By: Michael Han
Now I know why PAP minister should just stick to giving advice on economic policies and leave the birds and the bees to relationship consultants and trained counsellors. Maybe religious leaders would do a better job telling our millennial generation about love, sex and baby making.
Today, I read through the interview our beloved senior minister of state Ms Josephine Teo gave recently and I had a few “facepalm” moments.
The first facepalm moment came in fast and furious with this statement she made: “You do not need much space to have sex.”
That sex-within-confined-space remark was made against the backdrop of the Parenthood Priority Scheme.
You see, to qualify for the scheme, a first-time newly wed has to show that they are expecting or they have a child under 16.
When a member of public asked Ms Teo this, “But to have a child, some say they need to have a flat first,” she grabbed the issue by the gut and said flatly, “You do not need much space to have sex.”
Well, I guess that’s sex-on-the-go for you.
While I understand where she is coming from, I had to read that statement thrice to confirm that it actually came out from the mouth of a Member of Parliament in national print.
No doubt it is a feisty comeback, but trust me, it is not going to persuade the millennial couples to hit the haystack anytime soon. Not even by a long shot.
The second facepalm moment came in just as fast as I continued reading.
In the interview, Ms Teo compared how different cultures viewed marriage and sex.
Here is how she nonchalantly puts it. “In our case (Singapore), man meets woman, man falls in love with woman, man proposes to woman, they then plan the wedding and do the house.”
Well, all that seems proper, respectful and acceptable for our Asian culture as sex appears to come after the wedding – “plan the wedding and do the house” was the dead giveaway.
Ms Teo then continued: “In France, in the UK, in the Nordic countries, man meets woman, tonight they can make a baby already. They love each other. Both of them partly have their own family, so it is a matter of living in yours or living in mine, and they also don’t have to worry about marriage – that comes later.”
To be honest, this facepalm moment took a while to recover.
Did I hear (or read) it right? Did she say, “Tonight they can make a baby already”? Marriage comes later? Is she putting the reproductive sex wagon before the marriage horse? I don’t suppose the space in the wagon is large anyway.
You really have to understand what she was trying to say. Sadly, I don’t. It got lost in translation for me.
Maybe it’s just me. With three kids, I am not inclined towards claustrophobic lovemaking and Ms Teo lost me on the comparison part.
Alas, here is the third and last facepalm moment.
Further into the interview, Ms Teo took a stab at the gynaecological realm when she “urged women to have babies early as they would not know if they are fertile or not”. Seriously?
This was in fact her exact words: “You never really know that you’re not fertile until you try. Unfortunately, it is one of those things. There is no fertility indicator. As a woman you will know, if you have regular menstruation, okay, (there is a) likelihood. But maybe you have a major cyst and how would you know until you attempt to conceive, only to realise that you can’t?” Ouch…
She really lost me again on that “major cyst” part. Honestly, I don’t recall asking my wife this on our honeymoon night, “Dear, are you fertile?”
And I am quite sure discussing about “menstruation”, “cyst” and “fertility indicator” (or just thinking about them) on that wistful night would put a cold damper on our love hamper.
Lesson? I guess it is a good thing that Ms Teo is a minister, and not a wedding cum honeymoon planner.
If I am given a free hand to imagine our beloved senior minister of state playing the role of a wedding cum honeymoon planner for a millennial couple, I can picture this scenario.
It would be a no fuss, relatively straightforward affair. It would be planned to exact technocratic precision.
I can expect the usual wedding banquet, the well-groomed guests and the muted yam seng. All clockwork PAP-style.
Then, on the dot, just before twelve (23:59), the couple is mandated to have sex. It’s in the wedding program sheet and Ms Teo – all dressed in red and white – will set the clock for the nervy couple.
Time is money here and mother stork has no time for romance or childish tickles. The whole act would be done before the couple could say “cyst”.
Of course, I am just being silly. But I guess the difference is that I am fully aware of it.