• Wed
  • Dec 24, 2014
  • Updated: 5:15am
PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 07 June, 2013, 10:17am

Security chief was victim of political correctness over rape comments

It's a sad symptom of our times that a sensible comment would evoke such a barrage of abuse


Mike Rowse has lived in Hong Kong since 1972, and is a naturalised Chinese citizen. He spent 6 years in the ICAC from 1974 – 1980, then 28 years in the Government as an Administrative Officer until retirement in December 2008. He is now the Search Director for Stanton Chase International, and also hosts a radio talk show and writes regularly for both English and Chinese media.

There used to be a wonderful shop in Kowloon City called "Fat Men's Trousers". No beating about the bush, the name said it all. No need to shuffle in sheepishly wondering whether there would be anything in your size. Everything was in your size.

The staff would just get the extra long tape measure round your middle, note the result and point to the right pile.

Of course, once you found a pair to fit your nether regions, the legs would be too long - in my case, by up to 30cm. But no problem! The service included trimming the length and sewing the ends off neatly, all within the quoted price.

The shop is gone now, though it is unclear whether it was killed off by high rents or the political correctness police objecting to its name. Who knows, perhaps it still exists but calls itself "Fuller Figure Fashion" so no one knows what it sells or cares where it is.

This talk of political correctness brings me to the subject of our Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok.

In presenting the crime statistics for the first quarter, Lai noted that there had been an increase in the number of reported rapes, and that one factor in many of the crimes was the victims' high alcohol consumption. In some cases, their faculties were so diminished that they were unable to describe their attackers or identify them in a police line-up, he said.

Lai proffered the perfectly sensible comment - one every father of a teenage daughter would be familiar with - that moderation in consumption would be a good idea.

The thought police were outraged and immediately went on to the attack. Lai was blaming the victims for bringing the crime upon themselves, this was a second violation of their persons, and so on.

Of course, poor Lai was doing no such thing. Rape is a crime of violence perpetrated (usually) by men on (usually) women. There is no excuse for it, and those found guilty deserve severe punishment which they invariably receive in our courts so far unpolluted by the "everyone's a victim" philosophy that seems to permeate courts in some other jurisdictions.

But it is a sad symptom of our times that one cannot say that a particular style of dress - an ultra short skirt, perhaps, or a see-through blouse - is a little provocative without suffering a tidal wave of abuse.

"Women have the right to go wherever they want, dress however they want, drink until they're legless ... it's no excuse for rape."

Yes, women do have these rights, and no, nothing excuses rape.

But as the father of a teenage daughter, could I please assure Mr Lai that your perfectly sensible advice was very welcome in at least one household in Hong Kong.

Keep up the good work.

Meanwhile, I have found a new "Fat Men's Trousers" shop, in Sheung Shui. Anyone who would like to know the address is welcome to contact me.

Mike Rowse is search director of Stanton Chase International and an adjunct professor at Chinese University



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This article is now closed to comments

Plus ca change Mike...... Those of us around a decade or two ago might remember the then Director of Health getting similarly abused for drawing a link between sexual assaults and the length of girls' hemlines. The funny thing is that if those criticising the Secretary for Security ever plan a holiday to Rio they will likely receive the same advice I did - "don't wear any jewellery when you go out at night or you will get mugged". And they will probably take that advice, not round on the giver.
I think 99% of fathers would tell their daughters not to drink too much if they go out at night. Fathers are not dumb and if any father does not say this then he is not living up to his responsibility. At least now fathers have the backing of the HK government when they say it.
Thank you Mr. Rowse for a dose of common sense. In general, everyone should avoiding drinking too much or indulging in other types of behavior that might compromise their judgement. This includes men, women, young, old, Chinese, expat, etc. I think this is what Mr. Lai meant, although he neglected to generalize to that extent as this was in response to a specific situation. Arguing otherwise makes you look foolish to anyone with a dose of common sense and lacking a PC agenda.
It may be true that certain people will find victims no matter what, but there are steps that we can each take, as individuals, to personally keep ourselves from becoming that victim. Hopefully, must of use will never be the victim of terrible crimes. But it is reassuring to each of us to know that avoiding certain situations will decrease our chances of becoming a victim. It is the responsibility of public security officials to provide us with such information. It is like telling people not to put their valuables in their backpack and leave it unzipped at the Lo Wu border crossing. Surely there are pockets picked in Lo Wu every day, but I want to know how to minimize my chances of being that victim. I will be grateful of any advice as to how I might do that.
This ain't about PC.
Why didn't he just say: Men rape. Be careful.
Or, better yet: Men, don't drink, you might rape someone.
His drinking remark was gratuitous, diverted attention from the issue, the rise in rapes, and by implication placed some responsibility on the victim. The fact that the victims had drink was not operative; the attackers were opportunistic predators. Drunk or not they would have found a victim.
Wow, what an atrociously uneducated article. Most rapes occur in the daytime and at the victims' homes--it is a well documented fact. If you're going to blame women for the way they dress, what else are you going to blame them for? Making eye contact? Leaving a window open? Leaving the house? It is not reasonable for women to have to change the way they dress and being covered up does not lead to a decline in sexual assault rates!
Rowse has clearly not done any research in writing this op-ed which really takes it to the extreme with bad opinion. I am sick to death of people finding one way or another to focus on the victims' actions. Do you honestly believe that the entire female population of HK wearing full burqas is going to be the thing that will make the rape rate decline? Cause that really works well in Afghanistan and Pakistan, doesn't it? I can't believe SCMP is giving him room to write this.
Also Rowse, how insensitive do you have to be to liken being fat to a victim of rape? Being fat IS something you could prevent and change. It's called diet + exercise. I'm sick of this **** and that's stating it gently.
Wow, what an uneducated comment. Wait till you have your own daughter. Let her wear her micro mini and see through blouse and come home drunk at 4am and I see if you can sleep well each time she goes out.
Women simply do not understand. Every men know it. Men are no difference from animals in front of arousal female
hey likingming the racist commie rapists is back!
hey wwong888, you must either be a female or wong8 王八


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