BOOK OF LIES: SEX EDUCATION GONE TO THE DOGS
To date, there has been a slew of reports with regards to religious institutions having a whale of their time "teaching"(I mean proselytising, literally) about the virtues of sex in mandatory eight-hour sex education classes in Junior Colleges.
Just one shining example, though, came through from the rather "homely" Christian Institution, Family Life Society
(Article on Straits Times; click to enlarge)
Now, according to the report, Family Life Society teaches some rather dodgy beliefs here, including:
1. Contraception is wrong;
2. Abortion is wrong;
3. Stem cell research is wrong.
Now, if any readers amongst you are sniffing a hint of religious foulplay here, you will be asking this question: How the hell does stem cell research end up in a sex education class as a legitimate topic???
Ah, the wondrous minds of our theist brethrens apparently knows no bounds. Any avenue, apparently, to spread their "love of God" messages becomes a sordid avenue for erecting a pulpit, government institution or otherwise.
To further accentuate the doctrines of this moronic group, perhaps it would be terrific(or horrific), to slip in a few scanned pages of the textbook published by this religious institution.
BOOK OF LIES
(COVER PAGE: NOT AN OVERTLY APPEALING BOOK)
Dark brownish in colour, the cover page of the book begins to reveal its pukish contents with a rather suitable pukish design.
And there, emblazoned in a rather pale shade of gold, are the words "Celebrate Life-The Workshop". Celebrating life? Not a very apt title for a sex education course book, eh? Or perhaps the writer of this moronic book never had the intention to impart proper knowledge in the first place?
Flipping through, one cannot fail to ignore the blatant religious contents spewed forth by the religious author.
-Why Sex Outside Marriage is Always Wrong
- Same Sex Attraction And Homosexual Sex
Ah, the first signs of conservative, fundamentalist deluge becomes distinctly evident. Homophobia, too, takes center-stage.
Ah, so what do we have here? A giant-sized picture of a sperm! Yes, those worm-like monsters of procreation, capable of creating little, noisy babies! Well, let us proceed and study the "words of wisdom" of these very enigmatic sex education experts.
-"When one speaks about condoms stopping the HIV
virus, few realize the size of the problem. The human sperm can only be seen under the microscope. Millions of them are ejaculated from one act of intercourse. Some may escape through flaws or minute microscopic pores
in the latex condoms to cause pregnancy thus rendering the condom an ineffective method of contraception."
Well, well, here's a little researched material from Planned Parenthood
:"Of 100 women whose partners use condoms, about 15 will become pregnant during the first year of typical use.* Only two women will become pregnant with perfect use.** More protection against pregnancy is possible if condoms are used with a spermicide foam, cream, jelly, suppository, or film."
"Minute, microscopic pores"? "Ineffective method of Contraception"? Well, I guess that means one or the other is lying!
Now let us continue with this ridiculous work:
-"If condoms can fail to stop the sperm, would not the failure rate for preventing Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDS) be higher for the smaller HIV virus and other organisms?"
-"Note: The sperm measures about 3 microns on the head and the HIV virus is 0.1 microns or about one ten thousandth part of one millimeter."
Now, as one blogger
correctly pointed out, water molecules are even much smaller, at 0.2 nano-microns..... so the condoms are effectively as leaky as a water hose.
Survival experts will tell you that condoms are the best rubber to waterproof essential items small enough to be fitted snugly into one because of its water proofing qualities.
So, I guess, this really is a no-brainer: Condoms are water-proof; barring tears and non-correct usage, a condom is the best means of contraception and STD prevention.
3.From here on, the plot thickens. Contraception becomes an evil act: "Contraception is the deliberate sterilization of the sexual act......so that the act will never be fruitful or open to life."
What the author is trying to expound is, sex must invariably be tied with pregnancy and procreation. Such an archaic, backward rubbish taught in a 21st century classroom is tantamount to teaching 19th century Chinese women the wonderful virtues of feet-binding.
Abortion is also condemned as an act of murder, with several medical conditions associated with abortion thrown in for good measure.
Now here comes the epitome of crap:
The author claims that:
1. Pregnancy prevention by condoms:85%
2.STD prevention: 50-90%.
According to Planned Parenthood:In a 1987–91 study of couples in which one partner had HIV, all 123 couples who used condoms every time for four years prevented transmission of HIV. In 122 couples who did not use condoms every time, 12 partners became infected.1
Oops! 100% efficiency.
