Archive for the 'health and hiv' Category

Pope relents (a bit) on condoms, Burmese junta couldn’t care less about HIV

In extremely convoluted comments, Pope Benedict XVI is reported to have said condoms may be permissible in certain situations. This appears to be the first time a head of the Roman Catholic Church has varied the church’s long-standing opposition to condom use.

His comments were made in interviews for a book, excerpts from which were published by a Vatican newspaper over the weekend.

Continue reading ‘Pope relents (a bit) on condoms, Burmese junta couldn’t care less about HIV’

Cowboys in paradises

The four of them looked like they were two married couples. Like me, they had just come out of a screening of Amit Virmani’s documentary Cowboys in Paradise, whose subject matter was the beach boys of Kuta, Bali, and their relationships with female tourists.

“There were no Indian girls there,” remarked one of the two women in her recogniseably Indian accent to the rest of the group. “I guess Indian girls are too smart for all that.”

One of the men following behind — perhaps her husband — replied: “There are no Indian girls because the boys only go after  Westerners.”

Which was not true; the film clearly showed a number of Japanese women involved.

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Invisible obesity tax – addendum

This post is just a container to hold some additional information that appeared soon after the earlier post was uploaded, in case this information proves useful in future.

Thanks to commenter Fox pointing to a “temporary” page on the Health Promotion Board’s website, we have unearthed their revised guidelines, intended for public health action (below). Continue reading ‘Invisible obesity tax – addendum’

Invisible obesity tax

Rush hour. A huge crowd had built up at the foot of the escalator going up to the metro concourse. Almost all commuters honoured the “stand to your left” rule, allowing those who wished to walk the right-side lane. But in fact, the walkers could not walk anyway, because there was one commuter who was as wide as the escalator, and despite trying her best to keep to the left, she could not free up enough space beside her to allow others to pass.

On the train itself, there was one guy trying to contain himself within one seat, but he overflowed his own space so much that no one else chose to squeeze into what remained of the seat to his left.

Continue reading ‘Invisible obesity tax’

Farewell – Dr Balaji Sadasivan

This obituary by CSZhou:

27 Sept 2010: I came back from a meeting to find two messages from a couple of hours  ago this morning. I had just met him a few weeks ago, with his  beautiful wife and went over to shake his hand and wish him well. We  had not chatted in two years.

The gay community sometimes treated him as anti-gay but the little  time I have had with him I learnt that he was a man of much  magnanimity, a doctor to the end.

Continue reading ‘Farewell – Dr Balaji Sadasivan’

St Patrick’s patch 3: To do or not to do

Much of contemporary culture has gotten it wrong. Sex is not that connected with love. Sex is, foremost, pleasure, though I think it is also rather overrated even in that regard. Playing the piano can be more fun. Trust me, I’ve done both.

Too many adults tell enquiring teenagers that sex is something special and should be reserved for the one special person you love. Then when the teenager asks, What is love? the answer is “You’ll know it when you experience it.”

Continue reading ‘St Patrick’s patch 3: To do or not to do’

St Patrick’s patch 2: Pregnancy and infection risk

St Patrick’s patch 1 consisted of a matter-of-fact guide for choosing the right condom and using it. In this patch 2, I will discuss why using a male condom is important in penetrative sex. Since this article is aimed at teenagers, I figure I need to begin by explaining what I mean by “penetrative sex”. Actually, I may need to explain “sex” to start with.

In current adult usage, “sex” is any erotically arousing activity between two or more persons with at least one party in contact with the genitals of the other party. This contact can be genital to genital, mouth to genital, or even hand to genital. If neither party’s genitals come into play, e.g. deep kissing, it is generally not considered sex.

Continue reading ‘St Patrick’s patch 2: Pregnancy and infection risk’

St Patrick’s patch 1: How to use a condom

Straits Times, Saturday, 21 August 2010 carried this story with a large headline:

St Patrick’s objects to condom video

But HPB says removing it would affect integrity of sex ed programme

For two years, St Patrick’s School had been fighting with the Health Promotion Board (HPB) to have a segment of the board’s compulsory sexuality education programme modified.

The Catholic school had wanted a video on the use of condoms removed.

But the HPB, which developed the programme, Breaking Down Barriers, together with the Ministry of Education (MOE), had refused on the grounds that doing so would affect the ‘integrity of the programme’. Continue reading ‘St Patrick’s patch 1: How to use a condom’

Three clippings from last Saturday’s newspaper

“In search of the other story” was the headline for Saturday’s Insight section of the Straits Times (14 August 2010). It looked at the small phenomenon of “a flurry of books on Singapore’s left-wing movement of the 1950s and 1960s, ranging from personal memoirs to academic tomes.” Many of these books, published in the last 10 – 15 years, were authored by the actors of history themselves, such as Fong Chong Pik (also known as Fang Chuang Pi) and Said Zahari.

Academics interviewed by the newspaper for this story welcomed the trend. Constitutional law professor Kevin Tan was quoted as saying, “If you don’t write alternatives, you leave the space entirely to the state.” Tan is also the president of the Singapore Heritage Society.

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Bioethics through the lens of Human Rights

The Tenth World Congress on Bioethics was held in Singapore in the last week of July 2010. A major speech was given by Michael Kirby (right), a retired High Court judge from Australia. He was also a member of the International Bioethics Committee 1996 – 2005, and served as chair of the drafting group that prepared the first text of the International Bioethics Declaration.

Our local media gave scant space to this speech (below). When you read to the last quarter of it, you can guess why. Kirby locates the development of bioethics principles in human rights law, particularly the principle that every human being has inherent dignity and a right to autonomy, but he also trains the light on those who would use the Asian Values argument to undercut human rights. Continue reading ‘Bioethics through the lens of Human Rights’