• Thu
  • Dec 18, 2014
  • Updated: 12:41pm
My Take
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 April, 2014, 3:46am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 April, 2014, 3:46am

Hong Kong schools get it all wrong on sex and dating

When it comes to sex and dating for our children, it's difficult to be rational and level-headed. Two pieces of news came to my attention recently and frankly, I was shocked. They came from the opposite poles of the cultural-political spectrum.

One concerns a certain headmaster at a Tuen Mun secondary school where dating has been banned. The other has to do with sex education at my children's international school.

According to Chung Fat-shing, the principal of Po On Commercial Association Wong Siu Ching Secondary School, "you may regret all your life" if you fall in love at the wrong time.

Technically I agree, but the wrong time does not necessarily mean the teen years. You can indeed fall in love, or at least get into a wrong relationship, at any time. So what Master Chung wrote is a bit of a non sequitur.

To prove his case, he wrote in a school publication that an old classmate of his fell in love in Form Seven, didn't get into university and made his girlfriend pregnant. Were all these causally related? It's not clear if they married, but Chung said they ended up with a broken family. I presume Chung is married and went to university. Perhaps he could have cited his own success as an example of when one should start dating.

On the other extreme, I was recently informed by sex education materials offered at my kids' school that as parents, my wife and I should praise masturbation and encourage it. The way a booklet puts it, we should "celebrate" - their word, not mine - when boys have their first masturbation experiences. Perhaps my wife and I should have bought champagne for the occasion, on the odd chance that our kid might inform us of the celebratory event.

Frankly, the liberal in me was shocked by the first news. The conservative in me was disconcerted by the second. I think it's cute for teenagers to date, hold hands and even kiss a bit. Going all the way - to me at any rate - is not advisable. But children will do what they do unless you monitor them all the time.

As for sex education, parents should obviously tell boys they won't go blind. But "celebrating" the act seems a bit excessive. Parental guidance is advised. Just knock and wait before you enter their rooms.

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This article is now closed to comments

