Saturday, August 28, 2010


Would you object or raise a ruckus if the Heath Promotion Board (HPB) made a video with graphic depicting how to use a needle safely to inject recreational drugs into your child body on the grounds that everyone is already using recreational drugs and so there is a need to teach the students in secondary school how to safely use a needle?

Yet, I expect many people would condom the action of St. Patrick's School objection to condom video from HPB which promote the use of condom during sex and the graphic depicting on how to use the contraceptive.They would argue that many teenagers are already having sex and there is a need to teach them how to do it safely. Some might even argue that they do not see anything wrong with having sex outside of marriage.

While I cannot claim to have read the letter to the parents nor spoken to the HOD of Pupil Welfare, Nicholas Seet about the reasons for the objection, as a parents of three boys ranging from five to twenty one years old, I can understand and approval of the school’s decision.
By promoting the use of condom, we are teaching our students that the person that they are having sex with is only an object to satisfy a man’s carnal desire. The woman has been reduced to a vessel or a container to receive the male sperm.

By making a stand to object to the condom video, the school is sending a powerful message to the students to treat their fellow human as gift for each other and that a girl is more then a physical object. She is a person with needs, to be treated with consideration, care and respect.

Sex is no longer seen as an urged to be scratched but as an opportunity or a communicate tool to share deeply with someone you are committed for live.

In a world, where the fallacy of ad populum is committed everyday, I am glad that someone has the courage to stand up and fight for the right of woman to be treated as human being.
I would be proud to send my sons to St Patrick’s School.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Morning has broken

My children said that when they were born, they looked like heaven.

Saturday, March 24, 2007


WOULD you kill this child?

I nearly did. In 1999, I discovered that I was pregnant with my fifth child, Ariel. There were many good, rational and legitimate reasons for me to abort her.

First, I had just given birth to my fourth son, Atticus, and five weeks later I discovered that I had conceived again. Second, I had just had a caesarean and I was worried that my womb was not ready to have this child. Third, during the 1990s, before the baby bonus package was revised, I could not use my Medisave to pay the cost of my delivery and had to take no-pay leave for my fourth child.

It had already cost my family about $15,000 for my fourth child in terms of
the hospitalisation charges and loss of income. I even had a Catholic priest’s blessing to abort the child for medical and social reasons.

However, we chose not to. We accepted her arrival with the same happiness and enthusiasm with which we had welcomed our other children. We were worried about the additional expenses: We had to save more to pay for the delivery and to cover the loss of income. We were also worried about the time we would be able to spend with this child and the other children.

I am a university graduate. I am a department head at a local school. I work 12 hours a day. I am the first to leave the house at 6am and I return at 7pm. I travel abroad regularly on field trips and conferences.

After the birth of Ariel, I completed a postgraduate diploma in department
management. My husband and I conduct courses and workshops two or three evenings a
week as a community service. A friend who is a superintendent of a cluster of schools with the Ministry of Education, went on a field trip to Bali with me after the birth of her third child. Her two older children are in the gifted programme.

Were we irresponsible to maintain demanding careers while choosing to have so many children? Did we allow our hearts to rule our heads? Were we fair to our other children? Did we deprive them of love and time because we also had to care for their siblings?

Should we have aborted our youngest child?Often, when a woman discovers that she is pregnant, she will experience a wide range of emotions depending on
her circumstances. Does her husband support her? What about her boss? What about her career? What about her holidays? The projects that she is overseeing?
Does she have enough time, love and money to see to the child? Is she ready
to be a mother and wife at the same time? Is she prepared?

Last December, I discovered that I was pregnant with my sixth child. I had
similar doubts and worries. I was so worried that I chose to inform my mother about this child only on the first day of Chinese New Year, so that she could not scold me.

Each woman will have her reasons for keeping or aborting a child. Most of the
reasons are sane and rational. Having a child, whether it is the first
or the sixth, is a major decision. A child brings about major changes in
a marriage and family. Many women choose not to have children
because they fear the changes that they cannot control.

Handling a project in the workplace or running a department is easier than having a baby, as we cannot take a diploma in diaper-changing or a degree in breastfeeding.

