By Jessie Pang
The Millennial Intel In This Story:
-Sex education in Hong Kong is woefully inadequate.
-Traditional Hong Kong culture looks down on casual sex, even in committed relationships.
-A 24 year old millennial named Julia Sun Wai-han is using tech to help young Hong Kongers learn about sex and it is working really well.
“Talking about sex should be as comfortable as talking about food but the experience can be quite scary to young people even though it’s good for them,” Julia Sun Wai-han the 24 year old founder of Sticky Rice Love said.
Sticky Rice Love is the food name of a Chinese rice ball dessert that literally means “sugar will not come off” from dumplings made of boiled sticky rice.
But in this context, it is also an online sex education platform for young people in Hong Kong.
“It is [our] hope to remind people that food and sex are both basic human needs and avoiding the awkwardness people usually face when they refer to a sex health educational website”, Sun said in an interview with RISE NEWS.
Sticky Rice Ball’s platform publishes articles about sex and hosts an online forum for young people to discuss sex anonymously.
It has filled a gap in sex education for young people across the island.
Everyone can post a question which they don’t feel comfortable to ask about on the forum and will receive a prompt reply or advice from volunteers who have received proper sex health training.
Sun’s idea was inspired by her experience as a teaching assistant in a local high school to start the platform.
“Sex education in Hong Kong is really inadequate and lagging behind. Apart from a lack of school hours, resources and the right people to teach students about sex, most people usually hold a traditional and negative view towards sex,” Sun said. “For instance, the best way to avoid pregnancy is to avoid having sex, which is impossible for people in a relationship. Such education has tremendous consequences on the young people. Some still find it uncomfortable to have sex after marriage. Hence, I decided to do something to change it,” Sun said.
Seeing there’s no need for people to meet face to face and the set-up cost is low, Sun found that the Internet is a perfect place to realize her dream.
At first, she was frightened that she might faced viral opposition as people were not familiar with her mission: empowering the youth to make their own choice on sex and relationships.
“Our role is neutral. We are not telling them what’s right or wrong but simply offering them comprehensive information they need and want to know about. It can be quite vague and controversial to some people,” says Sun.
To her surprise, there was overwhelming support from the public and the mainstream media interviewed her about the venture.
The platform also holds some offline activities, such as visits to some local sex toys shops and co-organized screenings of an X-rated movie to several hundreds people at the Clear Water Bay Film Studio, which is rarely open to the public with Goooood Secrets.
“Both online and offline sex education have advantages,” Sun said. “It’s not about online or offline but more about how you do it.”
Despite the success of the platform, Sun still wants to do more but long-term financial resources remain as a problem.
“I really hope to design interactive online courses on sex education for young people to dig into the topics they are interested in, but it’s hard to do fund-raising as people are not confident in a youth- led organization,” Sun said. “They prefer to back adults or experts more.”
Yet, Sun remains optimistic as the society becomes more and more receptive to the idea of promoting sex education.
For instance, sex secret groups are very popular among high schools and universities and everyone changed their Facebook profile picture to rainbow color watermark to show their support to the legalization of same sex marriage in USA.
“It’s hopeful that young people won’t need our platform and can talk about sex as freely as it should be in the coming future,” Sun said.
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.
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Cover Photo Credit: Jessie Pang