Once famously known as a Celebrity Lawyer in Singapore, as he represented many celebrities, both local and from abroad. For the news media, he was the “go to” lawyer for interviews and analysis.
He was the Singaporean success story that would have been written in books, or that guest lecturer his alma mater would have invited.
But after 2019, he became notorious as the law firm boss who assaulted his niece and subordinate in the office.
In July 2020, Seow pleaded guilty to one count of voluntarily causing hurt to his niece and employee Brenda Kong Shin Ying, and one count of using criminal force against his other employee Rachel Kang Pei Shan.
He was subsequently sentenced to four weeks in jail, a fine of $1,500, and was disbarred from practising law.
What Seow Lost That Day
Now that Seow is serving his sentence and has paid his dues for the damages caused, he seems to be ready to start a new chapter of his life as he appeared in an interview on Bella Bello’s TikTok account.
One of the interesting tidbits shared in the interview was about the video footage itself and Seow’s reaction to it.
Till this day, Seow has no idea who posted the sound recording and the close-circuit television footage (CCTV) online.
Spread across five clips, the ex-celebrity lawyer tells Bella Bello that the sound recording and video were uploaded roughly year apart, whereby it became public information in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
The peculiar part about the video, Seow explained, is that the CCTV at his company did not record any sounds, which means that someone took the painstaking effort to merge the sound recording and video together before publishing it.
Seow’s Initial Reaction To The Video
It was then revealed that Seow has never watched the CCTV footage in its entirety.
Apparently, when the prosecution tried to play the video in court—since it was submitted as evidence of the assault—Seow began to tear up and he felt like his heart was beating really hard in his chest.
Whenever the video started playing, Seow said, “To be completely honest, [my mind] went completely blank.”
He added that he came very close to hyperventilating too.
His reaction and behaviour were noticed by his psychiatrist, who later diagnosed him with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Now, you must be wondering: why is the assailant developing PTSD instead?
After all, PTSD is a disorder that arises in people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event.
Although Seow did not directly clarify why he sees his own assault as a traumatic event, he does give some insight into his perspective, both before and after the incident.
Leading up to the incident, Seow said he had been leading a very stressful life.
Besides his own law firm, he had an artist management company, another firm to handle corporate cases, and a law branch in Malaysia and the Philippines. He was running all these businesses simultaneously.
Seow was so busy that his work had practically become his life; his time needed to be micro-managed because he was constantly being shuffled from meeting to meeting, back-to-back, and he was handling so much that his personal assistant needed a personal assistant.
On his lonesome, he was responsible for the livelihoods of more than 50 people. It was a responsibility that he took very seriously, but it was at the expense of his mental health.
Aside from needing to ingest sleeping pills to cope with his stress-induced insomnia, he clearly needed to learn how to better delegate his work.
After being under the strain for so long, Seow felt like “something within [him] broke” and it led to a shift within himself. Seow went as far as describing himself as a “monster” who always wanted things to go his way.
His work had consumed him so much that he didn’t know who he was anymore.
“What personal life did I have to speak of?” Seow asked rhetorically. He was always working.
Then, the assault happened.
“After that incident, I lost the life I had previously.”
From being a part of the Top 500 Legal in the World, the former celebrity lawyer plummeted and crashed.
Seow was unable to leave his house out of fear of being recognised. He would receive death threats online from people he didn’t even know on a near-daily basis.
“I don’t have to worry about people attacking me because they’ve been attacking me on the forums, and to be honest, some people go even further than that. So on a daily basis, at that time right, in 2019, or every time the news comes out, I get death threats.”
He further elaborated on the threats, stating that people would call him “cao ah gua” (a man acting like a woman), and other expletives that cannot be named on Goody Feed.
The combination of his prior stress and the vitriol he received afterwards was likely trauma inducing, now that he had time to reflect upon it. The assault was consequently viewed as the trigger or the turning point—the realisation that his life was not where he wanted it to be and he was not happy—hence his dissociation from the event (the blankness) and the involuntary traumatic responses from his body.
Despite the loss of his reputation and career, Seow remarked that he felt “relieved” because his life was “a little simpler” now.
He had been working so hard all his life in pursuit of approval, but now he feels that only insecure people would do that.
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Featured Image: TikTok