Well, the 41-year-old grandson of the founder of Shaw Organisation and former Singapore Environment Council executive director was sentenced to 12 week's jail for paid sex with an underage girl. By comparison, the former principal of Pei Chun Public School was given 9 weeks' jail for a similar offence. The difference is that the principal took his bitter medicine at one go, no excuses offered, while Howard's lawyer tried to argue there was "collusion and deceit" involved, and a custodial sentence for an offence which has no mandatory jail sentence or even a minimum fine would be "absolutely draconian".
Howard is filing for an appeal, a route that could result in extended jail time. Singaporean student Ram Puneet Tiwary may have been acquitted of the murder charge on a technicality at an appeals court, but we are not in Australia, mate. Here, the prosecution likes to win. Considering what was dished out to the principal and the scion, those still mulling over their fates should simply plea guilty, stop wasting the public prosecutor's time, and get on with their lives.
One outstanding question is why this underage whore is so special. One of the latest batch to be charged is the founder of toy company Stikfas. 5 foreigners were also snared in the honey trap, including a 40-year-old Swiss expatriate from banking giant UBS. One client actually paid just for a chat with her, and skipped the main course. What pearls of wisdom can a 17 year old possibly bestow on established businessmen, worldly professionals, and high flyer civil servants? Imaginative minds have it that she is related to some bigshot. If they can't nail the father, they can at least do it to his daughter.
And why is it with so many grown up men (and their lawyers) involved, not a single soul has "accidentally" leaked her identity? It appears she's more closely guarded than the KFC recipe.
In "Dark Knight", second of the Batman triology, District Attorney Harvey Dent drags all the crooks into one court. In real life, all 5 of the City Harvest accused stood in the same subordinate court to face the charges. So how is it guys who ended up in her little back book have to be charged and sentenced on piece meal basis? Here the conspiracy theory is that the charade is played out in installments to deflect from the many price hikes planned in advance, the most recent being the service and conservancy charges (S&CC) rolled out by 7 PAP town councils.
Whatever the hidden agenda, this is one case where we wish the pace could be speeded up, as in wham, bam, thank you ma'am. The prices may have been stiff, but the public has a limited attention span.