Are Singaporean girls turning violent?
Two recent high-profile incidents of women allegedly beating up men have got people wondering: Is this a growing trend of garang (Malay for fierce) girls going wild?
Singapore's showbusiness circle is buzzing after well-known Cantopop singer Jason Chung, 38, was reportedly beaten up last month by two young women outside Dragonfly club in St James Power Station, where he performs.
One of the women involved in the fracas is aspiring singer Foyce Le Xuan, 30, who in March claimed she had spurned veteran film-maker Jack Neo's advances after he allegedly hit on her in 2004.
On May 25, partygoers and the club's employees watched while Le Xuan and a woman who calls herself X-Tin Lim in her blog confronted Chung, who was screamed at, slapped and kicked in the groin.
The women had to be pulled away by the club's female employees.
Chung, who is the frontman of Singapore's premier Cantopop band Typhoon, allegedly cheated on both of them.
Although the incident happened two weeks ago, news of it emerged only recently after Chinese newspapers reported the incident on June 8.
In another public spat last year, a woman was caught on video hitting a man repeatedly in the groin with a high-heeled shoe. The video was posted on Singapore Press Holdings' online site, Stomp.
Figures released by the Subordinate Courts indicate a growing trend of abusive women. Last year, 326 applications of personal protection orders (PPOs) and domestic exclusive orders (DEOs) were filed by husbands against their wives.
This is a 16 per cent spike from 2008, which saw 280 such cases. The figures exclude other applications filed against ex-wives by their former spouses.
A PPO forbids the abuser to inflict physical or mental abuse on the victim and orders the abuser to keep his distance and not to enter the home of the protected person.
A DEO grants the right of exclusive occupation of a shared residence to a protected person by excluding the abuser.
Counsellors and psychiatrists say the spike in such cases is due to the rise of women's economic power.
Dr Adrian Wang, a consultant psychiatrist at Gleneagles Medical Centre, says: "Compared to 20 years ago, women are more vocal and assertive now. They hold powerful positions of authority and leadership these days, and it's not only socially and culturally acceptable for women to speak out, it's also politically correct."
When women air dirty laundry, they hope to achieve two things: a show of power and shaming.
Low Teck Keong, a senior counsellor at the National University of Singapore, says: "Not everyone can remain civilised in the heat of anger. When they intend to hurt the person, respect is not a concern. The unkind and cruel words hurt and, in most cases, men are more deeply affected by emotional than physical abuse."
As for the Chung incident, a clearly angry Lim wrote a hit-and-tell account on her blog, saying they had a relationship and labelling him a 'liar' because he neglected to tell her that he had been dating Le since February.
Lim, who got to know Chung in Dragonfly in March, wrote that she began the relationship with him on May 12. She could not be reached for comment.
Chung says that he wants to "move on" and has not made a police report.
Dr Wang adds: "A violent act is sometimes seen as self-defence. The women may feel that 'if you hurt my feelings, it's fair that you get hurt, too, because you must pay'."
When contacted, Le says she regrets her actions. "I did not go to the club with the intention of beating him up," she says.
"But when I became angry, I slapped him and I am sorry for what I have done."
According to her, she was in a relationship with Chung from Feb 20 to May 23 this year. On May 20, a friend told her that the singer was spotted with a long-haired woman in Chinatown at 4am.
Le says she confronted him on the same day but Chung denied it was him.
She adds: "I felt something was amiss when I spotted pictures of him and X-Tin posted on his Facebook account. I contacted her through a mutual friend."
Through their phone conversations, the women found out that they were dating the same man. They decided to confront him at the club on May 25.
Many men do not seek professional help because the idea that they could be victims of violence is unthinkable, and they may not even attempt to report the situation, says counsellor Low.
Chung, who did not retaliate, says: "If I had hit the women, it would've made the situation worse. It could result in a potential assault case."
- The Straits Times/ANN
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