How many times have we heard people tell us : What are you complaining about? You’re free to do whatever you want what! What more freedom do you want?
We’ve been told: Yes, you can say whatever you want –– At Speakers’ Corner
We’ve been told: Yes, you can love whoever you want —- We’re not going to police folks for 377A
We’ve been told: Yes, you can worship however you want —- But do as we say or you go to hell
Freedom is a good thing to have. We need Freedom. It’s our basic human right.
We applaud those who advocate for the Freedoms humankinds deserve, the Freedoms that do not hurt others
But Freedom can’t be enough.
We need Dignity.
We need to speak with Dignity. Not in a corner.
We need to love with Dignity. Not in a closet.
We need to worship with Dignity. Not in disgrace.
I’ll like to salute 3 new/upcoming initiatives & appeal for everyone’s support.
Share the links on Facebook. Tweet them. Tell your friends about them.
Remember them when you’re in need of resources.
A newly launched website , written after much inputs & research from/by straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered & questioning people :
An Sg website to set things straight. To help set people’s thinking straight.
A website guided by this conviction:
Everyone has the right to an opinion, but no one has the right to pass off an opinion as a fact. When incorrect facts are populated, when opinions do not match reality, innocent people suffer the consequences. We aim to cross out these self-perpetuating cycles of misconception and misunderstanding by presenting the facts accurately and without bias.
Our goal is to spread the message of non-discrimination and equality, so that we can make Singapore a better place for everyone, queer and straight, religious or non-religious, rich and poor.
May 15, 2010 (Saturday), 5:00pm - 6:30pm , Speakers’ Corner
You don’t have to be LGBT to come
You don’t have to have LGBT friends or family to come
Just like you don’t have to be a tree to protect the environment
Just like you don’t have to be an animal to be kind
Just like you don’t have to be a child to believe they have rights
This is a 100% legit, 100% family event.
Have you ever wondered why every country in the world seems to have women or children trafficked into the sex trade except Singapore?
Could it be that we’ve simply called them whores & overstayers here?
are doing a research study to determine the reality of sex trafficking and the sex trade in Singapore. The results would be out in the 3rd quarter of 2010, so do watch out for that (Info was shared at a bloggers’ outreach event where UNIFEM, BodyShop and H.O.M.E made presentations)
The ENTIRE proceeds (not just profits) of this handcream that customers purchase goes towards UNIFEM’s research project.
So the next time you need a gift for your friend —- Go grab a tube of handcream from BodyShop!
I’m going to put forth a provocative thought here :
I think that religious leaders need Comprehensive Sexuality Education. Why are interfaith dialogues all about polite rituals still? You know what people say about the kids doing It anyway, whether adults are acknowledging it? I say the same thing about interfaith dialogues. The masses and pastors are already talking about faith and sex. Isn’t it high time the Inter Religious Council sits down with the Pink Dot?
HIV prevalence amongst Batam Sex Workers : ~1 in 6
% Condom use amongst Sg men in Batam : ~ 3 in 10 (7 in 10 at risk!!!!)
% Condom use amongst Sg men abroad with sex workers in general : ~ 1 in 2
% Condom use amongst Sg men with local sex workers in general: ~8-9 in 10
HIV prevalence amongst Bangkok MSM : 1 in 3
% Condom use amongst S’porean MSM with casual partners : 4 in 5
(http://www.msmsexsurvey.com 2009 Fridae.com MSM survey, see the results there)
This ongoing Anonymous Asia Internet MSM Sex Survey will help improve our understanding of MSM behaviors http://www.2010aimss.com/
Please help. Please ask your friends to help
“The results will give us critical information in understanding why HIV and other sexually transmitted infection rates are rising so quickly in our community, and help us design better programs for you.”
– 2010 AIMSS
THis is a follow up from the previous article which gives more explanations . Please take a look. http://mathialee.wordpress.com/2010/01/19/hiv-knowing-your-real-risk/
See comments for Abstracts & Citations for the above info.
(I was doing some research as part of my routine work, and came across these figures. I nearly shit in my pants. It’s unethical to not tell. I just HAD to. Underestimation of risk perception is a huge reason why people still engage in risky sex —- they think it doesn’t happen to them. Condoms are 99% safe. Russian roulette is 5 in 6 safe….. )
Lots of HIV figures you see in the newspapers are national averages. What you DON”T know, but SHOULD be looking at, are the rates amongst the sub-groups you are having sex with.
‘Cos by averaging the cases across the entire country’s huge population, the HIV rates looks less scary, the countries don’t look so bad. High risk sub-groups are where most of the HIV cases are concentrated in.
