the women and fined the man $2,000 for the indecent exposure and a follow-up act of agression against the same.

So now, I am very careful about being decently dressed while I am at home. All the more so as many public, and might I say also private, apartments face public wakways and other apartments' windows. I once observed that in Hong Kong apartments, you could just reach out with your hands to touch your neighbours' window. Such was the congestion and design of their houses. Nowadays you can say the same about Singapore. At least you could see clearly into someone else's apartment.

Why would anyone move around in his/her apartment dressed to the zeros (as opposed to nines, i.e.?) Well, given Singapore's hot and humid climate, this would be the most sensible thing to do, actually. Nowadays, I sweat even when I remain still, sitting on my sofa chair in the living room. Sometimes, I take off my shirt and go around the house in nothing more than a pair of shorts. How short is my shorts? Well, that is my business. But that is exactly the issue. How much or how little must you have on before you offend the modesty of some prudish women (or men for that matter) and land up in court on the opposite side of the law? Nobody is forcing anyone to look into somebody's castle...err house. You are not forced to be a kay-poh. You choose to be one. If you take a look and see a naked man or woman in the house and am offended by what you see, that is your problem. You shouldn't even contemplate taking the owner of the house to court for exposing whatever. We talk of being tolerant when religion is concerned, but we must be equally tolerant of what the master of the house chooses to do, short of committing a crime. An act of indecency you say? What is indecent to you may be common sense to another, so long as it is done in his castle.

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

I beg to differ. It is fine if one chooses to go naked around the house provided he does not expose himself to public.

Passers-by have the right to look in whichever direction they choose and if the naked man wishes to put himself in their field of vision, he is exhibiting his nakedness in public.

Why not just close the windows, use curtains or blinds?