Opinion: Respect Boundaries Regardless Of Gender, Don’t Anyhow Touch Others Even If They’re Superstars

This piece is part of MS Speaks, a segment in which MS News reporters share their honest views on current affairs and trending topics.

Wong Li Lin Shouldn’t Have Touched Ronaldo Even If She Was Just Guiding Him

The recent appearance of football player Cristiano Ronaldo in Singapore caused quite a stir, though not entirely for the reasons we’d expect.

Former actress Wong Li Lin was at some of the events he attended and was seen touching the star several times.

Ronaldo Appears Irritated As ‘Auntie’ Keeps Touching Him, She’s Actually Former S’pore Actress Wong Li Lin

Is this okay? We don’t think so. And it seems like most netizens agree too as many were quick to voice their disapproval after the clips surfaced.

The resultant uproar proved people’s awareness that physical boundaries apply to both men and women.

For that reason too, we think Wong should have known not to touch Ronaldo out of courtesy and respect.

Wong Li Lin touches Cristiano Ronaldo on separate occasions

If you’ve somehow missed what happened, here’s a recap before we delve into the part where we say this is not okay.

As an executive overseeing the event, Wong had every right to be up close with Ronaldo, though she may have taken the privilege a little too far.

Besides interacting with him, videos showed the former actress holding the football star by his arm as they walked to an event area.

Source: @_irwannshahh_ on TikTok

She seemed to do so for a good few seconds before Ronaldo broke away briefly to greet some fans.

But perhaps to get his attention, she promptly grabbed his arm again, steering him away.

In such a situation, one may argue that she was keeping Ronaldo on schedule for the event. However, others may also wonder if she could have just called out to him and raised her voice slightly if need be to get his attention.

At a separate event at Victoria Junior College (VJC), Wong guided the football star forward by resting her hand on his back.

Source: @fathanmateo on TikTok

This time, there didn’t appear to be a rush or fans clamouring to get close to the star, so one may wonder what her justification would be.

No apparent need to touch him

Although arguments can be made for physical contact when ushering someone, that often happens in specific situations like when a person of interest is mobbed by a large group of people.

Source: NIGNY / Splash News via Daily Mail

When strangers whose intentions are unclear start surrounding a notable individual, there’s reason to worry about their safety. Even so, they’d tend to have bodyguards to oversee that, so there’s no need for anyone to step in.

In Ronaldo’s case, bodyguards were by his side when he was near crowds but merely acted as human barriers between them.

Once he went up on stage like at VJC for instance, where the coast was fairly clear, they stood back.

Source: @fathanmateo on TikTok

That seems to be the common practice, as bodyguards should make their wards feel safe and at ease.

Source: FameFlyNet via Evening Standard

Considering how Ronaldo didn’t appear to be in any kind of danger, there was thus no need for Wong to touch him.

Could have been worse if gender roles were reversed

While there has been quite a commotion surrounding Wong’s interactions with Ronaldo, they didn’t go much further than reactions on social media and scattered news reports.

Perhaps because she’s a woman doing her job and her body language didn’t suggest any ill intent, people chose not to pursue the matter.

But holding someone’s hand to guide them somewhere has gotten a male celebrity in trouble before.

In November 2022, actor O Yeong-su from the popular Netflix series Squid Game was charged with sexual misconduct.

A woman had accused the 78-year-old of touching her inappropriately way back in 2017.

In a media statement, the actor explained that he was merely holding the woman’s hand to guide her way around a lake. However, the woman’s report supposedly claimed that he tried to forcibly hug and kiss her.

O went on trial in February 2023 and denied the allegations. His trial was due to resume in April, but no updates have emerged.

Whatever the facts of the case may be, cases of inappropriate touching by men have made headlines more often than women. And in many instances, these cases make it to court or involve at least a police investigation.

When a woman commits a similar act, we rarely hear much of it.

Respect goes both ways, regardless of gender

Although the accusations against O, if true, will set his case apart, the premise is largely similar — touching someone in a certain way, even if not overtly sexual, can make them uncomfortable.

Therefore, it’s always important to seek their consent before making any physical contact.

Only in especially dire situations can one possibly make an exception.

In light of the above incidents, we can only hope that people will be more respectful in their interactions with others.

As much as men have to respect women’s boundaries, women have to do the same too. Respect goes both ways, regardless of gender.

Note: The views expressed within this article are the author’s own.

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Featured image adapted from @_irwannshahh_ on TikTok and @fathanmateo on TikTok.

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