Your risk :
In Asia, MSM (Men who have Sex with Men) are disproportionately affected by HIV. HIV prevalence amongst MSM in Bangkok estimated at 28%. If you went to Bangkok and had unprotected sex with 3 men who have sex with men, at least 1 of them could be HIV+.
In Sg, >90% of HIV+ are male. 1/4 these men are/were married. >90% females are/were married. (See diagram)
What does this mean?
It means that if you (female or male, married or not) are having sex with a MSM, the statistics alone put you at much higher risk.
If you’re having anal sex, (female or male), the biology puts you at a much higher risk.
If you think you can get away by having a young girl or boy, that’s the stupidest assumption to ever make in your life. Yes, even if you’re straight.
In Asian cities where the sex workers don’t ask for condoms, half of them can be HIV+. In Batam, 1 in 6 sex workers have HIV. And because people presume younger sex workers are less risky, more people go for the young ones. Hence, HIV prevalence amongst the teen sex workers can be MORE than DOUBLE that amongst those above 20yrs old.
In Sg, ~50% the HIV infections detected only in the late stage. This means that there are probably many more HIV+ people who are very healthy, unaware of their status, and transmitting it if they’re having unprotected sex.
That means you could unknowingly spread it to your wife, and by the time you fall ill, it’s been 5 years too late.
Your life as a consequence
In Dec08, we thought HIV was going to be treated like any other chronic diseases, and generic drugs subsidised (http://mathialee.wordpress.com/2008/12/02/say-yes-to-aids-treatment-subsidies/ )
( Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan told The Straits Times he agreed with the view that HIV should be treated ‘like any chronic disease’. ‘The committee of experts will apply the same approach as they do when evaluating drugs for other diseases. We should not single out HIV for special treatment,’ he said. ….. Health Minister asked the Communicable Diseases Centre (CDC) to draw up a list of drugs that should be eligible for subsidies. http://app.mfa.gov.sg/pr/read_content.asp?View,11626, Full Report in Comments)
Over the weekend, we learn that HIV treatments are NOT going to be subsidized. They can now be funded by Medifund.
(Offering subsidies for all patients could “open a floodgate”, he noted. While previous media reports pointed to the ministry subsidising HIV medication, MOH told MediaCorp on Friday: “Minister Khaw Boon Wan and MOH did not commit in 2008 to subsidising HIV medication.” “Our stand in 2008 was that HIV should be considered like any other chronic disease when evaluating the suitability of providing subsidies for medications.” “MOH has chosen to use the Medifund route to more flexibly help HIV patients with their bills, including that for anti-retroviral drugs if needed. Doing so allows available funds to be focused to provide appropriate amounts of assistance to the most deserving cases.” http://www.todayonline.com/Print/Singapore/EDC100116-0000124/Medifund-to-help-needy-Sporeans-who-require-HIV-treatment )
This means that you still have to fork out ~$1200 of your salary each month for HIV treatments. That’s if you keep your job, because there are no laws protecting your job. It means that this (http://mathialee.wordpress.com/2008/11/11/living-with-hiv-in-singapore/ ) could still be your life. When you get to a desperately poor stage however, you can now use Medifund. Or you can still go to Thailand to get 3-months supply at a time for $100-200 at anytime.
What’s my point? What can you do?.
My point is that, please, just NEVER have unprotected sex. ALWAYS use a condom. Condoms are 99% protective, when used 100% of the time, correctly.
Please remember, HIV is NOT like other Chronic Diseases (and will NOT be treated as one, in terms of subsidies too).
One cigarette won’t give you lung cancer. One fatty MacDonald’s meal won’t give you a heart attack. One huge glass of coke won’t give you diabetes. You have to screw up again and again, over years and years, by smoking and eating/drinking unhealthily.
But HIV is different.
You can do the right thing 99.9% of the time. Use a condom 99% of the time. Be faithful 99% of the time. Probably even abstain 99% of the time.
But just one slip-up. One mistake. One moment of carelessness when you were drunk.
Just ONCE. And that’s enough. HIV infection is not something you accumulate through years of casual unsafe sex. It’s something you get in a single sex session.
And for that you pay. You pay with your health, your dignity, and your finances.
While the guy next door who ate char kway teow for 50 years and now has a stroke lies in the C class ward with loads of subsidies and sympathy.
Life is not fair. The world is not fair. People are not fair.
So don’t let yourself down. You’re the only one who can take care of yourself. Please stay safe, always use a condom (yes, 1 condom, not 2) .
( I would love to ask you to help spread this message. However, be warned: there will be people who will accuse you of encouraging homosexuality or a gay lifestyle or immorality. Since male homosexuality is against the law, you may be accused of abetting a criminal act. You may lose your friends.)
