Here comes the English article of Sticky Rice Love!!
Hong Kong Youngsters Working to Break Sexual Taboos
“If my parents knew, they would kill me”
Annemarelle van Schayik, April 27, 2015 9:48am (updated)
“Hong Kong is a very traditional city. It will often say it is international, but really, it’s not,” complains 20 year-old Amy (not her real name), a Hong Kong Chinese literature student. “I used to think sex makes people have low morals, but when I went to college, I changed my opinion: it is better to have sexual experiences earlier. I no longer think sex is dirty. I also watch porn. If my parents knew they would punish me. Or think I’m not normal.”
Amy’s story is not uncommon. Sex education in many secondary schools in Hong Kong deals primarily with reproduction and venereal diseases. It seems most youngsters’ knowledge of sex comes from online forums and by talking to friends. Like Amy, many local youth feel that dialogue with older generations in Hong Kong leaves a lot to be desired: “We need more knowledge so that we can protect ourselves”, says a first year university student who attended all of two sex education classes during his time in secondary school.
Sex education in school is mostly an extended biology class, according to a 20 year-old nursing student. Students learn about reproduction, but not practical knowledge, such as how to use a condom. Talking to parents also makes youngsters feel awkward. The difficulty is predominantly attributed to Chinese culture.
The flaws in Hong Kong’s sex education surfaced in the early 2000s, and notably, in a 2008 public survey, conducted by the Social Work Department of the Chinese University of Hong Kong. The survey found that most respondents agreed that sex education was important but were uncertain how to go about teaching it.
The survey did conclude that families had a responsibility to teach their children about sex education, a task parents remain largely reluctant to take on. According to a 2011China Daily article, most parents believe that talking about sex only encourages students to have sex earlier.
But, that may finally be changing. Young Hong Kong adults are no longer learning about sex exclusively through their own experiences; they are also trying to help and educate the next generation.
Sticky Rice Love, an online forum acting as a platform for youngsters to discuss and understand sex, attempts to fill the existing gap. Started by Julia Sun, the site helps 12 to 25 year old youth make informed, sex-related decisions for themselves.
Julia believes the biggest problem is that people are not talking about sex. Her vision is to offer an equal platform, rather than a top-down approach, to sex. Sticky Rice Love does not claim to be community experts, nor does it advocate being sexually active. Rather, the platform encourages youth to be active by asking questions. Volunteers, as well as medical professionals, then answer those questions and engage in online conversation. It is through these conversations that deeper stories are uncovered.
“I once talked to a boy who asked if it was normal to make noise when ejaculating. After we talked for a while, I learned that he had physical disabilities and needed constant help. If you don’t talk to them, you don’t know these things.”
Sticky Rice Love is not just about sexual intercourse. It deals with all topics related to sex including culture, sexual orientation and gendered differences.
Julia has a group of volunteers who help her to improve the sexual health of Hong Kong youth. Julia says most of the volunteers are in university, and are more accepting and willing to understand differences. She is worried that many youngsters in Hong Kong learn about sex through watching Japanese adult movies and pornography, and that “they then use that as their sexual script.”
In Hong Kong, youngsters are becoming more open about sex, although they argue that the environment is still predominantly conservative. Some youngsters are luckier than others, and have parents who are more open. On the one hand, there is a 26 year-old man in a same-sex relationship whose parents know and are accepting of it. On the other hand, there is a Sticky Rice Love volunteer who advocates for sexual openness; but, her parents don’t know about her volunteering: “If my parents knew, they would kill me.”