Let’s talk about the white guy who grabbed me that night.
My wedding was in 3 days’ time.
I was twenty-four and out with my girlfriends for the night for my bachelorette party.
Earlier in the night, we had gone around a mall doing dares, some of which I will not mention in detail. I had to don fairy wings and a headband with lighted red horns all throughout the evening till the dares were done.
Towards the end of the night, we decided to go to a restaurant-type bar to have some drinks and a good catch-up chat before we head home.
Things went well till we got up to leave, we headed downstairs, where we passed by a group of guys at the center of the bar. They asked what was the occasion for our dressing, and my friends said that it was my hens night, my bachelorette outing before I wedded.
Suddenly, a white middle-aged man turned to congratulate me, and then proceed to grab me and pull me down onto his lap, towards himself, and proceed to smooch me on my cheek.
I was stunned, and couldn’t quite react for a while.
As an Asian girl growing up in conservative Malaysia, this is totally unheard of in public, what more with a stranger.
We typically keep our displays of affection for our partners private, either holding hands or quick hugs, and that was with people we loved.
It wasn’t a matter of right or wrong, we lived with different races and religions and it was a cultural norm.
So, how did I feel?
Uncomfortable, confused, and shocked.
He looked at me and said “You don’t look very happy“.
I got up from his lap and stood with my friends, told him I got to go, and left to another part of the restaurant so I can collect myself and sort out my thoughts.
Was it all right for him to do what he did?
Was it ‘harmless’ and just ‘some fun’ to be had?
I knew that generally the western countries or white culture were quite open about physical touch, but did that one go beyond the line of decency towards a girl?
I decided that I was justified to feel discomfort.
He had violated my personal boundary and I would not tolerate it. Unfortunately, I had blown my chance to tell him off.
I was never a person who easily confronted others, choosing instead to flee, especially when I had yet to make up my mind about how I should feel.
This was not the first encounter that I had been uncomfortably ‘touched’ before, with the majority of it happening while I was growing up and ‘weak’. Some may think that this episode was the most harmless.
I do not talk about these things often, and only to my husband, because I had made peace with most of them.
But the thing is, we have to know where to draw the line for ourselves.
This was a topic beyond social cultures, as you should not need to conform if you are uncomfortable with it, especially in relation to matters of physical touch and consent.
We have to decide for ourselves what was acceptable and what wasn’t.
Hope this opinion piece helps some of you out if you’ve encountered these issues in your own personal life.