( Sources: WHO Best Practices publication “HIV and Men who have Sex with Men in Asia and the Pacific”.
-J Infect. 2006 Oct;53(4):255-9. Epub 2005 Dec 27.
-AIDS. 2000 Dec 1;14(17):2731-40.
- MOH http://www.moh.gov.sg/mohcorp/statistics.aspx?id=246 )
I don’t like how the reporter used this phrase “And 7 in 10 cases involved young adults: Among those under age 20, two-thirds were female, while the opposite was true for those over 20. ” http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/1030606/1/.html
Rise of STIs “especially alarming”, says Health Minister
It reinforces the mistaken believe that teenagers are responsible for most cases, where actually teens make up about 1/10 of cases only only. “Young adults” in health-speak, refer to the 20-40s, who are indeed the bulk of STI patients (7/10 cases) . (rough classification: below 20 children/adolescents, 20-40 young adults, 40-60 middle age, 60-80 young-elderly, 80 on old-elderly. Older adults in general refer to the post-50 or 60)
This mistaken belief that teens make up 7/10 cases fuels the public pressure for emphasizing abstinence FROM SEX in sex ed. Abstinence is possible perhaps for most teens, but once they get into their 20s and 30s, it borders on the ridiculous. But education is for LIFE , not for NOW
If people understood the situation, they’ll realise sex ed should be about how to have sex healthily, so that when they are post-20 adults and engaging, they can take care of themselves. Teens who are taught to not have any sex, and are not given enough info, will get to their 20s and 30s engaging in behaviors they believe are healthy, but are in fact not. (eg. using 2 layers of condoms are actually very dangerous, and not safer than just 1)
Singapore’s public health messages to the public focus on “Abstinence from CASUAL sex”, not “Abstinence” per se, ( http://www.hpb.gov.sg/aids/page3.htm ) which is a far more practical advice we need to educate teens with.
(This article is reproduced from sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2009/1210/1?etoc.
Sox9′s the gene I’m working on in mice embryos for my thesis, btw ; ) )
Sex change. A normal mouse ovary (left), and one lacking Foxl2.
Credit: © M. Treier/EMBL
A Delicate Balance of Sexual Identity
By Gretchen Vogel
ScienceNOW Daily News
10 December 2009
The difference between male and female is smaller than one might think–at least on a cellular level. Researchers have found that they can change ovary cells into testicular cells in mice by turning off a single gene. The discovery provides new insights into the evolution of sex differences, and it may help doctors better understand sexual identity disorders and why some women go through early menopause.Scientists knew that the gene responsible for the fate switch, called Foxl2, was important to ovarian cells. But experiments with the gene had led to confusing results, says developmental biologist Mathias Treier of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany. Female mice lacking the gene developed perfectly normal ovaries. After birth, however, the animals’ ovaries started to deteriorate. But it was not clear what was going wrong.
To learn more, Treier and his colleagues genetically engineered a mouse in which they could selectively turn off the Foxl2 gene in adult ovaries. With the gene inactive, a dramatic change took place in the female mice. Within 3 weeks, their ovaries were full of tubelike structures usually found in testicle tissue. Upon closer inspection, the researchers found that the ovarian cells had become cellular cross-dressers, displaying all the characteristics of several types of testicle cells, some of which produced levels of testosterone typical of an adult male. (There were no sperm present, however.)
Foxl2, it seems, is part of a larger genetic pathway that controls the identity of cells in the ovaries and testis. The researchers found that the protein made by the gene suppresses the activity of another gene called Sox9, which prompts the development of testicular cells. When Foxl2 is turned off, Sox9 is free to take over–and turn the ovary cells into testis cells, the team reports in today’s issue of Cell. The work shows that the adult gonad has “remarkable plasticity,” says developmental biologist Andrew Sinclair of the University of Melbourne in Australia, who was not involved in the research.
During embryonic development, there are several mutually reinforcing gene pathways that keep an organism either male or female. Indeed, says developmental biologist Robin Lovell-Badge of the MRC National Institute for Medical Research in London, who worked with Treier on the study, there are so many overlapping mechanisms that keep the sexes developing in their own direction, “you would have thought that by the time you get to the adult, everything would be so hard-wired you couldn’t change it.” But the new work shows that by adulthood, the backup reinforcements are no longer active, so that a change in the levels of a single protein is enough to trigger a dramatic switch.