A similar 1993 study showed that using condoms every time prevented HIV transmission for all but two of 171 women who had male partners with HIV. However eight out of 10 women whose partners didn't use condoms every time became infected.2" That is more than 98% efficiency.
Allowing religious institutions such as Family Life Society into government institutions as external faculties to teach secular subjects may not be the best option, after all.
Sex education is an important aspect of secular education. With the prevalence of AIDS and other STDS, it is imperative that our youth be armed with the knowledge to protect themselves. Allowing religious bigots to roughshod the sex education program is a dangerous precedent, and I hope the Ministry of Education reviews its policies, lest we want to breed a generation of ignorant youths.
1Alberto Saracco, et al, "Man-To-Woman Transmission of HIV: Longitudinal Study of 343 Steady Partners of Infected Men," Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, Raven Press. Ltd., New York: 1993, 6, pp. 497-502.
2Isabelle De Vincenzi, "Heterosexual Transmission of HIV in European Cohort of Couples," European Centre for the Epidemiological Monitoring of AIDS, Paris, France: 1993. Reported in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 42(30), August 6, 1993.
Someone agrees with me!
Looks like there is someone with agrees with me on the lack of racial mixing in our primary and secondary schools.
I wonder what MOE's reply will be.
Feb 22, 2006Would MOE have racial quotas for schools?
THE issue of racial quotas for HDB blocks has been defended robustly by the Government and justifiably so.
Creating an environment where the different races coexist peacefully with opportunities for interaction is of paramount importance. The correctness of this policy is undeniable. Equally vital is the avoidance of racial enclaves.
When it comes to primary schools, however, it seems to be a totally different matter. Within my neighbourhood, there are some primary schools which are almost exclusively Chinese, while some have disproportionately high numbers of Malay pupils. In fact, one may not be faulted for labelling some of them as 'Chinese' schools. One wonders how realistic the lessons on racial harmony are for pupils in these schools.
What's disturbing is the attitude of the parents. A major factor affecting their choice of a primary school is racial composition. Certain schools are eschewed by Chinese parents because there are 'too many Malays' while Malay parents prefer to enrol their children in these very schools for the same reason.
This situation should not be tolerated as racial biases are usually formed during one's formative years and tend to become irrationally entrenched. Would the Ministry of Education consider implementing racial quotas for primary schools?
Teo Teck Seng
See no rally, Hear no rally, Speak no rally.
Time is GMT + 8 hours
Posted: 19 February 2006 0315 hrs
Bloggers, podcasts online may be subject to Parliamentary Elections Act
By Farah Abdul Rahim, Channel NewsAsia
SINGAPORE : Come election time, bloggers and podcasts online may be subject to the Parliamentary Elections Act.
The Media Development Authority has reminded Internet content providers to comply with Singapore's laws, including those relating to political content.
It says changes to the law, if necessary, will be announced at an appropriate time.
In the previous election in 2001, cyberspace was smaller and less active, and so was the Internet community. Podcasts and blogs were not common terms at that time, but things have changed over the past five years.
Online political discussions have become more common, especially with the General Election due by the middle of next year.
One anonymous blogger called "SGRally" has even set up a website and asks for volunteers to record rally speeches and post them online.
"That site, whoever set it up, is trying to push the boundaries, the envelope a little bit by making people think about what these definitions are. It could present a problem, it could not. We will see how it pans out, and what type of videos that people actually end up sending in," said blogger Benjamin Lee, who is better known as 'Mr Miyagi'.
But is this blog allowed under the Parliamentary Elections Act?
"They can say that it contravenes the law in the sense that rallies are meant to persuade voters towards the speakers' cause. The aim is to influence people. So under existing regulations, it would seem as if it is covered," said Tan Tarn How, research fellow at IPS (Institute of Policy Studies, Singapore).
"There are several questions in this - first of all, whether people would really bother to put up the video tapes, transcripts of the speeches and rallies. Secondly, whether people would bother to go download the rallies and speeches."
Many also argue that while the Internet's influence is increasing, most Singaporeans will not be heading online.
"I don't think that the audience is very big for this kind of material, (though) they have been doing it for years. In the last GE, there were a lot of materials but not many went to the SDP and WP websites to download materials," said Tan.
"People are just not interested enough to put in the effort to look for information. Unless it's cast in a form that is closer to entertainment than politics."
Bloggers agree that not many out there want to listen to political podcasts.
"I'm sure there is room for listening to political podcasts. The only problem is that a lot of the stuff out there is dry and boring. So you are basically asking the man on the street, for 20 mins or half an hour of his time to tune into your programme. But if it's not interesting, I won't waste my time," said Lee.
