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

PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 07 May, 2015, 5:14pm

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