Tuesday, September 27, 2005

He wasn't man enough

I was reading the Sunday Straits Times during dinner. Specifically, it was an article on sex education in Malaysia.

DEBATE: Let’s talk about sex

Does sex education belong in public schools? Academicians and medical practitioners wrestle with different perspectives on a very touchy subject.

When the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development recently announced its intention to introduce sex education in schools, it raised a few eyebrows.

While some academicians and medical practitioners feel that sex education in schools is long overdue, others think that it is not necessary, saying that all religions have guidelines on matters relating to sex.

Nothing new about this issue. The writer was merely presenting the opinions of academicians and experts, from both sides of the divide.

A few paragraphs later, someone even raised a few very valid points:
Dr Kamaruzaman, who is also chairman of the Federation of Family Planning Associations Malaysia, explains that what most people don’t understand is that sex education does not concentrate on lovemaking.

Reproduction and contraception, STDs, homosexual and heterosexual relationships as well as adolescent issues of teenage pregnancy and puberty are matters that should be discussed in sex education.

I was getting quite a good impression of the learned personalities in this field.

But of course, never count your eggs before they hatched.

Towards the end of the article, this appeared:
Psychologists agree that children learn so much during the first 12 years of their life, deemed as the “crucial” stage.

What children learn during this period will determine their lives as adults.

Dr Ong (a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist) provides an example.

If a son is closer to his mother while he was growing up, chances are that he will grow up to be effeminate.

The father must step in and teach his son to be a man — play football, be a little tough in sports and such. Parents must inspire the boy to want to grow up to be like dad.

The son can play all the football or sports he wants and still be effeminate. Or gay, even.

He can also be academically-inclined and not touch a football with a ten feet pole, yet be masculine.

Clearly, I have a beef to pick with that last sentence there.

In this age of sexual equality and breaking down of gender roles, that is not a very appropriate example.

If I were inspired to grow up to be like my dad, I would be very different from what I am today.

I would never lift a hand to do household chores.

I would be in front of the telly after work. Every day.

I would watch English Premier League matches till midnight on weekends.

I would also wake up in the wee hours of the morning to catch World Cup or Euro matches.

I would be extremely cautious and risk-adverse. Every other activity besides eating, sleeping and working is dangerous. Which means no hiking, snorkelling, squash, etc.

I would not trust anyone. I would think that people are out to get me and they have ulterior motives when they show kindness.

I would have the man-of-the-house, the-one-wearing-the-pants-in-the-family kind of attitude. Uncompromising and unyielding.

I would be stubborn and unwilling to admit mistakes.

I would be jumping to conclusions when I have not even heard half the story.

I would have immense difficulty seeing something from another person’s point of view. In short, unempathetic.

I would never listen to other people’s opinion and always think that I am right.

I would have dreadful taste in fashion and décor. Or anything that needs aesthetic valuation.

Last but not least, I would be straight. Eckk.


executorlouis said...

Heh. The age old question of nature vs nurture. Just like most people fail to think of sex education beyond the lovemaking, those sexperts think homosexuality can be influenced. What the heck? Just like you said, i don't see what the fuss about football is, but that doesn't make me any less masculine.

You put it in very good terms. I certainly have no wish to become another boorish adult, if that's what being straight means.

Live loud, and live proud. ;)

savante said...

Definitely for sex education. Of course I certainly don't mean teaching lik prepubertal kids about frottage and fisting... but once they're in secondary school, I think it should be a subject.

Which doctor said that again about effeminate boys having absent fathers? God, that is such an old theory.


weeshiong said...

Hmmm.. wonder if the classes would be in the vein of "Mommas' boys are pansies. Cure is more football"

That would be so wrong.

Espion said...

Sounds less sex education than you venting your resentment against your father. Is he also the target of your 'chilli-attack' in a previous blog?

Espion said...

And regarding sex education I wonder how is 'alternate sexualities' to be taught. Perhaps a few possibilities:

Your Choice
Your sexuality is yours to choose.

Problem here is people then choose.

I am aware of girls in girl's school here in Singapore deliberately choosing to be lesbians.

And straight guys also then choose to have sex with men, which is certainly a less difficult thing than a gay guy choosing to have sex with a gal.

Socially Determined
Your sexuality is that determined by society - its values, its beliefs, its culture, its legal institutions, etc, etc - and children are to be 'educated' about what it means to be male and female, and their roles in society.

Then there are no such things as 'alternate sexuality' but only deviant ones, and therefore people such as gays are just miseducated, uneducated or simply rebellious.

But maybe this is politically too incorrect and too sexist for 'enlightened' people.

Who You Are
Your sexuality is who you are.

This is how I think it should be taught, but it raises the difficulty of knowing who you are. However that is a meaningful difficulty to address. And thus to be educated, in part, means able to find and know yourself.

Becoming who you are is what life is about, and not to be is to be less than yourself, ie to be or not to be is the question.

But this cannot be taught in Singapore as our law do not permit, at least technically, for men to have sex with men. "Carnal Intercourse', including oral sex is still a crime. Teaching such may be abetting people to become criminals.

AJ said...


At risk of sounding like a bitter old queen... Who are we kidding? With the whole new trend of "My onion is bigger and better than your onion", what do you think they will say about homosexuality in their supposed "sex ed" classes?

I have no faith in their faith!

And don't for one second dare say its not about faith, because they are all racing to compare their onions! I've spent so much time growing up with my father & still i do boys!

Anyone will say anything to get 15secs of fame...

Sad but true..Sigh

Chaichakri said...


I'm all for sex education in Malaysia! I'm sure there is more than just 'Pembiakan' or Reproduction in the first chapter of Form Three Science.

It should be all-encompassing, and we should be from a young age taught to respect all the various types of people in life! That's the only way forward --- Understanding and Tolerance.

As usual, you have a very good way with words. I just hope you are well and happy. Take Care!

Derek said...

louis: Very well articulated opinion.

Not liking foorball and all doesn't make us any less of a man.

Yes, live out, loud and proud. ;P

savante: The good doctor must have gotten his degree half a century ago. ;P

weeshiong: Wrong, absolutely wrong indeed. Horrors of horrors!

But of course, if footballers have an entirely new attire i.e. none, it would be a different story altogether.


espion: Resentment, yes. Chilli-attack, no.

Derek said...

espion: Alternate sexuality seems to imply either this or that, mainstream and underground kind of comparison.

Nevertheless, good points raised. Difficult questions for everyone to ask, yet as you say it is part and parcel of life to be able to know oneself well.

aj: Heh, you are on of those rare breed whereby you get along well with your dad. Good for you!

kitjar: It's undeniable that sex education should be thought.

But the content and the way it is going to be taught are still arguable - whether it will lead to more understanding and tolerance.