Friday, June 22, 2012

Dear Stu Bykofsky: Please never write about Asian women ever again

It's been less than a year after Stu Bykofsky creeped out Philadelphia with his wink-wink did-he-or-didn't-he? column about his trip to Thailand and the easy availability of sex with prostitutes there. Today, he's writing—again—about Asian women and sex. To be fair, the topic is at least newsworthy: Philadelphia Housing Authority director Michael Kelly resigned last week and admitted an affair with Audrey Lim, a Singapore native who also got the job of PHA's human resources director under Kelly. Bizarrely, though, Kelly—who comprised one-half of the affair and who was, after all, the person who apparently abused his authority in this case—gets only a passing mention in Byko's column. Instead, Stu weaves a tale in which Lim spins a web with her dragon lady wiles:
Her name is Audrey Lim and she is from Singapore. She did the right things to prepare herself for success. She earned a master's degree in occupational therapy, a master's in government administration and then a doctorate in industrial/organizational psychology (whatever that means). Like you, she worked hard. Unlike you, perhaps, she met her future boss — PHA Executive Director Carl Greene — in a bar, according to PHA sources. Where better to discuss Community Development Block Grants? Before you could say, "Fill it again, Joe," she was hired as a "senior adviser" for $95,000. See that, kids? You don't need to pound on doors or fire off resumes on the Internet. If you are shapely and well-spoken, just sip a Singapore Sling in a bar and let the PHA job offers come to you. This isn't exclusive to the PHA. Younger and prettier and thinner Americans get paid more, it has been shown many times. Instead of a postgraduate degree, I'd suggest you grads invest in cosmetic surgery or a stomach bypass. This is not to denigrate Dr. Lim, who resigned last month, reportedly to return to Singapore to minister to a sick relative. Greene hired her — no information about how much senior advice she gave him — and when he was sent packing for sexual improprieties, reform PHA Executive Director Michael Kelly hiked her salary to $125,000 and put her in charge of PHA's human resources, which is what she became. Nine months later they were doing the housing hoochie koochie. I don't have to say allegedly because the married Kelly admitted the affair.
In Byko's telling, the story of the PHA isn't one in which a series of men took advantage of their power to get their jollies—but rather one in which those powerful men found themselves helpless before a "shapely" woman sipping "Singapore Slings" in a bar. Given what we've learned about Byko over the last year, it's hard not to read this column as speaking to some of his increasingly weird hangups—particularly when it comes to Asian women. But the whole thing comes off creepy and slut-shaming, while essentially giving the boys a pass. The man has editors, doesn't he? Maybe they should encourage him not to write about Asian women and sex anymore. They'd be doing us all a favor.

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