No Sex Pls, We are Singaporean! But Sex With a Hooker is Perfectly OK.
- Comments: Mellanie Hewlitt
22 Feb 2004.
Is it sinful to admire one's own natural form?
In Singapore, the PAP Government proclaims that it is a crime to gaze upon a
naked body. All literature directly or indirectly related to sex is
automatically classified as pornographic material.
Until recently, Cosmopolitan Mangazine (usually available on the shelves of
walmart stores) was banned due to "revealing" and "suggestive" pictures.
Even the mere mention of the word "SEX" on the license plates of Singapore
registered vehicles is taboo and absolutely forbidden. The city state's Land
Transport Authority even went the extra mile to censor this (and all related)
word from license plates of state registered vehicles.
SEX IS WRONG, SEX IS DIRTY, SEX IS OBSCENE AND HENCE ALL SEX SHOULD BE BANNED
AND OUTLAWED. That was the loud and clear public message.
On the other hand, prostitution is absolutely ok and legal! So the final
conclusion is that sex is absolutely forbidden in all aspects, EXCEPT WHEN YOU
PAY FOR IT WITH A HOOKER IN A GEYLANG BROTHEL.
How strange, but one does not question the logic behind the government's public policies. This after all is Singapore!.
The PAP Government further dictates that children must be brought up in a
sterile clinical environment under constant supervision. Creativity and the
arts will also be "State Supervised."
Oral sex is also a big "No No" which can land you in the slammer. Thats right
folks, here in good old fashioned Singapore, sexual creativity is a crime,
unless of cause this took place with a prostitute in a geylang brothel.
These same Million Dollar "Leaders" who stifled any process of procreation
within Singaporean families after the second child some decades ago (the "Stop at two" campaign) are now wondering why the little island state is gradually
headed towards extinction.
When mere mortals attempt to play god and "micro-manage" every aspect of daily life on the island state, things can and will go wrong.
Read on and perhaps you can try to understand the strange goin-ons in Sillipore.
Porn, panic and pandemonium
On page 7 of the Straits Times today (Wed, 11 Feb 2004) was a short
news article about a new leader for the Chechen rebels. The story
(originally from the Associated Press) described him as a "Saudi-born
warrior so zealously Muslim that he is traumatized just by touching
What an arresting description of the man! But is this just hyperbole
or are there really such people on this earth?
Then I turned to page H8, read the story "Police probe porn VCD find
in school", and saw more of them!
But hold on, let's get a few details together first.
As gathered from the Straits Times and the New Paper , what
transpired was this:
On Tuesday, 3 February, a schoolteacher glimpsed a 14-year-old boy
retrieving a pornographic VCD that had fallen out from his book, and
trying to hide it. Two more VCDs were discovered soon after.
The school (which later I found out was Kent Ridge Secondary School)
did some sort of investigation in the following days, but on Monday
morning soon after school began, the boy concerned and 16 of his
friends were summoned to the school office and told to wait in the
corridor. They were to write an account of their involvement in the
matter. For the next seven hours, they were kept there without food
or water despite the hot sun burning into the area where they were
A press reporter noted that at least one boy looked slightly sunburnt
by the time she arrived at the scene in the afternoon.
And was it a chaotic scene!
The parents had been notified only around 2 pm. They hurried to the
school furious at their sons, but then on seeing how the boys had
been treated, became even more furious at the teachers.
"None of us knew they were taken in at 8am. But I rushed down as soon
as they called me at 2pm. I was so angry that my boy and his friends
were being treated like criminals," said Mr A J, a parent who bought
food and drink for all the students at 3.40 pm.
One boy, who suffered from Hirschsprung's Disease , was in pain
and had to be rushed to hospital. The mother said she had notified
the school on several occasions that her son had this condition, but
the school denied knowing about it.
Why didn't the teachers think of allowing food and water to the boys
for all 7 hours?
"An oversight on our part," said the principal, Ms Chamb Cherk Ing.
The police were also called on Monday. Why were they not notified
earlier? The principal said they themselves had "been investigating
as best as we [could] .Today, we decided that we needed to call the
police in for guidance and help."
The parents, upset enough that they had not been told earlier, were
even more upset that the school called the police.
A sober description of the principals' and teachers' actions would be
that they "over-reacted". And no doubt we're going to hear this term
again and again until the incident is minimized.
It actually tells you nothing, for it's just a description of the
events distilled into one word. The more interesting question is,
what can account for the way they acted?
Here was a simple disciplinary problem for which the commonsensical
response should be obvious to all commonsensical people: the teacher,
consulting with the principal, should have notified the first boy's
parents and asked the parents to kindly deal with it. It should have
been solved by the same afternoon.
But no, the problem simmered for days. The school interviewed the
first boy, then his friends, to see how far the "cancer" had spread.
And I say "cancer", because only if viewed in such threatening and
invasive light, would it have explained how the whole thing turned
into an inquisition by Monday.
It wasn't an over-reaction. It was a case of moral panic.
Only moral panic brings about the suspension of humanity necessary to
keep 17 boys in the hot sun for hours, without food and
drink. "Oversight" - the principal's excuse -- is something that
happens when you scribble a note about an appointment on a scrap of
paper and then leave it at the bottom of the tray. Oversight cannot
happen when 16 boys are within sight, just beyond the school office
door. When you can see them, yet mentally remove them from your
conscience and responsibility as a human being, then you have parted
ways with the rational. Thus panic.
And over what? Some porn VCDs, available from any streetside pedlar
at $10 a flick.
