Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Road To Hell Is Paved With Intentions Like These

This from the fine folks over there at the Sydney Morning Herald in Australia: In Bangkok (That's Thailand), the government is offering college students an opportunity to earn credits toward their final degree by taking lessons in seduction as an elective. I swear.

I guess the birth rate has slowed down quite a bit over yonder in Bangkok. (Hey, that song only said "One night in Bangkok." It didn't say that you had to do more than just the one!) According to the Herald, if the students choose the "love elective", the cirriculum includes "watching mushy films, holding hands and "love song analysis". What could possibly go wrong?

Isabel Seet, an 18-year old engineering student said, "My teacher said if a guy looks into my eyes for more than five seconds, it could mean he is attracted to me. It's very interesting, and if I have a boyfriend in future, I'll know how to cope with any problems we may have." Where to begin? I don't know that if a guy looks at you for more than 5 seconds that you should automatically assume he is attracted to you. You might want to stop and consider "for what purpose" might he be attracted to you? For general courtship and wooing? Or for general sadistic dismemberment? You're not going to "know how to cope" with the latter one, I don't care how many classes you take.

But they're pretty intent on getting the whole "love and sexuality" message out there. A government minister, Yu-Foo Yee Shoon (Now, if that name right there doesn't get you all warm and fuzzy and looking at someone for more than 5 seconds, well, I don't know what will.), has warned young people to not put their career before starting a family. He said, "If you wait until then, sometimes it'll be a little too late." If they wait until WHEN? Retirement? Yes, I'd say that retirement age IS at least a little too late to be starting a family. But that doesn't you should put your career on hold in order to help repopulate Thailand if you'd rather put that MBA to use for a while.

The "trainers" that teach this course have been provided by the Social Development Unit of Bangkok (now known, by me, as SDUB). SDUB is sort of like a government match-making agency. Um, what? Look, there is no way in hell that I would ever, in my life, let the government set me up. I don't care how long they've been doing it. I don't care how long I haven't been doing it. (I mean, I do care if I haven't been doing it. But not enough to ask the government, as an all encompassing entity, to help me out.) They're the government! I don't want the government doing most of the things that they ARE doing! (If it turns out anything like how things got taken care of after Hurricane Katrina, they're going to want that career to fall back on whilst they wait for their mating-partner-to-be to arrive.)
The claim to fame of SDUB is that they have married off 33,000 people since 1984. That's about 1375 people (687-ish marriages) a year for 24 years. There are approximately 8,000,000 people in Bangkok. That amounts to about 1/10000 of a percent of the population that the overly proud SDUB can credit to their matchmaking prowess. I'm thinking they need a new plan. This one is barely working. But even if it's barely working, I'm starting to think that it might not be going in the direction that they had intended. Here's why:

Kamal Prakash, a student who is taking the course, has said that it has improved his relationship. With his parents. That's right. He said, "it has improved my relationship with my parents, but I am still single." Um, maybe that's because you're focusing all of your SDUB knowledge ON your parents! If I found out that a course in "love and sexuality" would improve my relationship with my parents, I sure as hell wouldn't be signing up for it! No, I would be doing the opposite of signing up for it if that was a possible outcome! And in this case, the "opposite" of signing up for a class about "love and sexuality" that has the potential to improve my relationship with my parents would be shooting myself. Immediately.

Is Bangkok in the South?

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