Martin scores small victory for Valentine's Day

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 12 February, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 12 February, 2000, 12:00am

Valentine's Day is almost here, so flower and card sellers are aglow with satisfaction.

Unfortunately, they're about the only ones who are.

Lai See has some disturbing news for you. It seems we are living in the most erotically challenged place on Earth.

This came to light on Thursday, when Roper Starch Worldwide released the results of an international survey on sexual satisfaction.

Guess who limped in last? In the rest of the world, an average of one in five people (19 per cent) polled said they were 'very happy' with their sex lives, according to the survey conducted among 20,000 adults in 19 countries. Venezuelans were the happiest, at 46 per cent.

But Hong Kong's 'very happy' came dead last, with an appalling 5 per cent. The mainland, which was surveyed separately, almost doubled that with 9 per cent.

Meanwhile, the Durex survey continues to make its annual proclamations that Hong Kongers are the worst lovers in the world.

Which would tend to explain the results of this latest survey.

A very unsatisfactory state of affairs. A pretty unsatisfactory state of marriages, too.

But what can we do about it? Who can save us from the sexual abyss? Lai See knows who.

Martin. True he's only a fictional character, and an unlikely antidote to the sexual malaise of an entire city.

But we believe Martin represents the crest of a wave of sexual openness destined to crash through the bedrooms of the nation.

His is the story of one person's quest for love in the face of a huge obstacle.

Hmm. Better make that a small obstacle. The story focuses on Martin's obsessive concern about the size of his manhood.

Make that 'boyhood'. Martin is only 10 years old. His trials and tribulations came to us, courtesy of the Hong Kong Arts Centre, on the pages of a book on display at a children's fair.

The centre was hosting the 'Books Open Worlds' show, featuring children's works from more than 40 countries.

Martin's story was there representing France, and was entitled 'Petit Zizi'. That's French for 'Little . . . um, Crucial-Bit-of-Male-Anatomy'.

The tale begins in the swimming pool locker room, where the object of Martin's shame and worry is revealed before his peers. A two-page picture spread shows a naked Martin being taunted by his classmates.

Our hero is clearly in great distress. His head (unlike the rest of him) is hung.

Soon afterwards, Martin has a heart-to-heart talk with his love interest, a lass by the name of Anais. He asks her whether she wants to have children.

At least 10 of them, she enthuses, eyes raised heavenward.

This tall order has Martin fretting anew over his limited proportions.

In the next scene, our little hero's male classmates decide that it's time the lovely Anais was assigned a boyfriend. Naturally, the boy who can urinate the furthest should get the girl.

So they decide to hold a competition.

Seeing his big chance, Martin sets about practising. He plants a red flag on his lawn, and keeps drinking water and perfecting his arc until at last the stream reaches its goal.

Tragically, when the day of the contest arrives, his 'little zizi' fails to reproduce this feat.

The class bully triumphs and swaggers up to Anais to inform her of his appointment as her boyfriend. But despite the winner's impressive display of urinary virility, Anais rejects him . . . and chooses Martin instead.

The love story closes with a picture of the happy couple, hand in hand.

Beneath this is the moral of the story: 'Love does not depend on a small or large zizi.' Aaw. Kind of brings a tear to your eye, doesn't it? And just in time for Valentine's Day.

Lai See naturally applauds Hong Kong's about-face on the sexual censorship front.

It's about time some sort of action was taken over the SAR's poor performance in surveys and bedrooms. Unfortunately, not everyone appreciates Martin's presence here.

Douglas St Dennis found that out when he set up a Web site to gauge public opinion on the 'Petit Zizi' issue.

'There should be more Government agencies who have the foresight and intelligence to show children that there is more than one view of the world we live in,' he says on his home page.

'I sincerely hope that 'Petit Zizi' indicates a trend in thinking in Hong Kong, as far as cultural tolerance and education is concerned.' The site concludes with a poll asking site visitors whether they think this book makes appropriate reading for 10-year-old children.

The majority felt that it was 'appropriate elsewhere, but NOT in Hong Kong'.

Hmf. We bet all those sated Venezuelans wouldn't have had a problem with it.

Still, the book's very presence here shows that the powers-that-be are turning all laid-back and liberal, so perhaps public opinion will eventually follow.

Meanwhile, Lai See would have liked to wish all you lovers out there a satisfying happy Valentine's Day.

But let's face it. The odds are against you.