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The ‘sex in small spaces’ comment was “meant as a private joke” – Josephine Teo

Her comment made in 2016 has stuck and Minister Teo said in an interview recently that she "should not have said" what she did. She also added that it was a lesson learnt for her

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Manpower Minister Josephine Teo has said that her infamous ‘sex in small spaces’ comment was “meant as a private joke” and that she should not have made the remark.

In 2016, Ms Teo asserted that Singaporeans don’t need to get a flat before having children and quipped: “You need a very small space to have sex.”

The comment stuck and remains one of Ms Teo’s most infamous statements to date. Singaporeans felt that the People’s Action Party (PAP) politician was speaking from an ivory tower and was making light of the struggles of ordinary citizens with her insensitive comment.

In a recent interview with the Straits Times published on Sunday (8 Sept), Ms Teo admitted that she “should not have said” what she did. The Minister said that the ‘sex in small spaces’ comment was “meant as a private joke.”

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Acknowledging that “nothing is really private anymore” as a Minister who is constantly in the public’s eye, Ms Teo said that the comment became a “lesson learnt” for her.

Calling herself a straight-talker, the ruling party parliamentarian added: “Some people don’t take very well to that. My husband is used to it, my friends are used to it, the people in my work sphere they are very used to it. It’s like that, I say (it).”

While she understands that her words are often of interest to the public since she is a politician, Ms Teo said that she reminds herself “to always take your job seriously but not take yourself too seriously.”

Perhaps alluding to the backlash against her infamous ‘sex in small spaces’ comment, Teo added that there is a point where one must “let it go”. She said:

“Sometimes what you say gets people excited for a variety of reasons. To say that you’re not bothered with it in the least bit cannot be the case, but you’ve got to, at some point, say, okay, let it go, and then refocus your energies back to the work.”

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