08 August 2005

New Levels of Kiasu-ism

Aug 8, 2005
Marriage no barrier to Aids
By Candice Zhu

IN HIS article 'No sex, no drugs - no danger of catching virus' (YouthInk, Aug 1), Elgin Toh said he was 'not worried about catching Aids. Not now, not ever'.

While I find his strong determination to stay on the straight and narrow laudable, I suspect he may be speaking prematurely.

It is dangerous and simplistic to see monogamy as the solution to the Aids problem. Though it is sensible to take precautions to prevent yourself from catching Aids, let's not forget that you may still contract the HIV virus from your partner or spouse.

The writer rightly points out that you can reduce the risk of contracting the virus by abstaining from sex and by saving it until you're married. And you can also insist that your spouse go for a blood test to determine if he is Aids-free. But how can you be absolutely certain he isn't having sex outside the relationship or marriage?

The fact is, we can take responsibility only for our own actions, not those of others. Can we trust our partner to be totally faithful in this age of instant gratification? Even the ideal husband has feet made of clay.

Seeing monogamy as the be-all and end-all may have the unfortunate effect of making us let down our guard and put us at risk .......

The writer is a fourth-year sociology student at the National University of Singapore.

There is a lot to be said for taking sensible precautions. There is not much to be said for being paranoid. Let's take a moment to recall that AIDS, despite all the publicity it gets, is statistically a rather insignificant cause of death in Singapore.

In 2004, the top 10 causes of death in Singapore (accounting for almost 90% of all deaths) were:

1. Cancer (27.1%)
2. Ischaemic Heart Disease (18.8%)
3. Pneumonia (14.1%)
4. Cerebrovascular Disease (9.8%)
5. Accidents, Poisoning & Violence (6.5%)
6. Other Heart Diseases (4.2%)
7. Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (3.1%)
8. Diabetes Mellitus (3.0%)
9. Nephritis, Nephrotic Syndrome & Nephrosis (1.6%)
10. Septicaemia (0.9%)

If you have specific reason to believe that your spouse is unfaithful, that's one thing. For most other married people, Mr Wang suggests that it probably does a lot more harm than good to constantly treat your spouse as you would a high-risk sex partner.

Your time and energy would probably be much better spent on other things. Like doing regular aerobic exercise three times weekly. Or checking your breasts or testicles for unusual lumps.

In life, there are always risks. You could jolly well decide to permanently abstain from sex ... then slip on the bathroom floor, hit your head and die (note the 5th most common cause of death in Singapore). Life is about managing risks sensibly. Not about hiding in a shell.

"Mr Wang is right again. I feel like a fool."


Heavenly Sword said...

Good post. Just a small comment on the title, Mr Wang: should it be 'kiasi-ism' instead of 'kiasu-ism' in this case?

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

Ahaahaa! You are a funny guy, Heavenly Sword - just like Mr Wang himself.

Heavenly Sword said...

Thanks, Mr Wang. I've learnt the art of being humorous by regularly visiting your blog...

singaporean said...

"Even the ideal husband has feet made of clay."

Wow... I dont think this is strictly kiasu-ism or kiasi-ism at work. Candice Zhu sounds like she is crying out for help!

Who is an ideal husband? Does she think she has met every single married man in the world and decided that even the best of them, has feet of clay? Notice she swung from spouse to husband here too, and all references to the unfaithful one are made with "he".

It sure sounds like she has first hand experience at being betrayed by a significant male figure, possibly a father or a elder brother, or brother-in-law and was left jaded by all concepts of male fidelity.

Or, perhaps she should examine the length of her ring finger compared to her index finger. Strict lesbians, even unfaithful ones, are least likely of all to catch AIDS. If AIDS is God's curse to homosexuality and infidelity, God seems to have taken an exception on a very specific group like He doesnt mind...

Agagooga said...

Re: Singaporean

AIDS kills over 10-20 years. Maybe that's why it hasn't come up yet. People underestimate some risks and overestimate others anyway.

Greg Chang said...

The good question to ask is how can it be that 14 percent of deaths are due to pneumonia. That just seems abnormally high. Also many people with AIDS do die from pneumonia. So the statistics might not reflect that.

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

Most of these people who died of pneumonia would be old folks who die of what we think of as "old age".

As you get older, your immune system just withers away slowly. Even if nothing else fails, you will just contract pneumonia from the assorted bacteria and viruses that are always all around us (and which normally would not bother younger, healthier individuals).