31 Jul 2006

Sexier to say "no" to sex, Singapore Malay youth told

It may result in an open debate but the opening salvo and obvious direction that the campaign intends to go in is clear.

"This shows that our community has matured and is now ready to discuss this issue in the open and do something about it collectively." Just don't mention safe sex and condoms. The advice reads like a christian campaign you might find in America. Surely young people should be given information about contraception and how to protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases. Abstinence supporters are up front about their crusade being morality-based -- and unpopular.

There is of course more than one approach to this 'social problem'. But the approach in Singapore will be abstinence aimed directly at the Malay community. Preaching abstinence as the birth rate declines, stigmatising children born to unwed mothers rather than treating all children equally. Blantantly placing the blame of teenage abortion on a group that make up a minor proportion of the over all population while two thirds of all teenage abortions are from other ethnic groups. With over half of teenagers infected with sexually transmitted diseases not Malay.

So 'Just Say No to Sex', but when you are older and 'married' we want you at it like rabbits in order to overcome the continuing birth rate decline of certain ethnic groups. But by then you might be so terrified and uneducated about sex and sexuality that you have no idea about what to do and how to do it.

Surely a better policy would be to promote 'abstinence' with younger children but with teenagers who may already be sexually active promote safe-sex. To assume that teenagers and young people are a single group that can be approached with one singular campaign denies the activities and attitudes of different cohorts in the target community. I also feel that the headlines focusing on Malays is counter-productive and may add further stigma to the group. Was it absolutely necessary to focus on 14% of the population.

Singapore (ANTARA News) - "It's sexier to say No!"

Singapore's ethnic Malay teenagers will be given that message in a campaign to curb a disproportionate number of teenage mothers and sexually transmitted diseases, press reports said Monday.

About one third of all teenage abortions in 2004 occurred in the Malay community, The Straits Times quoted Minister of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim as saying at the launch of the campaign.

Malays make up about 14 percent of the city-state's resident population.

Almost half of all teenagers infected with sexually transmitted diseases were Malay, and more than half of the 417 teens who gave birth in 2004 were Malay, The Straits Times said.

Yaacob was quoted as saying the data is "worrying".

The month-long abstinence campaign will involve posters, the Internet, radio talk shows and community volunteers, newspapers reported.

"This shows that our community has matured and is now ready to discuss this issue in the open and do something about it collectively," The Straits Times quoted Yaacob as saying.

Most resident Singaporeans are ethnic Chinese but there is also a substantial Indian minority as well as Malays. (*)



Evon said...

It's a bold first step within the Malay community if you consider how conservative they are.At least now the older Muslims are not hiding these things behind closed doors or denying that they happen at all. Take things slow and let's see how things go off from here.

soci said...

It is a bold first step but in what direction?

The problem isn't with the younger malays then? Or is it primarily a problem only for the malays is what I am also getting at?

Szez said...

Is it just me or do i sense a bit of racial-protectionism here? Don't abortions have an equal likelihood of happening in other communities?
Abortion should be a tackled across the entire citizenry of Singapore maybe focusing on teenagers but it should not only be narrowed down to the Malay community.
The last thing we want is to show any kind of blame-pushing based on a preconceived racial discrimination. Tackle it as a social issue, not a community issue.

Matilah_Singapura said...

Like hell they're gonna listen :-)

Sex and drugs are part of youth culture everywhere. This idiot from the state has obviously not listenedd to any RAP music, so he has no-fucking-clue of what the kids are being influenced by (and for the most part, agreeing to)

Kids are going to get high and they are going to have sex.

The Catholic church has tried using FEAR and GUILT for years... and failed. Religious zealots in countries like Malaysia and Iran have tried the same, and failed.

The kids may need guidance, education and lessons in "individual responsibility, choice and consequence"...but...

...it is most of the adults who need to LISTEN more and UNDERSTAND instead of riding roughshod over kids, patronising them and dumbing them down.

So, the state's *brilliant* (not!) answer?

This campaign is like any other govt campaign to "modify" behaviour in accordance to "social engineering" standards.

Reminds me of Harry Anslinger's "Reefer Madness" campaign in the last century.

Govt campaigns are essentially based on lies and false premises, and the use of guilt and fear. This one isn't going to be any different.

I'm going to aquire some of the posters and TV ads as souveneirs :-)

lee hsien tau said...

You kiddin' Malays are allowed four wifes (if you can afford it). Why waste the sperm?

Matilah_Singapura said...

The biggest wasters of resources is always the government.

One's own sperm is never wasted, because the experience is always spectacular. :-)