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Fancy coming upstairs for a bit of Section 377?

'It's part of intimacy, notes expert'

14 November 2003

Last Thursday in Singapore a man called Annis Abdullah was jailed for two years for allowing (or maybe even encouraging, who knows?) a young woman to suck his penis. The story was published in the Strait Times on Friday, and followed up on Saturday with a piece entitled. ‘Oral sex ruling vexes many.’ Subheadings included: ‘Law unrealistic, say some’, ‘It’s part of intimacy, notes expert’ and ‘Case for changing law, say lawyers’. Now. Is somebody trying to be funny here or what?

It seems not. The fact of the matter is, under a catch-all provision in the country’s sex laws, oral sex is illegal in Singapore. Section 377 states that ‘whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animals, shall be punished with imprisonment for life…’, or anything up to ten years. Plus a fine. And fellatio is deemed against the order of nature’. One presumes cunnilingus is equally unnatural, although no-one seems particularly concerned about that.

This particular case featured a 27-year-old policeman and a 16 year-old-girl. They became acquainted on the internet and met after a few weeks. That first night they wound up petting in his car, heavily. He asked her for sex. She said no but ‘agreed to perform oral sex on him’. He also agreed. So she went down on him. Then - and this is the funny thing - the next day she went to the police to report the sex crime! Is that not just the weirdest thing?

There is no question of consent here either. Sixteen is the age of consent and the unnamed head-giver claims not to have been coerced. The only crime was the sex-act itself, for which she could also have been charged. But she wasn't. Phew. But it was a risk she was prepared to take. Justice had to be done. Ironically, if Mr Abdullah had simply fucked the teenager, he would not now be in jail.

This week, thank God, there has been something of an uproar. A gang of twenty readers wrote to the Strait Times shocked that oral sex is still against the law. Then a letter was drafted, signed by certain Singapore bigwigs and sent to the newspaper, pleading with the government to bring the law into the twenty-first century. Or even the nineteenth. The letter ends with the words, ‘It may be too late for Annis Abdullah now, but it is not too late for our future as a nation.’ Too late? they're going to leave him in jail? For getting a blow-job? That’s just weird.

Yesterday he is alleged to have confided in a close friend: "Thank God she didn't mention the anal."

Singapore eh? It makes Milton Keynes look like Gomorrah.

That Letter In Full:


Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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