18 February 2004

No oral sex please, this is clean-living Singapore

Singapore's 77-year-old chief judge has given an earthy defence of his country's notorious prohibition on oral sex - declaring the law should be upheld to safeguard Asian standards of decency.

Sending a 25-year-old former policeman to jail for 12 months for receiving oral sex from a teenage girl, Chief Justice Yong Pung How said that despite growing permissiveness in some countries there were 'certain offences that are so repulsive in Asian culture'.

'There are countries where you can go and suck away for all you are worth,' the judge said.

'People in high places do it for all they're worth. I'm not an expert, but you read about it in the papers. But this is Asia.'

Justice Yong was hearing an appeal by Annis Abdullah against the severity of his two-year prison sentence for receiving oral sex from a girl, originally described by prosecutors as 16 years old, but later revealed to be 15 and a minor. Under Singapore law, oral sex, anal sex and homosexual intercourse are defined as acts 'against the law of nature' and punishable by up to 10 years in jail.

I look forward to the Man of Steel denouncing His Honour's judgment as an example of the distinction between Australian and Asian values. Our prime minister has, after all, never been afraid to put his money where his mouth is on such issues. It's just a pity he didn't suck it up over the FTA when his friend George refused to come across.

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