Mammals, fish, and birds have all evolved different systems of sex chromosomes that determine whether an organism is male or female, but the Foxl2 and Sox9 genes are conserved in all vertebrates. So Treier says that the yin-yang balance between the two is probably active in maintaining sex in a wide variety of animals. Several species of fish are known to be able to change their gender in adulthood, and Sinclair says the new results may explain how that happens. The pathway is also interesting for researchers studying early ovarian failure, which causes some women to undergo early menopause. And it may also help explain why some children develop sexual characteristics that don’t match their chromosomal gender.
Lovell-Badge says he and his colleagues are now looking for whether a similar genetic trick can change male cells into female cells. In any case, he says, the findings disprove the idea, long held by developmental biologists, that female characteristics are a default setting that is overwritten by male genes–a bit of gender equality at the cellular level.
I’ll like to hear the rationale for the following contradictions :
21 years old age limit for R(21) movies
21 yrs old age limit for voting
18 yr old age limit to drive
16 yr old age limit for killing someone or being killed in war (NS age limit)
(you can’t vote for the govt you want, even tho’ the govt who comes to power has the authority to send you to war to die)
16 yr old age limit for age of consent to sex
( i can’t understand how people think that we should not lower the R(21) movie age limit, should not let our 16 year olds learn about sex in sch, do not want our 16 year olds having sex, but shoud lower the 16 yr old age of consent)
16 yr old age limit for sentencing someone to death for drug crimes
14 yr old age limit for being given to marriage legally
(even tho’ they have no capacity to vote their govt, or to handle a R(21) movie, they can be allowed to make a lifetime commitment , and have kids at 15yr old??)
Explain this to me, someone, please!
We’re a country that accepts a defense of ”Don’t look at me, it’s not my fault, the child seduced me to have sex with her” on Pg 2 of its national newspapers.
“In an age when more teenagers below the legal age of 16 for consensual sex are having sex – sometimes with the under-aged girl initiating the act – are we indulging the girls by absolving them of responsibility for their actions?
Counsellors say that in cases where it is clear the girl is a willing party or even initiated the sex, they should bear part of the responsibility.
Some 310 girls under 16 were caught last year for engaging in consensual sex- a 44 per cent increase from 216 in 2007. In the first half of this year alone, the police recorded 37 cases of statutory rape involving minors below 14 who had consensual sex, up from 21 in the same period last year.
Mrs Chong Cheh Hoon, senior vice-president of Focus On The Family*, said: “Research has shown that for any juvenile crimes or sexual promiscuous behaviour, the chance of re-offence is higher when there is no or minimum therapeutic or intervening actions.” “
*Focus On The Family is a US-based fundamentalist group which promotes homophobia and abstinence-only education
Why is prosecuting the child for having consensual the stupidest proposal ever?
I had this dialogue on my Facebook page which i reproduce here:
OH! yeah, i get what u mean… tho sometimes I wonder if the child is at fault too… i recall hearing of a schoolmate in sec sch whose gf back then demanded alimony from her prev ex bf (she was like.. i dunno 15 or 16 back then?) we suspected they’d had sex n she was milking him for wat it’s worth on threat of reporting it to the cops or sth… n this was like.. more than 10 yrs ago…
But the whole purpose of the law making it illegal for an adult to have sex with a minor is based on the premise that the child does not have the capacity to consent. These people are not arguing to have the age limit lowered eg to 14 or 12 etc. They are arguing to prosecute the child. To prosecute someone is to presume that the individual has the capacity to consent/decide. Which totally contradicts the original law. Which is totally stupid, because you victimise the girl twice.
What’s being prosecuted now is simply, sex.
i dunno , cos if the kid is initiating sex… i’m really not quite sure what to make of her. heck! when i was tt age the only thing i was thinkin of was when my fav cartoon will be aired.. not bfs n sex!
Although I must admit adults having sex with kids is totally unacceptable. I know I’m contradicting myself somewhat.. but i really can’t wrap my mind around the whole idea of a young teenage girl initiating sex with an adult.. like… what the heck?
For an act to be justly labelled a crime, there must be someone harmed by that act. (Which is why euthanasia, suicide laws are so controversial). When a child initiates sex with an adult and gets to have sex, who is harmed? Is the adult? If I as a 30 yrs old initiates sex with a fellow 30 yrs old, and that person consents, is anyone harmed, and is there a crime? No. Because the law recognises that a 30 yr old has the capacity to consent and so there is no crime in consensual sex. Similarly, if a child initiates sex with an adult, the adult has capacity to consent and so is not harmed, but has to be reponsble for his/her decision. In fact under “Sexual grooming of minor under 16 Penal Code 376E.” , the INTENTION of obtaining sex from a minor is a criminal act.