How many schoolboys have ways and means to watch porn? Let me make a
guess: the vast majority! It's part of growing up. It's part of one's
developing sexuality, part of the process of learning to take risks,
and yes, part of the process by which males learn to bond with each
Those of us who have watched porn will tell you they're boring. The
storyline is usually thinner than Kleenex; the scenes and fornication
positions predictable. The action is basically of just three or four
kinds, mechanical and repetitive, and mind-numbingly stretched to
fill the 90 required minutes.
They are not just boring; they are stupefyingly boring. (And then you
up the thrill level and watch live sex, and that too, you soon
discover, is equally boring!)
Give people enough opportunities to get porn, and at some point when
they're adult, the novelty will wear off.
But teenagers will go through a phase when hormonal surges and their
natural human curiosity (something we should always celebrate) will
mean they will want to find out about sex. Add in its taboo value and
it becomes irresistible.
And then the theory says, they will get addicted, and their capacity
to love will get all twisted.
The truth is, they will, almost to a man, grow up well-adjusted and
Rather, we should wonder if it might be the opposite of the theory:
that it is those who believe that sex is dirty who will get all
twisted in their priorities, and who will feel so traumatized at the
mere sight of porn that they will erupt in the kind of the insanity
that is moral panic.
© Yawning Bread
January 1997, completely re-written in February 2004
Jovan and his school
It first appeared as a frontpage story on the New Paper, 21 Dec 1996, titled Homepage SHOCK.
The homepage in question belonged to a 16-year-old named Jovan. The untypical thing about his page was that he declared on it that he was gay. You have to remember this was 1996, the early days of the internet in Singapore, and when being gay was still unspeakable. Moreover, he even had his photograph on it. Not many gay Singaporeans even today, would do something like that.
But in other ways, his homepage was quite typical. Like so many teenagers proud of their schools or colleges, Jovan said on his homepage that he was a student at St Andrews Secondary School.
This conjunction of gay and St Andrews was the spark and fuel for the events that followed.
After the O-level examinations, the students were told they could come back to the school on 30 Nov 1996 to collect their School Leaving Certificates and Testimonials.
In Jovans case, however, the school telephoned his mother a few days prior to that, informing her of their objections to his homepage, adding that the Singapore Broadcasting Authority (the body then in charge of censoring the internet) had been informed and they were going to "take action" against her son. There was also some mention about a legal suit for defamation.
Sensible people like you and I will wonder what grounds the school would have for even thinking they were defamed, but this story isnt about sensible people. This story is about people whose ideas about right, wrong and morality they have never seriously questioned in their lives. Its about the total inability to think rationally once anything gay comes into the picture. Its about the electric storms in peoples brains as the word gay sets off a chain reaction of sex, sin, sodomy, perversion, contagion and damnation! To them the idea of homosexuality is so abominable that (a) there is no need to acquaint oneself with any facts about the subject and (b) one can take unrestrained action to combat it.
To come back to the tale, the mother had not known about Jovan's homepage, though she had known he was gay. Still, the phone call and the schools threat of public ignominy sent her ballistic. Jovan immediately took down his homepage.
So by Nov 30, when Jovan went to his school to collect his papers, the homepage had already been removed, but the teacher in charge still withheld his papers. The reason given to him was that the Principal was still on leave, and they had to consult her before letting him out of purgatory.
Like most stubborn 16 year-olds. Jovan refused to go back to collect his documents even when the Principal had returned from leave. His father went in his stead. Mother was still ballistic. Fathers will understand the feeling.
The documents were given to his father in a sealed envelope, which according to Jovan, was unusual, as the other boys had got theirs unsealed. On stepping out of the Principals office, the father opened the envelope, and saw that the testimonial read, "... poor conduct; very inconsistent and poor performance..."
Now he went ballistic, turned back to confront the Principal. On the spot she prepared another testimonial, this time saying, "quiet and well-behaved boy." So much for the value of such credentials called School Testimonials.
By now, the sons homepage was no longer the issue. In the parents eyes, as in most ordinary sensible folks, the outrageous stance of the school was.
Mother wrote a complaint to the Ministry of Education.
Jovan went further. He contacted the New Paper, and thats how the story appeared on 21 December.
The New Paper contacted the SBA for their side of the story, and their response was that -- forgive the bureaucratese here -- they acted on public complaints and referred cases to the relevant agencies. In this case, they "advised the school to take it up directly with the student."
But was it the SBA who first noticed Jovans homepage and reported it to his school? The SBA protested their innocence: they did not monitor personal homepages on the internet.
From what I had heard about the inner workings of the SBA, that was almost surely true. They never had anywhere near the necessary resources to monitor homepages, nor much inclination to do so.
To this day, its still a mystery how the school first came to know of Jovans homepage.
The newspaper also asked the school for a comment. St Andrews said they were just being cautious, so we could call the boy back to talk to him, or for counselling".
Excrement of male cattle! The family didnt perceive the phone call as concerned advice, but more like an ultimatum -- remove your homepage from the net or I'll hold your papers to ransom.
And the tired bit about counselling? We hear it all the time from people who dont know the first thing about homosexuality. How many times do we have to say it? That homosexual orientation isnt a behavioural perversion; its a pretty normal form of sexuality. Theres nothing to counsel.
Two months on, the family had received no response from the Ministry of Education about their complaint. Nor had the SBA contacted them.
But the last word should belong to Jovan, who told the New Paper, "All I wanted to do was to make a statement that I'm proud of who and what I am.
© Yawning Bread