Everything Else

The Great Big Sex Issue

Somewhere on this sunny, little island lives a cluster of repressed and uptight Singaporeans.

They frown at anything that is deviant from their Confucian and Chinese upbringing, shake their heads at the sort of music and media that the younger generation at indulging in and believe that they are right in whatever they say and do because they have eaten more salt than the rice consumed by youths (a typical Chinese saying).

This morning, I read, with an equal mix of incredulity and amusement, a forum letter in the Straits Times, in which the writer questioned the decision to air Sex and the City.

“In almost every episode of the popular TV programme Sex And The City, sexual behaviour such as oral sex is portrayed as permissible and acceptable, in public or private.

Since unnatural sex is still illegal in Singapore, why does the censor permit the screening of Sex And The City which advocates such questionable behaviour?”

The writer must have been living in the dark ages.

The debate regarding Sex and the City has been voraciously argued and regurgitated many times before. There will always be those who support the show and detractors who think that it is immoral and hence, not suitable for television. The Censorship Review Committee subsequently decided that in order to facilitate an open society, shows like SATC should be shown. Citizens should not be molly-coddled and should have the right to decide what they want to watch.

Quite rightly so, too.
The writer, by dismissing the show in such offhand manner, has totally missed the point.

Firstly, SATC does not advocate sexual behaviour. It is merely reflecting the lives of cosmopolitan women living in New York City. I am wondering if the writer would have been so offended had the show been about four men leading the lives of debauchery.

Secondly, the themes underlying SATC is more than just sex, sex, sex. It is about love, life and friendship. It examines issues like marriage, old age, death, illnesses among many others.

Thirdly, the show is aired at 10.30pm on a weekday night, on cable television. Not all Singaporeans have the luxury of a television and not all television-watchers have cable. If the writer is offended by it, he can simply not watch it. If he is afraid that children might be exposed to it, then isn’t the onus on their parents to make sure that their children are not up at 10.30pm on a weekday night watching cable television? Just because he does not think it suitable for him does not mean that it is not suitable for the rest of Singaporean adults.

Already, we have to be contented with what little ground the Government has ceded us. While SATC is allowed to be aired, this decision came with many restrictions. It can be frustrating to watch the show sometimes because of the censoring of nudity (even scenes of breast-feeding has been snipped) and vulgarities.

Come on, get a grip.
This is the 21st century, not the 18th.
A little sex won’t kill us or transform us into amoral nymphomaniacs who are getting it on every minute of the day, in every location possible.

On second thought, maybe the latter won’t be such a bad idea, what with low birth rates and all. Hmm.