On the other hand, when the child initiates and has sex with an adult, is the child harmed? That depends on whether this child has the capacity to consent. If we deem a 15 yr old incapable, then the child is harmed, and the adult is solely responsible and punishable. That’s the basis of statutory rape. If we deem a 15 yr old capable of consent, then it is law that we must change ie. by lowering the age of consent. We cannot punish the 15 yr old for a law we disagree with.
It simply makes no sense to punish a 15 yr old child for enforcing a law we have set.
I do agree that society should be opened and concerned enough to debate what we should set as the age of consent. I don’t believe that anyone would prosecute a 5yr old or an 8 yr old for initiating sex with an adult. So I don’t believe that anyone would want to do away with stat rape laws totally. We then need to decide where to draw the line. Can a 10 yr old consent? Can a 12 yr old consent? A 14yr old? A 15 yr old? A 17 yr old?
Currently the law recognises 2 lines. Sex with a girl/boy under 14yrs gets the rapist 8 – 20yrs in jail + 12 or more strokes. Sex with a girl/boy 15 and 16yrs gets the rapist up to 10yrs in jail. If we do not think the law is fair, then we need to give reason & campaign for its review.
We also need to decide at what age can a person be capable of being legally culpable under this law. If we say that a 16 yr old does not have capacity to consent, a 16 yr old should not be charged for the same law, male or female
The law also recognises this. If the “rapist” was below 21 yrs old, ignorance of age of the “victim” is a valid defense, but not if the rapist was above 21 yrs old.
Now if the adult actually PAYS the child for sex, then the age of consent is no longer 16yrs, but 18yrs, because commercial sex with a minor 18yrs and below carries a sentence of 2yrs + fine or both.
Reference: Singapore Penal Code 375, 376, 377D
if anyone reading finds that i’ve interpreted any aspect of the law wrongly, I’ll be happy to be corrected.
Quoting the relevant selections of the above Penal code reference:
375. —(1) Any man who penetrates the vagina of a woman with his penis —
(b) with or without her consent, when she is under 14 years of age,
shall be guilty of an offence.
(2) Subject to subsection (3), a man who is guilty of an offence under this section shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 20 years, and shall also be liable to fine or to caning.
Sexual assault by penetration
376. —(1) Any man (A) who —
(a) penetrates, with A’s penis, the anus or mouth of another person (B); or
(b) causes another man (B) to penetrate, with B’s penis, the anus or mouth of A,
shall be guilty of an offence if B did not consent to the penetration.
(2) Any person (A) who —
(a) sexually penetrates, with a part of A’s body (other than A’s penis) or anything else, the vagina or anus, as the case may be, of another person (B);
(b) causes a man (B) to penetrate, with B’s penis, the vagina, anus or mouth, as the case may be, of another person (C); or
(c) causes another person (B), to sexually penetrate, with a part of B’s body (other than B’s penis) or anything else, the vagina or anus, as the case may be, of any person including A or B,
shall be guilty of an offence if B did not consent to the penetration.
(3) Subject to subsection (4), a person who is guilty of an offence under this section shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 20 years, and shall also be liable to fine or to caning.
(4) Whoever —
(b) commits an offence under subsection (1) or (2) against a person (B) who is under 14 years of age,
shall be punished with imprisonment for a term of not less than 8 years and not more than 20 years and shall also be punished with caning with not less than 12 strokes.
Sexual penetration of minor under 16
376A. —(1) Any person (A) who —
(a) penetrates, with A’s penis, the vagina, anus or mouth, as the case may be, of a person under 16 years of age (B);
(b) sexually penetrates, with a part of A’s body (other than A’s penis) or anything else, the vagina or anus, as the case may be, of a person under 16 years of age (B);
(c) causes a man under 16 years of age (B) to penetrate, with B’s penis, the vagina, anus or mouth, as the case may be, of another person including A; or
(d) causes a person under 16 years of age (B) to sexually penetrate, with a part of B’s body (other than B’s penis) or anything else, the vagina or anus, as the case may be, of any person including A or B,
with or without B’s consent, shall be guilty of an offence.
(2) Subject to subsection (3), a person who is guilty of an offence under this section shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 10 years, or with fine, or with both.
(3) Whoever commits an offence under this section against a person (B) who is under 14 years of age shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 20 years, and shall also be liable to fine or to caning.
(4) No person shall be guilty of an offence under this section for an act of penetration against his or her spouse with the consent of that spouse.
Commercial sex with minor under 18
376B. —(1) Any person who obtains for consideration the sexual services of a person, who is under 18 years of age, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 7 years, or with fine, or with both.
