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Monday, March 14, 2005

Back in Spore liao. :) And back from tuition, doing laundry, catching snippets of Desperate Housewives, checking mail, checking friends' blogs, checking other people's blogs, reading online comics, reading forums......

And finally I blog. Heh.

So anyway, a few notes about my short weekend first:

1. Travelling with DoE has resulted in a more eventful holiday than any I've ever had. On the way there, we get cheated by a bus operator, who promised us that the bus would appear at 1530. Instead, the driver apparently oversleeps and the bus leaves at 1700. Bleah.

2. Spent 2nd day walking around aimlessly, doing some shopping. Being an indecisive Piscean, my decision-making process is to let DoE name out a list of possible destinations, and then pick one at random for her to bring me to.

3. Went to a pet shop and glued my eyes at some of the most magnificent purebred cats I had ever seen. The popular one seemed to be a white Ragdoll, but I prefered the black, spunky Tortoiseshell, with its glossy blackish fur so hairy and soft I just wanted to hug it tight in my arms. Briefly entertained thoughts of PETA-like animal liberation but was withheld by DoE.

4. Met the Godfather. Or rather, the ENORMOUSLY magnificent persian [i think] that was being groomed in the store. And if you could see the look on his face, you'd know why I dubbed him the Godfather. Plus he's HUGE.

5. Distances are deceiving. DoE wanted to bring me to this nightmarket, which, while we were standing at the entrance of the mall, was "just behind that building" as she pointed to a nearby building, separated from us by the traffic-jammed road.

In order to get there, we crossed one busy highway, went around a construction site, through a kampung, over a drain, across railroad tracks, across another road, nearly getting our 2 foreign butts killed by some lorry, through a uptown neighbourhood, up a hill, down again, till we finally reached the place. I will never trust her on directions again.

But the market was sooo bustling with food and people. Clothes and toys sold there were uninteresting, but the food! Vegetables and fruits, strawberries and mushrooms from Cameron Highlands sold cheap, a strange, brown kiwi-like thing in a hard shell none of us knew the name for, fresh seafood lying in steel bowls and covered with ice, and a portable steamboat lorry stall, wafts of smoke floating up from the steamboats installed in it, and sticks of every kind of food sticking out.

And we go like, damn why did we have pizza for dinner?

Went back exhausted and sweaty.

6. The income divide there is strange. Upon exiting from the afore-mentioned kampung, we look up from the train tracks and we realise that the huge uptown mall, aimed at the upper middles, was barely separated from the wooden attap houses by a thin block of flats. So less than a kilometer away from where all these yuppies are paying $50 for bags and $20 for salt and pepper shakers, there are people living in rickety wooden attap houses, on dirt roads where chickens roamed and kids played.

Not only that, but the nightmarket, a huge bustling pasar malam full of cheap Roxy knockoff tees and open air vegetable and seafood sellers was plunked in the middle of a Holland-V-esque estate. And next to the market was another small suburban mall with the usual Starbucks and an organic food cafe and a shop selling expensive bottles of single malt whisky.

Makes one think, huh?

7. On the last day, we wake up early, but take our time, seeing as how DoE said, "Don't worry, the buses don't usually leave on time." when she saw me fret in my seat. Unfortunately, due to traffic jams, we arrive at the bus terminus late even by their standards, and end up having to buy tickets for a later bus. :p

I arrive back in Singapore just in time to postpone tuition by one hour, run through the customs, onto the MRT, onto a bus home, dumping my stuff in my room, [cleaned again by that cleaning lady. Hmph!] grabbing my tuition bag, and leaving again, back into the daily grind of life, into my usual work cycle so smoothly, that it seems almost as if I had never left, that all I had done over the weekend was but a dream I had after a really long nap.

Weird huh?

Anyway, lemme move onto another topic now:

Going through the blogs, there's apparently been some recent furore over the presence of homosexuality in Singapore. The opinion expressed in the Press has apparently been the usual government line of "Straight, monogamous lifestyles with no pre-marital sex is good" but the underground blogging community has been of the opinion that this is "Bleah!"

Hm, can one get any more succint than that?

Anyway, one thing that caught my eye was someone in some comments box in some website [or somewhere else] mentioning that sex ed was simply too physical in schools. Barring all kinky thoughts, the author was saying that the syllabus in schools focused too much on the physiological aspect of sex, rather than the emotional one.

Looking through my student's Pri 5 science textbook, I think this is very true. However, open as I am at teaching sex ed in schools, I still froze when my Pri 5 student took one look at the overly simplistic diagram they had in the text and asked me "So how does the sperm join up with the egg?"

Other than I'm a prudish coward, I also think that such questions should not be handled by a tuition teacher. I tell her to ask her mother.

I got the Part 2 of the story from her mother today. Her mother told me that the teacher had apparently gone through the topic in somewhat more detail than the text, and that her daughter now knew that sperm came from the penis and entered the egg in the vagina. Man I'm glad she got that cleared up without my help.

The teacher, however, did not go through the topic in too much detail, apparently. Because now her daughter refuses to bathe in the tub with her 8-year old brother, citing worries that his sperm might exit the penis, swim through the water in the tub to enter her 11 year old vagina and hence impregnate her.

Ok now I'm getting worried. [After I had a good laugh with the mother] Because although the topic of puberty [penis enlargements, menstruation and the works] had already been covered by the school, the connection between that and pregnancy has apparently NOT been. And if you don't talk openly with the students about that, then what's the point of even covering the topic at all?

You think primary school kids are too young to understand the full implications of sex? Then why introduce them to the penis and vagina at all? Why not wait till they're in secondary school when you can REALLY be open with them?

Because what I feel is that the currently text is much too shallow a representation of the full story of sex. Sex is not just about a boy shooting sperm into a girl, unwilling or not. With sex comes a whole range of conflicting emotions, driven by our hormones and our natural instinct to reproduce and our natural longings for affection and nurture. And if you're willing to teach the kids the different parts of the reproductive systems, why not at the same time tell them how they might feel about it come puberty, and how to deal with it? And at the same time assure them that it's natural to feel that way?

Instead we get these incomplete, half-done cartoons taught by teachers who are too embarrassed to tell the whole truth. Phwah!

Of course I speak too soon. Wait till I actually have to face a whole class of expectant faces and teach them this topic. Bleah.........

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