"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. (*)
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