But bloggers also point out that current laws aren't clear enough.
"Some things need to be defined, to make it clearer. There are a lot of laws covering online offline activities that didn't seem inadequate till the advent of blogging and podcasting. Right now, you have bloggers and podcasters wondering how often they will fall foul of the law," said Lee.
There are still many unanswered questions - like how to get bloggers to take responsibility for their actions especially with anonymous postings or if the website is hosted out of Singapore.
So it remains to be seen whether the law will change before the next General Election. But one thing's for sure, political watchers say it's still the heartlanders who will decide the outcome of the next election, not the online community.
We have a really interesting situation here… I really have some problems understanding why it should be illegal for us, Singaporeans, to watch rallies online when it is perfectly alright to for us to watch it “live” at the rally sites...
Very very long ago someone said this in his speech.
"But we either believe in democracy or we not. If we do, then, we must say categorically, without qualification, that no restraint from the any democratic processes, other than by the ordinary law of the land, should be allowed... If you believe in democracy, you must believe in it unconditionally. If you believe that men should be free, then, they should have the right of free association, of free speech, of free publication. Then, no law should permit those democratic processes to be set at nought, and no excuse, whether of security, should allow a government to be deterred from doing what it knows to right, and what it must know to be right... "
However we all know how times had “changed”…
LIBERALISM: PRODUCT OF EVIL LEFT-WINGERS?
From the reactions from certain sections of readers here, I gather that quite many seem to oppose liberal views towards free speech and its inherents.
According to conservatists, it seems, freedom of speech incites riots and social disorders. Our local government often cites the ethnic riots of the 1960s to drum into us that liberalism is a bad thing, that if folks are given too much leeway and freedom, they will start to run amok and create social distress, destroying everything we are supposed to hold dear.
Now, I can understand that, back in the early days of independence, there was a need by our government to wield an iron hand over its citizens, due to the immediate threat of communism and other insurgents from our neighbouring countries, who were also grappling with the early years of independence.
Now, 40 yrs on, Singapore has progressed, in terms of economic development and solidarity as a nation. Yet we are stuck with certain archaic, out-of-place policies that seems more at home in feudal, autocratic nations than a developed, democratic nation.
We have people jailed without trial for decades on end under the Internal Security Act; people who are persecuted for making what has been deemed "seditious remarks" under the Sedition Act(This was imported by the British, whom as far as I know do not invoke such a law today), and people who get the death penality for crimes ranging from murder to drug smuggling.
We have policies that allocate a racial quota on every HDB estate; a electable Presidency that has only one elected President since it became a electable position, and a government-control media system that employs heavy censorship.
Sure, these conservatives will argue, convincingly, in fact, this is the system that has served us well for 4 decades. As the saying goes, if it ain't broken, don't change it. Is this really the case?
To that, I can only say this: Societies change, and the key factor to liberalism is change
. What may work 40 yrs ago may not work today.
Take slavery in America, for example. It was legal to own slaves, until the American Civil War changed that. Change inevitably happened because people knew that it was simply unethical to own slaves, and Conservatives were up in arms for years to reverse the prevailing trend. And in the end, the Conservatives failed to prevail.
Our system of government is based on a highly-structured level of social engineering. For example, policies to allocate flats, according to a social quota may work in the beginning years of independence, may have worked wonders to bond together various racists who were more accustomed to living amongst their same ethnic groups, but over time it becomes redundant, because if us Singaporeans are so race-conscious today, then something is seriously very wrong with our society, and no race quotas will ever work in the direction of social bonding, if that were the case.
Laws such as the Internal Security Act were effective in eliminating the communist threat when it was first enacted, because Singapore then was very vulnerable due to its fledging new military force. To still enforce this Act today would be somewhat of an overkill, even if it were applied to terrorists, because trying to detain someone indefinitely without trial is a gross abuse of human rights. The Sedition Act, first elected in old Elizebethian times, is so archaic, to invoke it is akin to hurling Singapore back to the good old days of the Inquisitions.
With regards to the freedom of speech and media, we are often reminded of our the riots of the 1960s, and how ethnic riots could have been prevented if laws curbing such freedoms were invoked. 40 years on, and the same rhetoric is been pandered around like some old Gospel truth. Has our society been so stagnant in intellectual growth that, given the freedom to speak our minds, we will run amok and riot like those crazy mobs in Indonesia and other countries over some minor issues? If that really is the case, I am truly ashamed to be called a Singaporean.
