And I’m not talking being stuck with the kids 24/7 because of the school holidays.
Just let them have their smartphone, tablet or whatever and they won’t trouble you until they want to be fed.
I’m not even talking about the fear of your kids falling into a sinkhole.
No, I’m talking about all the not-so-family-friendly news that you hope your kids don’t ask you about.
“Daddy, daddy, what is oral sex?”
“Uh... that is when someone uses his or her mouth to... uh... make someone else very happy... aiyah, stop bothering me and go play with your iPhone.”
Even for a nation that produced Michael Palmer, Cecilia Sue and married 30something teachers who have affairs with underage students, last week was particularly fertile in terms of prurience.
The big story was, of course, the sex-for-contracts trial where former SCDF head Peter Lim was charged with corruptly obtaining oral sex from former Nimrod Engineering general manager Pang Chor Mui.
I wondered why anyone would name a company Nimrod Engineering. It’s equivalent to calling it Idiot Engineering, which I don’t think is a very good name.
So I Googled it and found out that Nimrod was the name of a king in the Bible who was a great hunter. Oh, so that's why.
But it’s fair to say that for most of us in post-biblical times, “nimrod” means “idiot”.
As in “What nimrod would name his company Nimrod Engineering?”
Now if only someone could explain to me the meaning of the Pixies song Nimrod’s Son...
Anyway, the Peter Lim case wasn’t only the big sex trial last week. We also had Swiss ex-banker Juerg Buergin who was charged with having paid sex with an underage prostitute from an online vice ring.
“Daddy, daddy, what is a prostitute?”
“That’s what I feel like every time I pretend to laugh at my boss’s jokes so that I can afford to pay for your iPhone. Aiyah, stop bothering me and I'll buy you an iPad.”
Buergin’s lawyer said Buergin was deceived by the girl and her pimp into believing she was not underage.
“Daddy, daddy, what is a pimp?”
“It’s from this show called Pimp My Ride where people make their cars more beautiful. If you stop talking to me, I’ll buy you an Xbox with Kinect.”
And then there was also the relief teacher who had sex with his 13-year-old female student.
And the auxiliary police officer with Certis Cisco who used his warrant card to try and get a discount from a prostitute.
And the guy who placed a spy camera inside a shampoo rack of a bathroom to record a woman in the shower.
And the thief with a wallet fetish who was sentenced to 13 months’ jail.
“Daddy, daddy, what is a fetish?”
“That’s when you like something so much that it’s bad for you. Like you asking so many questions. Why aren’t you playing with the new 27-inch iMac I just bought you?”
What is a responsible parent to do in the face of this unwholesome onslaught?
Do we shield our children from adult reality and try to preserve their innocence just a little longer?
Or is their innocence already lost because we let them surf the Internet on their smartphone, tablet or whatever?
“Daddy, I found out what a pimp really is. I just Googled it on the iMac.”
“Please don’t Google ‘oral sex’!”
Who should come to our rescue but the Health Promotion Board (HPB)?
Last Wednesday, in the midst of the racy parade, I saw an HPB ad in The Straits Times with the word “SEX” in large capital letters.
It got my attention. The ad read: “Sex is a confusing maze. Talk your child through it.”
Yes, but how? We parents feel a little lost in this sexy confusing maze ourselves.
Funny you should ask because the ad was for seminars held at Republic Polytechnic yesterday on the role that parents play in our kids’ sexual development.
Targeted at parents of children aged five to 16, topics included “Too young to talk about sexuality?” and “Minding sex in the media”.
According to the HPB website:
“Parents can only protect their children till a certain stage of their life.
“Learn how you can prepare and teach your child how to draw their own boundaries and be media-savvy with regard to sex in the media.”
How timely. See? Even HPB acknowledges there was a lot of sex in the news last week.
Unfortunately, among the topics, there wasn’t one called “How do I prevent my kids from becoming underage prostitutes for an online vice ring?”
Or “How do I prevent my kids from having sex with their teachers?”
However, there was a topic called “But Mom, Dad! Everyone’s doing it!”
Despite the missing topics, I am grateful to HPB for organising the free seminars for us nimrod parents.
I’m also relieved the children are going back to school tomorrow.
If only HPB could also organise a seminar on how to prevent our kids from falling into sinkholes.
But sinkholes are only slightly less hazardous to our children than Google.
The Internet can be such a debaser.
“Aiyah, I thought the holidays are over. Aren't you supposed to be in school?”
- Published in The New Paper, 24 March 2013