(2) Any person who communicates with another person for the purpose of obtaining for consideration, the sexual services of a person who is under 18 years of age, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 2 years, or with fine, or with both.
Commercial sex with minor under 18 outside Singapore
376C. —(1) Any person, being a citizen or a permanent resident of Singapore, who does, outside Singapore, any act that would, if done in Singapore, constitute an offence under section 376B, shall be guilty of an offence.
(2) A person who is guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable to the same punishment to which he would have been liable had he been convicted of an offence under section 376B.
[NZ CA 1961, s. 144A]
Tour outside Singapore for commercial sex with minor under 18
376D. —(1) Any person who —
(a) makes or organises any travel arrangements for or on behalf of any other person with the intention of facilitating the commission by that other person of an offence under section 376C, whether or not such an offence is actually committed by that other person;
(b) transports any other person to a place outside Singapore with the intention of facilitating the commission by that other person of an offence under section 376C, whether or not such an offence is actually committed by that other person; or
(c) prints, publishes or distributes any information that is intended to promote conduct that would constitute an offence under section 376C, or to assist any other person to engage in such conduct,
shall be guilty of an offence.
(2) For the purposes of subsection (1)(c), the publication of information means publication of information by any means, whether by written, electronic, or other form of communication.
(3) A person who is guilty of an offence under this section shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 10 years, or with fine, or with both.
Sexual grooming of minor under 16
376E. —(1) Any person of or above the age of 21 years (A) shall be guilty of an offence if having met or communicated with another person (B) on 2 or more previous occasions —
(a) A intentionally meets B or travels with the intention of meeting B; and
(b) at the time of the acts referred to in paragraph (a) —
(i) A intends to do anything to or in respect of B, during or after the meeting, which if done will involve the commission by A of a relevant offence;
(ii) B is under 16 years of age; and
(iii) A does not reasonably believe that B is of or above the age of 16 years.
(2) In subsection (1), “relevant offence” means an offence under —
(a) section 354, 354A, 375, 376, 376A, 376B, 376F, 376G or 377A;
(b) section 7 of the Children and Young Persons Act (Cap. 38); or
(c) section 140(1) of the Women’s Charter (Cap. 353).
(3) For the purposes of this section, it is immaterial whether the 2 or more previous occasions of A having met or communicated with B referred to in subsection (1) took place in or outside Singapore.
(4) A person who is guilty of an offence under this section shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 3 years, or with fine, or with both.
[UK SOA 2003, s. 15]
Procurement of sexual activity with person with mental disability
376F. —(1) Any person (A) shall be guilty of an offence if —
[UK SOA 2003, ss. 78, 79; WC 1997 Ed., s. 12(3)]
Mistake as to age
377D. —(1) Subject to subsections (2) and (3) and notwithstanding anything in section 79, a reasonable mistake as to the age of a person shall not be a defence to any charge of an offence under section 376A(2), 376B or 376C.
(2) In the case of a person who at the time of the alleged offence was under 21 years of age, the presence of a reasonable mistaken belief that the minor, who is of the opposite sex, was of or above —
(a) the age of 16 years, shall be a valid defence to a charge of an offence under section 376A(2); or
(b) the age of 18 years, shall be a valid defence to a charge of an offence under section 376B or 376C.
(3) For the purposes of subsection (2), the defence under that subsection shall no longer be available if at the time of the offence, the person charged with that offence has previously been charged in court for an offence under section 376A, 376B, 376C or 376E, or section 7 of the Children and Young Persons Act (Cap. 38) or section 140(1)(i) of the Women’s Charter (Cap. 353).
[WC 1997 Ed., s. 140(4) and (5)]
I think our teacher molested us, over a period of 2 years, more than a decade ago when we were in Sec 3. We were a girls’ school, we didn’t know what to do about it then. Even now, I am not going to name any names, because I don’t want to have to defend myself in court. By naming names, they would have the right to sue me and summon me to court to substantiate my claims. I still don’t really know for sure if this was molest, I’ll just tell our story as it happened, and you be the judge.
We were an all girls’ school. The teacher taught us one of the Pure Science subjects in upper secondary for both years. He was a very engaging and interesting teacher, and so his students often did well because it was so easy to understand and enjoy his lessons.
As part of the practical (laboratory) lessons, we had to look down microscopes and perform dissections on flowers etc. The teacher would walk around the lab to check on us and make sure we were doing things the right way.
