'It is ironic that in a country with a low fertility rate, we are generally sexually ascetic and sex negative.'
MR HO CHI SAM: 'I read with interest Saturday's special report on sexuality education. The issues raised hit the nail on the head. There should be a way to teach sexuality education without the vagueness and moralisation. It is ironic that in a country with a low fertility rate, we are generally sexually ascetic and sex negative, indicative of strong religious and moral persuasions. Sexuality education should be taught with a view to sharing information and improving body confidence, minus the moralisation.'
Add: It is very sad the more important parts of my letter are not featured. I guess that is not within the "agenda" of the Straits Times.
Any way, isn't "instil" the American spelling for "instill"? The Straits Times appears to flip-flop between American and British spellings in its writing style. That is odd.
Here's the original letter:
I read with interest Saturday’s reports on sexuality education (Aug 21).
Some of the issues raised hit the nail on head.
There should be a way to teach sexuality education without the vagueness and moralisation.
It is ironic that in a country with low fertility rate, we are generally sexually ascetic and sex negative, indicative of strong religious and moral persuasions.
Because of this, we will never be better placed to share information with regards to sex.
I propose that sexuality education be taught with a view to share information and improve body confidence, minus the moralisation.
Sexuality educators first need to recognise that the singular idea of sex as procreative and productive is not only moralistic, but also one out of touch with what is happening on the ground.
Educators who express reluctance to teach or to have an open mind, should reevaluate their own moral positions with respect to the matter.
The problem of sexuality education lies not in the emerging problems Singaporean youths face, but at the level of syllabus and the fact that various educational stakeholders want to make it a moral issue.
It is furthermore ironic that sexuality education does not critically delink the flimsy relationship between sex, gender and sexuality, as education provided is premised on the fallacious assumption that all three seamlessly correspond.
Sex is what we are born with (male, female, intersexed), gender is the learned and performed social behaviour (masculine, feminine, androgynous), and sexuality is emotional, physical and sexual preference (heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, pansexuality, and more).
The reality that any sexuality education material in Singapore does not include the differentiation of sex, gender and sexuality, is already indicative of failure from the get-go.
The assumption of a correspondence between sex, gender and sexuality, is already a moral process in itself.
Certain beliefs already morally outlaw certain sexual identities, gender identities and sexual practices, which disallows a full discussion on the issues concerning sex, gender and sexuality, which are key components of sexuality education.
I believe moralisation should take second place. Teach first, and then provide the buffet spread of various moralisations, since each set of views are always clamouring to be heard and demanding to be superior.
Ho Chi Sam