Dear All Singapore Stuff,

My daughter and some school friends went to Siloso Beach on Sentosa over the Chinese New Year Weekend. When they got there, they spread out their towels in anticipation of a relaxing day by the sea. There were other bathers parked on the beach besides them — all in their swimsuits.

Some minutes later, several groups of what appeared to be workers arrived on the beach (refer to picture above). The kids were shocked when, without invitation, the large group of men surrounded them just feet away and began to take out their hand phones to snap pictures. One of the girls angrily told them to stop taking pictures, but she was ignored. Some even moved closer. An alert lifeguard — to his credit — noticed what was happening. He approached the girls and asked if they were uncomfortable with the situation. When they voiced their upset, he hoisted a megaphone and told the men to move away and to cease taking pictures. He was ignored. He warned them he’d call the police. Eventually that’s exactly what he did.

Four uniformed police soon arrived and ordered the groups to keep their distance from the kids and to stop taking pictures. I understand that the cops even took the hand phones off some of the men and deleted shots they had already taken. As a mother, I am deeply shocked at this incident. It’s a free country but the harassment scares me. And acting as a pack to bully vulnerable teenagers – disgraceful. But it also brings to my mind the issue of creating/increasing or improving the places of rest where workers can go on their day off. They are entitled to it.

But NOT at the expense of embarrassing 16 and 17 year old girls clad vulnerably in their swimsuits who felt threatened. The girls were traumatized by the blatant gawking. Bouquets to the lifeguard and our Singapore boys in blue for doing their job. We don’t always notice or appreciate the situations they face every day, and the challenges they must deal with to keep the peace. They deserve our highest praise.

Concerned A.S.S reader and mother

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