It has been a year since Jada Pinkett Smith (wife of Will Smith) with co-hosts Adrienne Banfield-Norris (her mother) and Willow Smith (her daughter) started Red Table Talk, a hobby turned movement on Facebook. Yes, all videos are live streamed on Facebook and it concerns the difficult matters of the heart. A calm confrontation, a meeting place for broken hearts to heal, where the truth can be pronounced with grace.

Notable names have been on the show, with filming done at her house (yes, it’s their dining hall leading to the kitchen) and up to date, they have had Sheree Elizabeth Zampino (Will Smith’s ex-wife), Jordyn Woods, Cesar Millan, and Toni Braxton, just to name a few.

After going through a few episodes, we can’t help but to wonder, can our community be open enough to face the person who brought us through trials or is going through a trial, ostracised by the public and seen as the ‘bad person’ in the situation?

Let’s take this situation, for example.

The story of the 23-year-old Singaporean, Monica Baey, who was a victim of a peeping tom recently took to Instagram to air out a traumatic incident that took place in November 2018 because she felt that the punishment put upon her perpetrator was too light.

Now, when this came out, the internet took sides almost immediately.

If you have not heard about this piece of news, let us summarise.

Monica Baey was showering in her student residence when she saw at iPhone under the cubicle, most probably videoing her. Of course, the man quickly ran off but the CCTV’s caught it and she found out that she knew him – another student named Nicholas Lim. Both were students in NUS (National University of Singapore).

As punishment, Nicholas Lim was banned from entering Monica Baey’s resident hall, required to go for counselling and was asked to write a letter of apology. However, the victim did not see it as adequate punishment, hence the Instagram post.

Now, here’s how the Red Table Concept works, the facilitator will ask questions and the victim or perpetrator will have a chance to explain him/herself and the audience are reminded that they must keep an open heart, no jump into conclusions and just listen to the story.

Would we be able to see why Monica Baey is upset? Is it true that in today’s society, unscrupulous acts made by men, especially in a sexual manner are often looked upon as ‘Men will be men’. And because Nicholas Lim admitted to be watching pornography that is heavily skewed to voyeurism, why isn’t society speaking up about the negative effects of any type of pornoraphy? Also, the psychological effects on Monica Baey cannot be taken lightly. Emotions and fears that develop behind closed doors can manifest in the future years if left unattended.

Now what about Nicholas Lim? Every story has two sides. He said he was not intoxicated and probably just a little tipsy. He heard someone showering and because of the nature of pornography he is consuming, decided that he should ‘just do it’. Other than that, has anyone dug deeper? Is there a space for him to tell people about why he is watching and acting on the pornopgrahy he is watching? Is pornography making the world an unsafe place for women? Does he think his punishment is too light? Was Monica Baey’s testimony against him true?
The concept of the ‘Red Table’ is to have two sides of the story on the table. Often times, even at home, in school or in the office, incidents that happen are treated only at the surface and that makes it easy to take sides – but things are usually more complicated than that.

Would you implement the Red Table Concept at your workplace or at home?

Edwin Ang
Author: Edwin Ang


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