(Unpublished - April 29, 2010)
I refer to the report on the Education Ministry’s selection of groups to teach sexuality education (April 29).
I feel it is ironic that four out of the six appointed organizations have Christian affiliations, despite conscientious attempts by MOE to have sexuality education in a “multi-cultural and multi-religious” Singapore.
I wonder how fair it is when organisations pass their syllabi off as universal when they already have ideological affiliations and moral prejudices.
In my view, sexuality education should have a polycentric approach, with different perspectives and solutions provided, and not only one set, which is often taken for granted as the only way.
This way, while children get exposed to different perspectives and values in a multi-valued Singapore, organisations of different ideological affiliations and persuasions may have more equal contributions and participation in sexuality education.
More importantly, “sexuality education” should live up to its name sake and engage the topic of sexuality.
Besides providing information and viewpoints on sexually transmitted diseases, pre-marital sex, contraception, strategies of abstinence and negotiation, and other traditional sexuality education syllabi, I feel more should be taught.
These include body confidence, an understanding of erogenous zones of the body, sexual orientation and gender identity.
At the same time, while we may promote the heterosexual married family as the basic unit of society, we should not do this at the expense of families that do not fit the mould.
The obsession with this form of the family overlooks the function of what a family should have – love and safety. Families do their part in cultivating values that befit their own, which in turn lead to contributions to society, economic and political processes.
I hope the six organisations tasked to provide the education do not use guilt or fear to transmit their messages.
Furthermore, I remain appalled at the criticism leveled at Aware’s programme, which was believed to be promoting homosexuality and implying approval of pre-marital sex, positions unfavourable to many monotheistic religions.
The neutral discussion or portrayal of homosexuality does not equate its promotion, neither does the discussion of safe sex equate to approval of pre-marital sex.
Our heterosexist status quo will not be threatened even if we accepted and respected other sexual orientations.
The continual discourse on sexuality education in Singapore simply reveals our maturity to deal with sex. In a multi-valued Singapore, we appear to be less tolerant of views other than our own.
Ho Chi Sam