BoueJaune
Celebrate?! The last thing a teenage boy would be to discuss his masturbation/sex life with his parents. Its normal, its natural, let it happen, don't make a fuss about it.
alexloscmp
We did try a local school, an "elite" one no less. My kid stayed up till 11pm doing homework every night in Primary 1. That meant my wife had to stay up with him. When I got back home at night from work, they would still be at it. We just got tired of mobilising the entire family every time there was an exam. Given the man-hours we saved as a whole family, we rather have both kids at an international school. It's far more expensive but still, time is money.
Alex Lo
420mao
We always confuse moderisation with westernization. 30 years ago talk to any parent about divorce and they will tell you that is what crazy white people do in the west. And the Asians who were getting divorced 30 years back were just idiots trying tro be white. Thee same goes with womans liberty, child abuse, etc Ask any parent today and they will tell you something different.
What we consider absurd today will only be considered acceptable 20 years down the line.
Look at Californai today, who would even imagine marijuana would be legalized. Times are changing....keep up with it or just become a dinasour.
pslhk
Sex is about a person’s most sensitive, personal and human domain
where children need respect and room for development
the least intrusion the better
-
“parents should praise masturbation and encourage it”?
Can we understand that as the international standard?
What if the children who learn from their parents
how to cycle and swim ask for demonstration.
which school is that?
-
An alum, a HK guy, got for his graduation present
money and tips from his father about where and how
to learn the tricks in a Japanese wholehouse
I can’t imagine “international” parents would give live demonstration
-
The moral of the principal of POCAWSCSS is fair
Then I’d also mention YKP, KSL, et al
people who took care of youthful matters early
then focused on businesses and showed the world the possibilities
-
I notice AL’s exercise
of questionable journalist prerogative
that while mentioning two schools
he named one but kept the other
“my kids’ school” anonymous
-
For meaningful and practical discussions
for beneficial development of local education
we should like for a case study to have AL’s reasons
of sending his children to “international school”
given their parents’ local education background
John Adams
Alex - All too true, TOO true !
.
I think that the more open parents are about the Joys of Sex to their kids ( and also yet the dangers and consequences of sex at a too- early age ) the better. Tell it all and explain condoms ! .
.
,First love is very rarely last and life-lasting love
Now wait for the repartee in the comments columns....
.
Aaaaaaaaagh !
534626fa-58c0-4bbc-b68b-08d20a3209ca
a boy would be to discuss his masturbation/sex life with his parents. Its normal.
To meet sexy women,more than 40 years old join in- - - -
>>www.over50fish.com<<
infobug
I enjoy reading Alex Lo's articles on parenting and education as I find them both informative and humorous. On the issue of teenagers and the discovery of their sexuality I agree with the International's schools view but agree with Mr Lo that celebrating the momentous event is going a bit too far and I doubt that any teenager would wish to discuss this private and sensitive subject with their parents. The local school headmaster's view on dating is incorrect and outdated. A lot of famous and successful people have fallen in love at the wrong time in their lives and will continue to do so and evidently it hasn't ruined their careers. Although I do have a teenager myself and I hope that she will not fall so much in love as to lose sight of her goals but I cannot say whether she will fall in love at the right time. The right time is not within our control.
ssslmcs01
@BoueJaune
Exactly, I totally agree with the points you made.
mercedes2233
Whatever we may feel about what is a right or wrong time, a relationship during the teen and early twenties years is to be discouraged. At those times, young people are still too immature to form a life relationship, and not yet established to take up the responsibilities of a marriage. You don't want broken hearts or worse, an unhappy marriage. I agree that the Principal should warn the young people in his charge. They can indeed form friendships, but be aware not to proceed beyond that stage. Not yet.
Sex is a different matter. It is a physiological need and certainly a teenage curiosity. The western cultures probably have it right. Tolerate it, but make sure that the kids don't get pregnant! It is sad and unnecessary to oblige kids to get married just to be able to have sex. Where they do this is a problem, since so many homes are too small for them to have any privacy. And it would appear to be sordid to have them rent rooms for this purpose.
mercedes2233
Whatever we may feel about what is a right or wrong time, a relationship during the teen and early twenties years is to be discouraged. At those times, young people are still too immature to form a life relationship, and not yet established to take up the responsibilities of a marriage. You don't want broken hearts or worse, an unhappy marriage. I agree that the Principal should warn the young people in his charge. They can indeed form friendships, but be aware not to proceed beyond that stage. Not yet.
Sex is a different matter. It is a physiological need and certainly a teenage curiosity. The western cultures probably have it right. Tolerate it, but make sure that the kids don't get pregnant! It is sad and unnecessary to oblige kids to get married just to be able to have sex. Where they do this is a problem, since so many homes are too small for them to have any privacy. And it would appear to be sordid to have them rent rooms for this purpose.
tennis9090
Somehow, people who give advice on sex education think they are qualified to do so. Video segments of these so called educationers actually show their inadequacies on the subject matter while they exhibit a general lack of confidence as an "advisor" of any sort. At the same time, the intention of these people might be good in the first place, but they way they have chosen to express it is laughable at best (as depicted in the two examples given here). When it comes to sex, what is acceptable to one could be criminally wrong for another.
johnyuan
I am glad that AL is courageously to talk about still a social taboo in public about sex. No less pertain to his kids. Besides it comes with the job as a columnist, his focus on the subject finds no parallel among his colleagues here or abroad.
.
Human is continuing in an evolution chain. I believe whatever perception of sex is not going to stand still. The parents’ or grandparents’ way looking at sex is bound to follow the human evolution. May be we all should leave the door open when a sex ‘problem’ happens at home. Have a conversation (discussion).
.
I dismiss dating even as a topic to discuss. Puppy love has been part of human history for a long time. I still remember my preferred playmate MiMi in my kindergarten.
chaz_hen
This is what has become of a society that has reached a comfort level where people have nothing better to do than write about "celebrating" a "da fei ji" rather than scrabble for a living. Surely it was written by a Berkeley elite who also advised Zuckerberg to offer 50 different sexual orientation choices for one's personal Facebook identity.
420mao
Bare Back al the way baby....
johnyuan
I really can’t understand parents in Hong Kong pressuring their children academically only to send them abroad later. The fact is that what is learned claiming to be fundamental can be fulfilled when one is more grown in college. Of course I don’t believe there are parents honing these kids to become a civil servant or LKS. Afterall, no use for what acquired.
.
Yes, put your kids through the grind in a local elite school if you think being a civil servant is the most worthy endeavor in one’s life. When there is no alternative among local schools, international schools is the right choice by any intelligent and affordable parents -- more doors are open. Look for a school not a life long security blanket.
shouken
So the primary difference between an "elite" local school and an "international" school is that the latter's got less workload and better English classes, aside from the price differential?
 
 
 
 
 

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