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Monday, July 11, 2005

Sex in NTU

"Another unsettling element in modern art is that common symptom of immaturity, the dread of doing what has been done before." - Edith Wharton


I did a reverse search referral lookup for "ntu sex hostel" (sans quotes) and found this article. Its matter-of-fact tone tickled me to no end, and maybe its reading like a newspaper - sorry, The New Paper - article added to the mirth (must be students from Mass Comms writing this).

Somehow, despite someone's describing of the Nanyang Chronicle as an administration mouthpiece, I can't see a similar article being published in NUS.

Sex rules in halls

Students are convinced that hostel sex will continue despite school rules. Some feel NTU should address the problem of unsafe sex instead.

Rules against sex on campus are ineffective.

So expressed the 20 students involved in a straw poll conducted by The Chronicle.

On whether hostel regulations can prevent residents from having sex in the hostels, Benjamin Li, 21, a first-year student from the School of Communication and Information (SCI) said: “Come on, get real.

“Students will always find ways to cheat or get around the system. There are some things that can be controlled, while some regulations are just superficial,” the Hall 1 resident added.

While the NTU rulebook does not specifically forbid students from having sex on campus, students are discouraged from doing so through other indirect guidelines.

Hall rules state that students must leave the door and window blinds open if a member of the opposite sex is in the room. Also, no member of the opposite sex is allowed to stay beyond 11.00 p.m.

However, according to hostelites, many students do not heed these regulations. Some simply ignore the security officers who knock on their doors during routine patrols. Others wear their shoes into the rooms and lock the doors when they visit members of the opposite sex after official hours. This gives the impression that nobody is in.

Many felt that since they are above the legal age for sex, the university does not have the right to encroach on their freedom in this area.

“Since students treat halls like their homes, the school should respect us as young adults and not intrude on our privacy,” said Lim Beng Chuan, 20, a second-year Electrical and Electronic Engineering student.

But NTU is not going to change the rules any time soon.

Ms Angela Shang, Senior Assistant Director (Student Accommodation) of the Student Affairs Office (SAO), said: “The rules are there to help prevent situations of students being taken advantage of.” [Ed: Yeah, right!]

Still, more than half of the 20 students interviewed felt that it would be more effective and practical for the university to promote safe sex, given that university dormitories are well-known for their active sexual environment. This is in light of reports that have shown a threat of an AIDS epidemic breaking out among young and educated Singaporeans.

According to a survey conducted by SCI’s Nexus Research Centre in September 2003, one in six NTU undergraduates have engaged in pre-marital sex, but almost two-thirds did not consistently use protection, while a tenth used none at all.

Sarah Ong, 19, a first-year NIE student, said: “The school should face the fact that hostel sex is a reality. Instead of sweeping the matter under the carpet, they should promote safe sex and more importantly, abstinence.”

Regarding NTU’s official stand on sex on campus, Ms Shang said: “NTU has introduced an Honour Code and Pledge which looks upon university students as adults, encourages self-respect and trust, thereby expecting them to be responsible for themselves and their own behavior.”

The university currently promotes safe sex among NTU students by hosting related health talks and seminars by the Ministry of Health or Health Promotion Board. These events are coordinated by NTU’s Healthy Lifestyle Unit, and are held usually once or twice per semester. But responses to previous talks were only lukewarm.

A few students felt that selling condoms in NTU’s Nanyang Supermarket or through dispensing machines would be more effective.

“It is more convenient, and since there are condoms being sold in NUS, why not NTU?” said Tan Shengyang, 23, a final-year Computer Engineering student.

He was optimistic about students taking to the idea. “People may be embarrassed initially, but I think as time goes by, sales volume will definitely go up,” he said.

According to SAO, students can request for condoms directly from the Nanyang Supermarket or purchase them from shops in the vicinity when the need arises.

Other students thought that selling condoms on campus is tantamount to the school advocating premarital sex.

Sandra Wong, 19, a first-year Accountancy student, raised her eyebrows at the suggestion: “The school may be encouraging sexual activity by catering to the demand.

“Anyway in the first place, NTU is a place for studying, not sex.”

Though agreeing with that, Por Horng Woei, 24, a third-year Computer Engineering student, felt it is time for the school to address the hostel sex issue and promote safe sex by holding “awareness campaigns”.

But he also acknowledged that it is up to the students to be receptive to the school’s efforts.

Por said: “The school can do its part to educate students about what’s right, but ultimately, students are in charge of their own lives. They should know how to handle themselves as young adults and be responsible for their own actions.”

Also, NTU now has its own flower, the Dendrobium Nanyang. Take that, Premier Institution of Social Engineering!

[Addendum: Someone adds: "yeah you got it right, both of the students who wrote is from comm studies. but i don't think nanyang chron is really seen as an administration mouthpiece. it is the NTUSU tribune which is generally criticised to be the administration mouthpiece."]
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