When he saw that a girl needed help, or if he needed to point out something about the way she did her experiment, he would stand behind her and stick his arm through the space between her body and her arm in order to guide her through the dissection/microscopy etc (seen the movie Ghost? Remember the pottery session? ). Back then, we sat on those high lab wooden stools, and our arms would be outstretched because they were busy doing the experiment on the table. As he stuck his hand through that very narrow gap, it would conveniently and unfailingly brush against her body.
After a few times of having these accidental brushes against my breasts, I learnt to do my experiments with my arms glued tightly to the sides of my body. Whenever I saw him coming, I’ll make sure I stood or moved aside, so that he had to stand beside me, and not behind me. But sometimes, I was so engrossed in the experiment, I forgot.
Another thing he liked to do was to share seats with students, especially the girls sitting along the middle aisle, and I was one of those girls. Those lab wooden stools were really small, the diameter of my 13-inch laptop. But because we had to lean forward to do the experiment, we often unconsciously sat on the edge of our stool — but the small size meant our butts took up half the stool. The teacher would be walking around, and then he would decide to share the seat with one of the girls sitting that way. The small size of the stool meant lots of body contact. But because everyone was sitting and paying attention, we felt very uncomfortable being the only one standing up.
After a few times of sharing my seat. I learnt to sit on my entire stool seat completely, lean forward and do my experiments with my arms glued to the sides of my body.
Because the lab was so huge, and because he liked doing demonstrations of experiments, he would often ask the entire class of 40 to crowd round the teacher’s bench at the front. After the demo, he would walk through the crowd with his hands outstretched to “push” his way through the crowd.
After a few times of having his hands “push” against my breasts (I don’t know how he can aim so accurately, not just once, but a few times! ) I learnt to fold my arms across my chest and make a lot of room for him the moment he looked like he was finishing with the demo.
The difficulty of reporting him – we were scared and confused
It was these sort of small things. Was it molest?
We talked about it amongst ourselves, even until today, more than 10 years later. We realized that not all, but only a handful of girls experienced this, but often, these girls experienced it repeatedly.
Back then, we spent so much time thinking of what we should/could do. He was a teacher of many many years, very well reputed, and popular amongst many previous batches of students. He was a figure of authority in the education field, and today, he still remains so. We were his last batch of students before he retired. We didn’t know if anyone would believe us at all. We were afraid of what the consequence might be if we were not believed. What if he found out we were trying to do something? We were an elite girls’ school, and we all wanted to move on to elite JCs, we didn’t dare to risk our grades and chances.
We also didn’t know if what he did could be considered molest, even though all of us affected ones were clearly disturbed by his actions. We didn’t want to be seen as ruining his reputation with some unfounded fears. So we continued to discuss what we ought to do.
Then one day, we heard that some girls from another class were going to report him, but that he got wind of it, and he scolded them severely. That confused us further. By the time we graduated, we had not come to a decision about what to do.
Years later, we one day read in the newspapers that he was charged with molesting a girl he was giving private tuition to. He was convicted for one year, a jail term which he served. None of us were surprised. Yet, today, he remains an authoritative figure in the field.
Why am I telling my story?
Because I need to tell you that these things happen in our schools and go unreported. And that it isn’t so simple and straight forward. The Instructors’ guide lists no such thing, but I always addressed sexual abuse in my classes. I wonder if any other educator does so, because I don’t have that chance to now.
Because some systems are so conducive for sexual abuse. Today I read about how thousands of Irish children were sexually abused. When the numbers go to thousands, you start examining the system rather than the criminal alone.
Because sex predators in Singapore can get away with it. Just 3 days ago I read this about Singapore
“HE WAS arrested for performing oral sex on a 6-year-old boy in a library toilet. After Chan Kok Weng, 29, was charged for the offence, he was sent for a psychiatric assessment. And that was when he made an explosive confession – he had been preying on young boys for about 15 years. Chan told Dr Stephen Phang, senior consultant psychiatrist at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH), that he had been a sexual predator since he was in Secondary Two. He would seek out primary schoolboys at public places and perform oral sex on them.Chan revealed to Dr Phang: ‘(I) always target young boys, less than 10 years old or 11 years old because it’s the easiest target. Most of them are Chinese… it’s easier to communicate with them’. He also said that he usually targeted ‘primary school boys because it’s easier to get trust from them.’”
While I don’t think it is for us to judge Chan because we don’t have full info, and he may be suffering from psychological issues, what I’ll have issues with is our society and support system here that allows criminal behaviour to go undetected for 15 years.
Because I can no longer talk to teen girls directly. Today I read this “For these reasons stated, we (MOE) will not be able to use AWARE until they have gained the public’s trust for their sexuality programmes.”
And I know how much that CSE class would have benefited me 10 years ago, if I had access to an external third-party who made it comfortable for me to tell my story, and whom I knew would have found a way to help us.
