Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Another Slapping Incident

The slapper was the executive director of a securities firm, with investments in Hong Kong and Vietnam. The slappee was a remisier, a self-employed with a desk in a stock broking firm, way down the food chain.

Had Mr Ong not settled out of court for the impetuosity of a moment, he could have been jailed for up to two years and/or fined up to $5,000. Pek had filed a magistrate's complaint for being at the receiving end of a slapping action over a work related issue, and the court found it serious enough to file a charge of voluntary hurt. The undisclosed financial settlement had the charges withdrawn, case closed, and details sealed under protection of confidentiality. There's not enough material to write a chapter in a book about the incident, with or without the potential threat of a libel lawsuit.

In the olden days of chivalry, a mere ritual slap in the face (probably with a silken handkerchief), said to be the last affront one could accept without redress, would have to be settled by duelling pistols or swords to demand satisfaction from the offender. What more barbaric than a vigorous smack across a table with an open palm.
At the choice of the offended party, the duel used to be settled:
- to draw first blood, in which case the duel would be ended as soon as one man was wounded;
- until one man was so severely wounded as to be physically unable to continue;
- to the death, in which case there would be no satisfaction until one party was mortally wounded;
- or, in the case of pistol duels, each party would fire one shot. If neither man was hit and if the challenger stated that he was satisfied, the duel would be declared over. A pistol duel could continue until one man was wounded or killed.

During the early Renaissance, duelling established the status of a respectable gentleman, and was an accepted manner to resolve disputes. But gentlemen have gone the way of the Dodo, and money (and political power) is the new currency of honour. Some say money can't buy happiness, you can add that respect can't be bought too.

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