The truth is, the time has come for Singapore to liberalize certain facets of our society. At the very heart of liberalism is change. Resisting change, or resisting the tide of change, is futile, and all you will get at the end of it all is social regression, not progression.
History has shown us the irreversible trend of destruction wrought by conservative ideas. China was torn apart by the Eight Powers because Empress Cixi failed to anticipate the power of change, embracing the death throes of old, conservative Manchu values in the face of growing modernization and commercialism.
Singapore, as a economically developed nation, cannot remain bogged down by conservative values, lest she trots down the well-beaten path of social disintegration.
FRACAS OVER CARTOONS: A CASE OF OVER-REACTION, OR A CLASH OF IDEALS?
The recent publications of anti-Islamic caricatures targeting the Prophet, published by a Danish daily, Jyllands-Posten, has incensed and enraged the Islamic community. The resulting fiasco began to snowball into a political crisis, as Muslim leaders from leading Muslim countries came forth and voiced their displeasure with what has been deemed as “blasphemy” against the Prophet Muhammad.
The re-publication of the caricatures by other European newspapers have further stoked the flames of infamy, with protests reported from many Islamic countries, such as Malaysia and Indonesia.
While the debate rages on, the issue of these supposedly harmless caricatures have caused widespread protests, with many Islamic fundamentalists baying for the blood of those responsible for this supposedly "blasphemous" insult.A LIBERAL EUROPEAN CONTINENT
The resulting fracas can best be described as a clash between old world- ultra-fundamentalist views of Islamic nations versus liberal, democratic doctrines prevalent in European countries.
In many European countries, freedom of speech is guaranteed and upheld by the respective governments, placing particular emphasis of secularity of state governments and a distinct Separation of Church and State.
The European Continent was not always as liberal as it is today. In medieval Europe, there was much rivalry between Kings and representations of the Catholic Church. In many cases, Kings required the blessings and approval of the Church before they could rule their respective kingdoms. Charlemagne (742-814), son of King Pippin the Short and Bertrada of Laon, had to be crowned by Pope Leo III before he could reinitiate his reign as King of the Franks. The British Monarchy has traditionally required the auspices of the Church of England, with elaborate ceremonies held for each ruling monarch that has ever ruled England and her respective colonies.
Under the rule of theocracy, old Europe was pretty much a continent of superstition. Laws prohibiting blasphemy against the Church and its doctrines was common place; a charge for blasphemy could spell a death sentence preceded by torture, and even during the Renaissance period from the 13th to 15th century, one could be charged even for the harmless act of being a vegetarian.
Separation of Church and State first surfaced in 1905 as legitimate law in France, and heralded the beginnings of a more liberal and less theocratic Europe. In many countries, such as Sweden and England, freedom of religion and speech was guaranteed, despite official religions being subscribed. As such, religion took a back seat, and with the increasing secularity of European nations, laws pertaining to theocracy, such as blasphemy, had been annexed, and the resulting prevalent attitudes have become such that mocking religions, in written, spoken or any other forms, are considered expressions of the freedom of speech guaranteed by law.THE ISLAMIC WORLD: OLD WORLD VALUES
One man’s honey, another man’s poison. Indeed, what is viewed as largely a legitimate expression of free speech may be taken more seriously in strictly, fundamentalist Islamic nations. In countries such as Pakistan, one could be sentenced to death for alleged blasphemy.
Anti-religious satire has traditionally not gone well with Muslim leaders. Salmon Rushdie had to suffer the ignominy of a religious fatwah, or death sentence, after his infamous book, “The Satanic Verses” was published in 1988. The fatwa was issued by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who deemed the book so blasphemous that he offered a US$3 million bounty on his head. Even though the Ayatollah is now six feet under, the fatwa still hangs over his head.
There is a prevailing sense of indignation amongst those in the Muslim community that the cartoon caricatures published by the Danish newspaper is an outrage against Islam, and a ploy by the West to undermine Islam as a religion. What is really misunderstood is that most newspapers have a high autonomy of freedom granted and guaranteed by law: Political leaders of all shapes and sizes are equally juicy targets, and satires mocking Christianity as well as other religions are not uncommon in western journalistic circles.
Given the well-documented feuds between old Catholic Europe and Islam in the form of the Crusades, the caricatures may well be misinterpreted by Muslims as a direct confrontation and re-confirmation of yet another Europe-Islam rivalry.
Such an archaic, old-world point of view is not only misleading, it also suggests that Europe is still very much influenced by the Catholic Church. While many European nations still adopt some form of national religion, religious beliefs amongst Europeans have plummeted in recent decades, and the Catholic Church does not wield an ironhand over Europe as it did in the times of the Inquisitions.