Because AWARE’s platform might not be available for now, but because I believe there are so many important messages that needs to get out to the teens, I have decided I will use my blog as the platform instead.
I will tell you more in my subsequent posts
I have heard so many stories in all these classes. Stories I believe all parents and society should know about. I don’t have the time to write everything tonight, but I do ask that you come back to read, because I will tell you what reality is like in my subsequent blog posts, what advice I give, and you can decide for yourselves what you want to do.
I ask that you don’t Shut Up and Sit Down, but please stand up for what you believe in, and spread the message.
I invite you to give your opinion
I’ll also like your opinion on my story — What we could have done? What can I do now? How can we prevent these things from happening? What should schools do? Teachers do? Parents do? Students do?
And if by fate and chance, you happen to be part of my story too, or have a story to tell, I would be honoured if you shared it with us in the comments, anonymously if you need to be, or privately : firstname.lastname@example.org .
So this is me making a stand right here. I have been a Bible-believing Christian for 25 years now. I want first to acknowledge fellow believers who, like me, are shocked, angered, and saddened by the takeover and feel that their faith has been hijacked and their views ignored. I know that a lot of such affected Christians are out there. There is also another group which may not agree with the new team’s tactics but admires its fervour or sympathises with it for the heat it has been getting.
But, most of all, I want to address a crucial third party: Christian women who have been encouraged to stand up and be counted for their beliefs. I wish to appeal to their good sense in these last hours. You may be one of these and have even joined, or are planning to join, AWARE to help swing the votes in favour of the new ex-co on Saturday. Especially if I am describing you, please read on!
Yes, there are times when a Christian needs to make a courageous stand – but, in every event, always ask yourself: For what cause is this? What context does it serve? The current scenario is not one where we are being asked what our beliefs on certain issues are or whether Christianity and homosexuality are compatible or we are being mocked or discriminated against. It is a simple context where a group of well-meaning Christians infiltrated a secular organisation in order to be in a position to dictate their own values in its daily running. In this light, what a Christian may feel about issues like homosexuality is besides the point!
As a secular body, AWARE rightly cannot have a vision that treats women from different backgrounds through the outlook of just one religious system. Indeed, I dare say that an appropriate Christian response is to resist the actions of these Christians. Just as God gave every person free choice and the opportunity to believe, we ought to support the sanctity of this right for others to make up their own minds and live their own lives. Just as we do not force the Christian faith down someone’s throat against his or her will, we should not take over a non-religious organisation for the single purpose of making others unlike us behave as we believe. To do this would be a gross misapplication of the message of Jesus.
If you support the new ex-co’s actions, be aware that you are sending a string of possibly irreversible wrong signals to every Singaporean. Consider carefully whether you are willing to shoulder the responsibility of damages that would affect the longstanding good work of Christians in Singapore. Since the government has chosen not to be involved in the matter so far, whatever happens will be seen clearly by all as the response of particular sectors of society.
Here is my short list of obvious implications:
 Support the new ex-co, and you are effectively saying that you condone its quasi-corporate act of infiltration, with related strategies of secrecy, disinformation, moral coercion, and fear-mongering. You are saying that you support its less-than-Christian covert moves more than traditionally Christian ones like dialogue, open engagement, honesty, and clarity.
 Support the new ex-co, and we will go down a slippery road with wide-ranging repercussions for all. Don’t believe for a moment that the manoeuvring will stop here. What this invites others to see is that infiltration is the most effective way for small groups of like-minded individuals to seize power quickly — and where will this end? What is to stop any religious or ideological group from doing the same to any social institution at every level? In the long run, who do you think loses?
 Support the new ex-co, and you potentially make light of the freedom that is God’s gift to every human being. Against your best intentions, you may send out instead the message that we Christians think that we know better than everyone else and that we are willing to outflank, overpower, and overwhelm if we do not get our way.
 Support the new ex-co, and, if they stay and behave as predicted, you will be directly responsible for undoing the trust that many Christians have taken years to build with their non-Christian friends. This is a trust built on mutual respect. You will have made the Gospel of Christ more difficult to hear for years to come because people will think that they know what it is about. You will have created a new generation of Christ-haters.
This matter, in short, is not to be treated lightly. Jesus tells us all to be “wise as serpents, and harmless as doves”. There are times to be passionate and helpful in a gungho way, but this is not the time. Christians can be wrong about many things too. So please, by all means, pray for the AWARE debacle to be resolved amicably and for Christians in AWARE, but do not, in the name of our common faith, go in blind support of other Christians because you are Christian!
Gwee Li Sui