Sex education is an extremely taboo issue in the very Islam-conscious nation of Brunei. However a recent Borneo Bulletin headline “Teen mums worrying trend” (mirror), had kicked off some interest in the blogging circles. The bloggers feel that maybe it is high time for schools to start incorporating sex education into the curriculum.
Pre-marital sex (zina) is against the tenets of Islam and committing such an act would be enormously sinful. Therefore, many still believe that zina does not happen in the country, or at least not to a significant level. The commonplace idea is that, those who are not married typically abstain from having sexual relations.
However, that is not necessarily so. Jack from the Old Man's blog pointed out that we are “deluding” our naive selves if we believe that no one in Brunei practices pre-marital sex.
I find it sad that in Brunei, we still delude ourselves in thinking that Bruneians don't do these things. That only married couples have sex. We find it hard to accept that sex among teenagers are commonplace.
Jack argues that instead of just being blind to this fact, we should act upon it by educating the teenagers and equipping them with enough knowledge so that they could hopefully make real educated decisions about their own sex life rather than acting upon their instincts and curiosities without knowing of the consequences of their actions.
Of course, it is difficult to actually carry out sex education in schools because the Ministry, as fellow Muslims, they would not want to be seen endorsing and encouraging teens to experiment with sex. However, on the other hand, they are very concerned of the steep rise in babies born outside of marriage, which is also closely linked to another social problem – unwanted babies found in random thrash cans.
Allydee presented the argument eloquently in her blog:
On one hand, we're in a Muslim country and talking abt sex is a bit taboo. On the other hand, we can't ignore it given the fact that pre-marital sex is an ongoing issue in Brunei which leads to teen pregnancies which may lead to abortion or abandoned babies – it's a cause-and-effect. So in order to reduce the effects (teen pregnancies, abortion, abandoned babies) we need to address the cause (pre-marital sex).
LSM from Our Local Style understands the dilemma associated with this,
On one side you’ve got champions of morality and religious fervour who believe that sex education should not include information on contraceptives because such talk will only tempt youths into trying things for themselves. On the other extreme are those who push for better availability and understanding of contraceptives, as short-term a solution it may be, because it is far more desirable than seeing unwanted babies born.
However, the blogger proposed an alternative solution to this problem:
I propose that Brunei bloggers start championing sex education. I know a number of you guys are teachers (or teachers-to-be) and what better way to affect a change in the local education system than by answering a call for public opinion? Blog about sex education, tell us your story, post facts and myths about contraceptives, whatever.
So I kicked off the first post in answer to LSM's proposal and received positive comments regarding the issue. The discussion ranged from enforcement of abstinence by religious instructions to making students wear pregnant suits to teach them about responsibility and the risk of contracting ever rampant STDs.
It is not in our interests as bloggers to introduce sex ed posts to encourage teens to have sex. On the contrary, it is our humble hope that we can help to illustrate the huge responsibility that comes with having pre-marital sex, and also to point out the reality of some of the consequences that they might experience: STDs, teen pregnancies and in the worst case scenario- poor helpless abandoned babies.
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