Published in The Malaysian Insider
Forget that when people think about sexual prowess, they don’t automatically think keropok lekor. Forget that the amount of Tongkat Ali additive available in health supplement products is too little to work. The fact that Terengganu thinks it’s a prudent idea to sell Tongkat Ali-laced keropok lekor reflects that there is a sizable demand for it.
Perhaps it is time to admit that our society is obsessed with sex. More accurately, we are obsessed with ubat kuat-kind of sexual performance, but not so much the aspects that would benefit from sex education.
Last month, my fiancee and I attended the nationally-mandatory two-day kursus kahwin. If anything, we were looking forward to the class about sexual health, in particular family planning. Instead, we were left unsatisfied (your mileage might vary).
How many kids do you think can a woman bear in her lifetime? Six? 10? By some dubious mathematics, a preacher suggested that women can bear 30 kids in their lifetime, and therefore the participants must breed as many children as biologically possible.
“If you don’t breed, we Malays will be over-run in numbers by the non-Malays. We will then lose our voting power,” he explained. “Just look at Singapore, where Muslims are the minority.”
It sounded like a bad joke, but many of the participants took the advice to heart. The preacher also warned against masturbating: “Your testes are gifts from God, the human race will disappear if you don’t take care of your sperm.”
“You only have 30 million sperms in your ejaculate, you need as many of them as possible to inseminate the egg,” he urged sternly. I hesitated to tell him that’s not exactly how it works.
This emphasis on performing as a way to prove your manliness, and delivering babies upon babies is in stark conflict with the attitude towards unmarried couples who are expected to remain chaste.