I am spurred on by a post on Mark’s blog (markashy.blogspot.com) about sex education in Singapore. My experience was a little different.
I was the third of three brothers and so, by the time I was about 5, I was already seeing what 14 year old boys did and talked about. By the time I was 11 (and my brothers were 15 and 19) they had “taught” me many things. I knew all the anatomical parts, and even was learning a little about self pleasuring.
But in school, we didn’t get any exposure to sex education until our sophmore year, or sec 2 here in Singapore. The sex education module was part of biology class. Our teacher, and I will never forget him (you know, we all have that one teacher that we will never forget) was Fred Fisher.
The first day of the module we were all nervous and expectant 15 year olds. Girls and boys. Now, this is a time when we might talk about “feeling up” a girl or “getting” this or that, but most of us never had. Girls were afraid to be labeled as bad girls or sluts and boys were embarrassed about their erections and pimples.
Anyway, that morning, Mr Fisher came out from behind the lablike front credenza…looked around the room slowly, and then in one quick motion, swung his hands across his crotch, turned red, and said “Masturbation!!!!!!!”
That one move broke the ice and set us all up for an easy, open discussion about teen sex and all the things that that involves. He actually “taught” us about sex. And we learned, and I am sure we are better for it. My senior year, he was voted as the most popular teacher and deserved it.
A quick aside to this blog. When I got out of the army and went back to junior college, I walked into my first day of physical science..and there was Mr. Fisher. It made my day.
Anyway, here in Singapore, I am quite sure that no teacher, at any grade level, has ever brought up the subject of masturbation. I use this simply as an example of something that most, if not all of the kids are experimenting with, but the educators refuse to acknowledge, thus, further leaving the kids in the dark, feeling guilty and alone. I have visions of thousands of young boys and girls giving themselves good feelings and feeling terribly guilty about it, as if, they are the only ones. I have news for you if you are reading this…ALL YOUR FRIENDS ARE DOING IT TOO!!
No, here, they learn about “reproduction” and “disease”, and “unwanted pregnancy”. Hey, I am not just putting that down. How many of us, even from a western country, ever had any education about the emotional or absolutely wonderful side of sex? Not very many, I suspect. I did. And I feel fortunate that I did.
In conclusion, I think that Singaporean young people are uninformed and misinformed. I think the traditional british syllabus is outdated, if that is what is being used, or, if it is the old, traditional chinese “don’t talk about it” then we need to give that up. And, as controversial as this may sound, I think that this all contributes to the high non-performance rate among men, and the high rate of ‘same sex’ relationships in Singapore.