However, my personal belief and experience is that if we can manage the
stress and demands of a university education and the pressures of the work
environment, we should be able to handle this bundle of joy


Talking sex with dad and mum

By Frances Ess

The other day, my seven year old son told me that he can only have baby sex when he is married while it is perfectly o.k .to have talking sex all the time. I was caught off guard and wondered what he meant.

I soon recalled that in one of our many talks with our children, we made a distinction between social intercourse (talking sex) with sexual intercourse (baby sex).
We just hope that when our son announced to the whole that he is having sex with his parents we will not be arrested.

Sex. Just a three letter word. Yet, such a misunderstood and mysterious word.

In Singapore, it seems that there is an interesting dichotomy. Teenagers and young adult, who are not married, are actively having sex and going for abortion while the married Singaporean are too tired to produce two babies to replace themselves.

Like many parents, at first, I feel uncomfortable to admit to my children that my husband and I have an active sex life. It was also difficult to see my children as active sexual human being.

Studying in the convent in the 1970’s, my only source of information about sex were from friends, Her World magazine and for some of us our boyfriends.

Fortunately for us, the convent had a good sex education programme. The irony was that the nuns and priests, who have vowed a life of celibacy, were the most open when it comes to this issue.

From them, we learn to understand our own sexuality and that being masculine and feminine is not a crime. Moreover being interested in the opposite is part of growing up.

When my husband and I were courting each other, we were sorely tempted like any hot blooded teenager would. However, we choose not to be engaged in pre-material sex because we were not sure that we would be marrying each other.

Now that we are married, we are glad that we have waited. We need not live in fear or uncertainty that we have had a shot gun marriage.

Sex education is more then the process of acquiring information, which the education system is doing, by providing our students systematically with a set of relevant information in class.

It is about developing attitudes and beliefs about sex, sexual identity, relationships and intimacy. It equipping our children with a set of skills so that they can make educated choices about their sexual behaviour.

Moreover, they have to feel confident and competent about acting on these choices and not be tricked or pressured into doing something that they might regret later.

Therefore, sex education ideally should be conducted at home. Sex between two happily married persons is seldom seen in T.V. movies or other mass media. Often teenage sex or extra-material sex is glorified.

The best gift we can give to our children is to let them understand that sex should be engaged within a marriage context. Hopefully by see this model, they will be able to develop a set of belief and value system that do not use sex as a bargaining tool to get approval or acceptance .

At the age of five or six, we teach our children to respect their own bodies and that no one should be allowed to touch them. We introduce the three letter words sex, so that they do not find the concept difficult, shameful or mysterious.

When they reached their eighth birthday, they are allowed to ask any question they have about sex and we would answer them, factually, truthfully and sincerely. It is better then they receive it from their friends or strangers.

For our teenagers, we acknowledge that if they want engaged in pre-marital sex we could not be there to stop them. This does not imply that we encourage them to have sex. However, if they choose to not to heed our advice we encourage them to protect themselves against Aids, HIV and STD.

Having cultivated the value that sex is the deepest form of communication between two persons in love, hopefully our children would not be seduce by the heat of the moment and regret for the rest of their life the choice that they made.

This article first appeared in TODAY


Ready for sex?

By Aubrey Ess

Recently, the case of a nine-year-old mother was in the news. While only in Primary Three, this girl had already had sex with her boyfriend many times, behind her parents' back.

During her pregnancy, she had to cope with all the hassles of having a baby: morning sickness, labour pains, not to mention any social stigma she would have had to face. Her studies and social life would also have suffered.

This is a sad case of how not only the experience, but also when one starts having sexual intercourse, can change one's life drastically.

When I was eight years old, my parents began to answer every question I had about sex. It was a decision that many parents would probably be shocked at. However, just as the timing of engaging in sexual relations is important, so is the timing of when one starts learning about the birds and the bees.

The subject will have to be taught at one point or another, because every person faces it sooner or later. Teenagers are faced with the question of having premarital sex, married couples are united through sex, and even priests who refrain from sex have to handle temptation.

I believe that such an integral part of our lives should be explained fully by our parents, so that we are prepared to handle it.

The only question is, when? During pre-school, when we are still playing with blocks and dolls? During Primary School, when we are more aware of our surroundings, and being instilled with the values of good and bad? Or during Secondary School, when we enter our teenage years, and a life far more hormonal, independent, and questioning than ever before?

