Unprotected sex – not single-parent benefits – causes unintended pregnancies

Dear Madam/Sir,

I respectfully disagree with “Unequal benefits for single unwed mums a matter of deterrence” (Aug 3).

The writer argues that benefits for single parents is an incentive for people to have children out of wedlock.

Children are not born out of wedlock as a result of benefits for single parents.

It is unprotected intercourse between heterosexual couples which causes unintended pregnancies.

As a matter of public interest, unprotected sex occurs for myriad reasons.

It ranges from the thrill of making love in the raw to ignorance about reproductive cycles.

Unprotected sex can also inadvertently take place when prophylactics fail.

Couples most assuredly do not have unprotected sex while thinking about the benefits that single parents will obtain.

It is the furthest on the average person’s mind before and during the deed.

Unplanned conception can be deterred through holistic sexuality education programmes, such as those already being carried out in educational institutions.

But the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry; there will be people who fall through the cracks, as well as accidents that happen.

Single-parent benefits will address these unfortunate scenarios – not incentivise more women and men to make the beast with two backs.

Thank you.

Best regards,
Laremy LEE (Mr)

(Published as “Unprotected sex, not state benefits, causes unintended pregnancies” on 4 Aug 2015 in TODAY.)

Dreams

Nani has begun dreaming again.Since she began recounting her life, she’s been having dreams of her youth.She dreams…

Posted by Laremy Lee on Saturday, 11 July 2015

 
Nani has begun dreaming again.

Since she began recounting her life, she’s been having dreams of her youth.

She dreams about 1930s Sindh, in what was still India, and not yet Pakistan.

In them, she recalls the freedom of childhood and being a child: how she and her friends ran races, played games like dog and bone, how they roamed the streets of Hyderabad – courageously, in all their urchin-like temerity.

She remembers fearlessness: her father never scolded her so she was very brave; her mother would back down whenever Nani stood up to her – which was often.

There were neither borders nor obligations; no boundaries to be afraid of crossing.

Most of all, she remembers the freedom.

Were you happy, Nani, we ask.

“Khush,” she says, spreading her gnarled fingers in an expanse of expression. Happy.

“Ma free has; ma sochandas ma free aayah.”

“I was free,” she said. “I would think then, ‘I am free.'”

Interview with MyPaper for Hands Down at Going Local 4

MyPaper interviewed me for a story on Going Local 4.

Going Local is a production by Buds Theatre Company. Find out more from yesterday’s post.

The transcript of my interview, as follows:

  1. Name, age, occupation:
    Mr Laremy Lee, 32, playwright.

    I am presently a schools correspondent with The Straits Times. I will be moving to the School of the Arts, Singapore at the end of the month (June 29, 2015), to teach literature and literary arts.
  2. How do you feel about your play being picked as a feature of Going Local 4?
    It is both a privilege and an honour to be part of a proud tradition started by Buds Theatre Company’s artistic director Claire Devine.
  3. Summarise Hands Down in 14 words or less.
    A married couple discovers their incompatibility while in a competition to win a car.
  4. What inspired your passion for playwriting?
    I have always had a love for writing and the English language. Theatre is one of the avenues in which I express myself creatively.
  5. The play on paper can be vastly different from the creature on stage – are you prepared for any potential changes?
    Staging a play is like sailing a ship; with all hands on deck, everyone – from cast to crew – works to move the play forward.

    As with all ships I’ve built, I leave this vessel in the good hands of the director, who will steer it in the direction she thinks best.

    I’m fine with it taking a different tack – so long as it doesn’t go off course.
  6. What do you hope to achieve with Hands Down?
    I wrote the play in response to a trend taking place in Singapore society and mirrored in my circle of friends.Because of the way housing policy is designed, many young Singaporean couples ballot for public housing at a young age.

    When the key arrives some years later, some of these couples – having grown in age and maturity – realise they are not as in love with each other as they used to be.

    Understandably, the sunk cost is, sometimes, perceived as greater than the benefits of backing out of the impending nuptials. These couples end up entering an unhappy marriage, along with all its attendant ills.