Rather than a old-Europe vs the Islamic World contest, this is largely a clash of ideals: The right to the freedom of speech vs Religious fundamentalism.CURTAIL OF WESTERN MEDIA?
Given the unnecessary furore raised over yet another minor issue, the question is, should religious sensitivities be given priority over freedom of speech?
Obviously, this is a question that most European governments will have to grapple with. It will be a crying shame, however, if Danish and other European journalists will have to be subjected to censorship on such frivolous grounds.
Europe's increasing secularism is testimony to what has been done right: Separation of Church and State, and freedom of the press. With freedom comes progress, and liberation from religious oppression.
Western media must never be held at ransom by fundamentalist louts, who, in the name of religion, seek to prevent others from voicing out their opinions.
Feb 8, 2006CPF Board's $7.4m Payment lapse
Failure to pay insurance claims to dependants of 216 dead members is part of findings stated in annual report on govt agencies' accounts
By Daryl Loo
IN ONE of the most glaring lapses spotted at a government agency, the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board failed to pay $7.4 million in insurance claims to the dependants of 216 members who died.
The board explained that the error arose because a wrong method was used to identify whether a dead member's insurance policies, under the Dependants' Protection and Home Protection schemes, were still valid.
As a result, it had used the date of the report of the death rather than the actual date of death to verify the validity of the policies.
Hence, it took more than two years before the families of 108 deceased members were compensated, with 43 of them having to wait more than eight years.
In 15 of the unpaid claims, the policies of dead members were automatically renewed and premiums deducted from their CPF accounts even after their deaths.
The CPF has since compensated all the families except two involving deaths overseas.
Its lapses were disclosed yesterday in the annual report of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), comprising nine MPs led by Mr Leong Horn Kee.
The committee inquired into 46 observations made in the Auditor-General's report on government accounts for the financial year ended March 2005.
The PAC also rapped the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) for its persistent delays in processing Workmen's Compensation payments to injured workers and, in fatal cases, to their families.
It was not the first time the committee had raised the issue. Its 2004 report had noted the problem, but the latest Auditor-General's report showed that cases of late payments had risen during the period under review.
The MOM blamed the delays on 'the ulterior motive of foreign workers', saying they delay the claims process by objecting to their compensation assessments to prolong their stays in Singapore. But it also promised to clear its backlog of compensation cases by June, and to clear new cases much faster.
The committee also took the MOM to task for taking 3 1/2 years to pay financial aid of $37,000 from the Workers' Fund to the family of a man who died in February 2001.
The breadwinner's wife and three young children were paid only in July 2004.
The MOM blamed the CPF Board for misplacing its request for information for eight months, but admitted it had no reason for long delays as there were only five cases involving the Workers' Fund in the last five years.
The committee also raised concerns with governance issues at three agencies: the Singapore Totalisator Board, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), and the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC).
Of particular concern was the Tote Board - which oversees gambling operations like horse racing and Toto through the Turf Club and Singapore Pools - as it manages 'large sums of public money'.
The Finance Ministry promised more rigorous internal controls, including forming an audit committee and stricter adherence to rules of disclosure of interests. The Tote Board will also no longer accept gifts of corporate country club memberships from beneficiaries of its donations.
The MAS was queried over deviations in payment of overseas allowances and benefits to staff, while GIC lapsed in updating computer access rights of 15 officers who no longer needed access. Both agencies have undertaken to rectify the lapses and prevent recurrences.
The PAC was also concerned that the HDB was building more carparks than necessary and incurring large deficits in its carpark operations. It noted HDB had built carparks for 547,739 cars, nearly double the 276,078 cars that HDB residents own.
The HDB explained that its carpark deficit - $64.6 million for its financial year ended March 2004 - was mainly due to land depreciation and interest payments.
Aiyo! Why like tat one huh?!? Ask us to buy insurance then when we die can drag until 8 years then pay $! Like tat how can!
Maybe that Dr Chee is right when he called for the transparency and accountability in CPF…
But the worst is still the MOM la. Walau people’s husband die in work accident can drag until 3.5 years then pay the financial aids! Some more that guy still got 3 kids leh, the wife is so poor things man.
5 years only got 5 cases also cannot do properly. Sometime really dunno what they doing…
Dr Ng ah, Dr Ng… If you really got so much time to think about other people’s “time bombs”
, maybe u should just spend more time and effort in managing on your own backyard. Dun let families of injured and killed workers wait so long what…