Friday, December 02, 2005

Squeeze the Bubble

The Chinese government has taken this year's World Aids Day seriously. Most newspapers had extensive coverage of events marking that day before, on and after Dec 1st.

In today's Oriental Morning Post (a Shanghai newspaper), reportage ranged from a new AIDS-themed restaurant that gives out condoms to diners, junior high students volunteering to educate their peers, Fudan University students hosting a debate on whether SQ (Sex Quotient, a new term invented by these students after IQ) can help prevent AIDS transmission, to condom use being more effective than abstinence in combatting AIDS.

My personal favorite, which is also the most prominent article on the AIDS page - High School Freshmen Hears Detailed Instruction on How to Use Condoms to Prevent AIDS.

The article started by quoting the teacher: "There's a small bubble on the tip of the condom. You have to squeeze out the air before use." More quotes: "Open it, push it... Make sure it covers the root (of we-know-what)". The class was the first of its kind to receive the instruction in Shanghai. But the paper reported that "according to stipulations from the Education Ministry, all high schools in Shanghai will be taught how to prevent AIDS, including how to use condoms properly." I wonder if the stipulation applies to all of China.

One of the experts was quoted expressing regret that parents had to be sent letters assuring them that the classes do not encourage teen sex. He said that the parents' worries are unnecessary, and that "the promotion of condom use is normal in developed countries". I don't know much about how they teach American highschoolers safe sex. But I did read about the religious rights, including George Bush, clamour for abstinence rather than condoms.

Time has indeed changed. When I was a highschool freshman in 1987 (was it that long ago?), we had to read the chapter of Human Reproductive System in silence in class, under the stern supervision of our Human Physiology teacher. Now China is quickly catching up with the world. Maybe soon we will also surprass the world, including in condom consumption.


rachel said...

funny you should mention world aids day, i just saw it on the front page of some news paper. didn't expect it to make front page news.

Beijing Loafer said...

I feel that the government is now treating AIDS education as a political movement and is mobilizing all propaganda machineries. It’s great that AIDS awareness is now on the priority list of the government. But it also speaks to the defect of the system – that if an issue is not being treated as a mass political movement, nothing would get done. Like traffic. Like pollution. Like corruption. Like explosions in mines that kill hundreds each time.