FAQs on sexuality: Medical perspective must be objective

Tuesday, Feb 18, 2014
The Straits Times

SINGAPORE - Like some other Forum writers, Mr Darius Lee ("Answers contradict MOE's stand"; Tuesday) has misconstrued the intent and purpose of the Health Promotion Board's (HPB) Frequently Asked Questions on sexuality.

Yes, the sexuality education programme in schools must reflect Singaporean mainstream views and values, where the social norm comprises the heterosexual family unit.

Nobody can deny that the ambient social and educational atmosphere here is conducive to marriage and procreation.

The citizenry is constantly exhorted to get married early and to reproduce, with generous incentives dangled before all to do so.

But science is science, and medical perspective must be objective and not run contrary to the facts.

In other words, science is a neutral, secular stance that is independent of moralistic leanings or religious prejudice.

For example, when the HPB advocates safe sex using condoms, it is not encouraging sexual promiscuity. It is just adopting a view that has been proven scientifically to best prevent the harmful consequences of unprotected sex, religious sensitivities notwithstanding.

Similarly, for unwanted pregnancies, doctors would suggest termination of the process as early as possible after counselling.

It is a plan of action that best protects the health of the patient and is totally unrelated to the complicated moral, philosophical, metaphysical or religious issues that the topic of abortion evokes.

The homosexuality issue is not going to go away any time soon just because we choose to ignore it. Like Action for Aids Singapore president Roy Chan ("Info must remain intact"; Tuesday), I agree that the HPB should be commended for taking the bull by the horns and addressing the issue succinctly from the medical perspective.

Yik Keng Yeong (Dr)

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