Now, I have a little brother approaching his eighth birthday. When my parents told him about his "asking about sex" opportunity, his eyes lit up in exactly the same way as mine did. "Really? Okay then — mummy, daddy, can I know about sex?" the eight-year-old — intelligent but inexperienced, delighted at learning about a mysterious word, unaware yet of the profound effect it will have on his life — asked, before bursting into laughter. It was the same with me.

Perhaps at the age of eight we were not yet responsible enough to grapple with a topic like sex. After all, give one too much information too soon, and one could do regrettable things with it.

Yet my parents never simply spilled the beans. At eight, I asked questions like "what". As I grew older, and matured into my teenage years, my questions also matured into those like "when", "should" and "with whom". Also, as I asked my various questions, they revealed deeper, related things about sex that I had not even been able to comprehend.

Besides giving me factual information, my parents also made clear the dangers, precautions, religious views, and exclusiveness of sex — the basic dos and don'ts, so that I was also brought up with a moral idea of what sex should be.

Being ready to learn about sex is not about one's age. It is about whether your child is already dipping his toes into the ocean, already taking the step of finding out. When that happens, he is going to learn to swim no matter what, no matter how long it takes, simply because his curiosity pushes him on.

It is at this point that parents should teach their child about that "S" word, that subject that may make them blush or stutter, that very thing which their own child is facing.

It is wonderful that my parents are willing to be open with such a sensitive subject, so that I do not have to find out through a book, TV show, or even through actual intercourse with someone else.

The writer is a 16-year-old student. She one of the daughters of MOS.


Creation Sex and Condom

When my daughter attended a camp last year, her father gave her a box of condoms and explained that, like all good scouts, one must be prepared. When I went to Hong Kong alone for work, my husband gave me a box, too, and smiled.

Before anyone throws the first stone at him, allow me to explain.

We believe the best place for our teenagers to learn about sex is at home. This includes learning about the proper use of contraceptives, such as how to put a condom on and the benefits and side effects of the Pill, the IUD, and about abortion.

However, the use of contraceptives must not be taught in isolation. It is not a simple issue of "prevention is better than cure". Contraceptive use can prevent the creation of an unwanted child, protect oneself from sexually transmitted diseases and also might give one a false a sense of freedom to have sex with anyone, anywhere and anytime.

This was not our intention when we embarked on this journey with our children. We hope they will not engage in premarital sex, but we are aware that peer pressure and societal values act as a counterweight to what we teach them. We recognise that we cannot stop them if they intend to have sex.

All we can do is show them the true freedom of sex within a marriage. We are very open with our children about our sex life. They know that, on a lazy Sunday afternoon, it is best to leave their parents alone. They realise that sex is the deepest form of communication between two committed individuals.

Of course, some people will argue that this can also take place outside marriage. They will argue that they have formed meaningful, happy relationships and that marriage does not guarantee fidelity.

While others are free to make their own lifestyle choices, we believe sex should not be just a recreational activity one engages in after a single drink (or more, probably) on the first date.

We have observed that many teenagers and adults engage in premarital sex because they feel insecure. They want a sense of assurance from others. But, one of the untold effects of casual sex is the sense of insecurity one feels after the act is over.

Some people seek companionship and believe that offering their bodies is the easiest way to tie someone down. But, they may soon begin to ask themselves: Will my partner continue with this relationship, or will he or she seek another person to have sex with tonight? If we could fall in bed so easily last night, will we fall out of love as easily today? Why do I feel like a piece of used tissue paper when he does not continue the relationship?

Sex between two committed individuals is enjoyable, and the fruit of this relationship is the child that will be created in the process.

One of the reasons why our birth rate has plummeted is because, through the use of contraceptives, we have separated the act of creation from sex. By understanding the purpose and function of our body, we will learn to respect it as a powerful tool to create new life.

When they are taught about sex in this light, our children will be less inclined to engage in pre-marital sex, as creating a life brings on new responsibility.

Therefore, my husband had utmost confidence that our daughter would not be using the box of condoms he had given her before she went for camp. Likewise, the fidelity we have built up in our marriage earned me a similar box.

The writer is a mother of six.

This article first appeared in TODAY on 16th March 2007

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