    Is there a better way for Singapore to enact pro-marriage policies, while balancing housing considerations in a country with limited land? Or is it a case of mismatched expectations versus a practical reality, when it comes to finding a companion and a life partner? I hope the play gets people to start thinking about these issues – or even finding a solution, if possible.
  7. What are some memorable things theatre practitioners have said to you?
    One common sentiment expressed by many writers – playwrights, poets, novelists, etc. – whom I know: For every play that goes to stage, or every book that goes to print, there are dozens more that remain as unfinished drafts or rejected manuscripts, languishing in the bottom of the drawer.

    The Pareto principle suggests that 80 per cent of an artist’s best output is going to come from 20 per cent of his input. So it could well be that 80 per cent of your time might be spent achieving 20 per cent of your work.

    Having said that, don’t settle for inefficiency. Learn from the mistakes you make, and and don’t make the same mistake again. Better yet – get a good mentor who gives good feedback. It’ll cut down the time you’d need to take to get to where you want to go.

Book your tickets here. If you’d like to, you can read the 2012 version of Hands Down here.

Hands Down at Going Local 4

Going Local 4 (2015)

Going Local 4 (2015)

My play, Hands Down, will be staged as part of Buds Theatre Company’s Going Local 4.

Hands Down is a comedy about a married couple that finds themselves facing off in a challenge to see who can keep their hands on a car for the longest period of time in order to win it.

The catch: whoever puts his or her hand down first loses the car – and the marriage to boot.

This year’s Going Local comprises four short plays, including Dressing Up by Gwendolyn Lee, Don’t Colour Outside Of The Lines by Jaryl George Solomon and The Untitled Funeral Play by Luke Vijay Somasundram.

There are four shows, as follows:

  • Fri, 26 June, 8pm, Tampines Primary School Black Box
  • Sat, 27 June, 7:30pm, Toa Payoh Central Community Centre
  • Fri, 3 July and Sat, 4 July, 8pm, Zhenghua Community Centre

Standard tickets are $20 while concession tickets (for students, senior citizens and national servicemen) are $15.

And if you’re a PAssion Card Holder, you get 10% off ticket prices.

Book your tickets here. If you’d like to, you can read the 2012 version of Hands Down here.

Of roosting chickens, circling back and WISHBs

"Nothing will come of nothing." #1ismorethan0 #keeptruffling #obese #obesity #obesetron #mcpork #ohbabi #running #fitspo #fitness #fitspiration

“Nothing will come of nothing.” #1ismorethan0 #keeptruffling #obese #obesity #obesetron #mcpork #ohbabi #running #fitspo #fitness #fitspiration

The chickens came home to roost last Tuesday.

I spent the whole of that day privately making jibes at a PR company for using the term “circling back”.

They did so while corresponding with my colleagues, in instances like these:

  • “Thank you for circling back to me.” (I think they meant to say “replying”.)
  • Circling back to our previous conversation…” (“Returning”, perhaps?)

While they weren’t exactly wrong, I was amused because their usage of the phrase was unnecessarily cumbersome.

So I mercilessly mocked them by “circling back” to the same phrase at every opportunity I got, during conversations with my office mates.

I guess it was only fitting to receive my comeuppance by inadvertently making a typo on the same day.

Shortly after knocking off, I accidentally interacted with an emotionally toxic person outside of work.

By the time I reached home, I was so drained from dealing with this person that I almost skipped my weekly run.

But I decided I wouldn’t allow myself to be affected by said individual.

So I thought I’d force myself to carry on with the workout through a bit of self-motivation, based on something I’d learnt from this post on Reddit.

Before heading off for the run, I created the image you see at the top of this post.

It’s supposed to say "1 > 0", or one is more than zero i.e. don’t have a zero day by putting one foot forward, and then another, and so on.

Unfortunately, I only realised later that I used "<", the lesser than sign, instead of ">", the more than sign.

Adding insult to injury was the situational irony of my caption: “Nothing will come of nothing”.

It’s a line from the opening scene of King Lear by William Shakespeare, which I meant to use in a self-motivational manner.

However, the original line was meant to demonstrate the protagonist’s hubris…

I guess the moral of the story is: don’t “circle back” when you can “revert”?

In any case, a WISHB was in order – and duly published:

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