This past weekend, CSUN econ professor Kenneth Ng “reluctantly” removed information about Thailand’s sex tourism from his personal website, www.BigBabyKenny.com. Ng’s website is his outlet for promoting “no hidden agenda, no censorship, no bullsh*t.” Ng feels he is a resource for general and specific information for foreigners spending time in Thailand.
Obviously, college professors, including Ng, have the right to their own hobbies and private lives. I respect the right for teachers to reveal as much or as little as they choose to about their world outside of CSUN. Privacy goes out the window, though, when these outside interests cross the lines of decency and are clearly demeaning to half of our population. Adding insult to injury, it was done from a public platform.
The content on Ng’s site has been removed and replaced with his own editorial about how his site and blog postings were misconstrued as promoting prostitution in Thailand. The cached pages, though, do live on in cyberspace.
However, I don’t need to read his site to understand his universal views on women. He has made this abundantly clear. In his own words to the Daily Sundial, Ng says “When you’re reading the blog about Thailand, you’re reading about a third world country where the feminist revolution has not happened.”
It seems that Ng is essentially saying Thai women are not versed in feminism and they don’t know any better thus it’s OK to participate and perpetuate the gender inequality that firmly exists there.
Ng also argues that his site did not exploit women; he was simply sharing information about the culture. It is appalling that Ng thinks providing exact GPS coordinates to locations of Thai prostitutes isn’t exploitation.
I appreciate Provost Harry Hellenbrand’s comments to various press outlets on this difficult matter. He brings up the fine line between offensiveness and free expression. He is quoted as saying, “We are trying to balance two principles that, in this case, clashed. Our commitment to gender equity compels us to s
ee the site as offensive; our commitment to expression urges us to tolerate words and pictures we find intolerant.”
I’m intolerant of Ng’s website content for a number of reasons beyond that of personal distaste.
As referenced above, Ng is trying to justify his predatory behaviors behind the cloak of Thai culture. Ng needs to realize that there are elements of each culture that can be perceived as harmful to another’s culture. Gender is universal and transcends culture. Ng is feeding the machine of gender inequality; playing the culture card is a heinous excuse.
Ng writes with such detail on this subject, it is hard to believe that he has not personally done all of his own research. This would essentially amount to Ng taking his “vacations” in Thailand to participate in activities that are illegal in his own country.
Also, how can this not affect his students? How can he treat women of one culture as commodities while respecting those of another as they sit in his classroom? Does his apparent bias get in the way of his one-on-one interaction with his students?
Does he mentor his female students differently from male students? It seems inevitable that Ng’s views on Thai women would be projected on to all of his female students as bias cannot be left behind at the baggage claim carousel at LAX.
If professors are really good at what they do, they will impart more to their students than just the expertise on their subject. For students, this is what makes a professor more memorable and valuable than the next.
Ng has sealed his legacy. It’s on the web, easy to find, no GPS needed.