Being right not the same as being wise

In an ideal world, all rights should be respected but, in reality, the exercising of some rights may have unpleasant consequences ("Respect women's right to dress how they like in public" by Mr Francis Cheng; yesterday).

For instance, it is my right to choose the education I want or even to be uneducated. It is my right to put my wallet and my phone wherever I want. It is my right not to lock my bicycle, my car or even the door of my house. But I have to foresee what follows my choices.

Mr Cheng believes a woman should have the freedom to wear whatever she wants, and that men should respect women, no matter what they wear.

But in reality, some men do not respect women, especially those who dress invitingly.

What should be is not the same as what would be.

Mr Cheng argues that "modesty is a choice and not a requirement". So is personal safety, and one can choose not to be safe.

There is no justification for sexual exploitation. But there can be causes. Causes are not the same as justification.

Women should not be deprived of their rights. But exercising one's rights is not the same as exercising common sense.

The righteous may not be wise.

Ee Teck Ee

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 12, 2016, with the headline 'Being right not the same as being wise'. Print Edition | Subscribe