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Sex in the Lion City

WARNING: This post is not for virgins, saints and those who still think DIY is about being handy with tools.

Lianhe Zaobao has stolen the march on me, by labelling 2012 the Year of Lust. I prefer to call it the Year of Sex. That’s because lust is such a very “lusty’’ term, all negative. Sex, on the other hand, is neutral and has its good, bad and ugly sides. So yes, the year is ending with a bang. Reading the newspapers these days, we’re getting a lot of bang for our buck. Pun intended.

Here goes:

Sex and politics: A heady mix and guaranteed newspaper bestseller. Michael Palmer follows in the footsteps of Yaw Shin Leong, proving that whatever the colour of your party uniform, you’re still, well, a man. You’ve got to hand it to the PAP. It went into swift damage control with a strategy that says: He did it, he apologised, he’s quit, let’s move on. Except that while the media can be managed, the same can’t be said for public opinion, coffeeshop talk and internet chatter.

The good: Yaw Shin Leong’s indiscretions led to the first by-election in a long-time. It even led to questions about whether the constitution gives the PM the unfettered discretion on when to call one. The courts got involved and said yes. But the gates have been opened. Public opinion is simply this: We want an elected representative, someone we picked – not a stand-in. In the Yaw case, it was good that democracy ground on in Hougang. Good for the people, and good for the PAP too since it took back the ward. It must have congratulated itself. A by-election in Punggol East would also be good for the people, no matter which party takes the helm, I contend. PM said there were big things we have to discuss like the Population Report and the Singapore Conversation. Here’s something to chew on: The conversation in Singapore now is about the by-election, and I don’t think there would be very many people who would say the Punggol  East constituents don’t need a BE. The G should heed this particular conversation or risk people wondering if the bigger national one will fall on deaf ears.

The bad: Are we getting too stuffy as a people? Are we asking too much of our politicians – that they must have brains, spirit of service, sacrifice money-making, family time – and must be whiter than what?  Neither men seemed to have been involved in an abuse of power, sexual harassment or a sex for favours situation. They are not Italy’s Berlusconi and definitely more modest than the French. Nor do I think that their affairs affected their political work. I mean, Yaw worked the Hougang ground for years and Palmer was said to be pretty good with people too.

The ugly: That extramarital affairs, which should be conducted under the covers, are even exposed.   In the pre-digital days, such liaisons could been kept under wraps, and privacy kept intact. A philanderer could have been quietly moved out of the public eye, citing family commitments or personal reasons. Now, everything is being aired. It smells.

Sex with strings attached: You know what I’m talking about : the CNB chief, the SCDF chief and the law professor. What connects them: positions of power, women, and supposedly favours done or asked for.

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The good: I really hope the courts get to the bottom of this phrase “corrupt intent’’.  If a civil servant engages in something with someone (not necessarily sex) that he might have a business connection with, does it count as him having “corrupt intent’’? Should the advice therefore be to have extramarital affairs with only those who are not connected to anything the civil servant does at all? Like engage in paid sex? The consensus appears to be that these transgressors might be morally corrupt but whether they are legally corrupt has yet to be settled. It would be good to have more clarity.

The bad: Did we just lose two good civil servants and an academic? I wonder why they had to be removed from their jobs when their guilt has yet to be proven. So is it still innocent while proven guilty a phrase that only applies in the court of law but not in human resource management? Also, while “favours’’ can be traced to the amount of money or contract size, it can’t be quite the case when it comes to grades, unless it is clear that an F student suddenly morphs into a genius.

The ugly: Yuck. Too much detail on when, where and even how it happened. As well as some strange exchanges on what is love and lust, friends with benefits or business transaction. No wonder the courtroom was always packed. It’s a ringside seat to action that should have stayed in the bedroom.

Minor sex: I am assuming that all those teachers/tutors who laid into their students didn’t bandy the carrot of an extra A or something in the exam transcripts of their young charges. Another case is coming up, another female teacher and a boy who might not even have hit puberty. Haven’t these teachers read Zoe Heller’s Notes on a Scandal or watched the movie version? It starred Cate Blanchett.

The good: So many teachers recruited over the years, one wonders if people with the right stuff are being brought in to educate our children. If anything, the high-profile of these cases would have deterred potential paedophiles and impressed on the rest the need to maintain a teacher-ly professional distance with the young people in their charge. This is probably hard to do since teaching is such an intimate profession – and we seem to want our teachers to even play surrogate fathers and mothers.

The bad: Related to the good. Overkill on the part of administrators who might want to police every aspect of a teacher’s life, including nights out on the town and Facebook postings.

The ugly: What can I say? A coupling between an adult and a child? Yeech.

Paid sex: We’re talking a certain family scion, a principal and a whole host of assorted males involved in an online vice ring that pimped out an underaged girl. Of course, there will be cries that no one could tell the girl’s age and how she was more mature than she looked etc. And that she should be punished too. The scales are weighted in favour of the minor, the girl and in fact, if you think about it, women.

The good: Oh man, you just have to be a lot more careful about who they pay to have sex with, just as I suppose, they are careful about hygiene in these Aids days.

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The bad: Too bad for the guys. They thought they’d be safe and they got found out.

The ugly: Let’s NOT make it ugly for them. Some would have served their time, paid their dues and don’t deserve to have their names dragged into the mud again. If their families can forgive them, so can the rest of us forget them.

No sex: The source of all our woes. We’re emotionless, said Gallup, and sexless, according to countless Durex surveys of the past. We’re not reproducing. Yet we are not happy that there are  so many foreigners here to grease the wheels of the economy (and bringing with them their strange ideas about industrial relations). We’re constantly hankering after more handouts to help bring up baby, with a flat thrown in and an all-expenses paid education…but we can’t even get past accepting dating vouchers. Since the Population Report is due out soon, I am going to suggest this again: What about making adoption easier for those for whom medical science has failed?

The good: Babies are cute. Family is good.

The bad: Asking for and giving money for reproduction purposes is crass.

The ugly: We are all going to grow old with no one to look after us if the baby black hole is not closed.

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An ex-journalist who can't get enough of the news after being in the business for 26 years

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