Part 1

by saajidahfirdausi

10 minutes to midnight and I’m starting on a post when I’m dead beat and probably ought to be sleeping. But I’d like to stick to something for a change.

Last night, after work (yes I am gainfully employed now), my friend and I headed to Yale-NUS for a focus group on female circumcision in Singapore. It’s a topic that has been receiving a fair bit of press attention recently. For the most part, I had not a clue that it is practised in Singapore. I wasn’t even aware that it is practised widely, or even at all, save a few African states where I was aware it happens. You can imagine my surprise when all of the Malay ladies who had attended said that they had been circumcised.

Before I keep rambling, this practice, first and foremost, is performed on a female to keep her promiscuity in check, or so it is said by some. While it is generally done by Muslims, perhaps even exclusively, it is not an Islamic practice, it has been around for far longer. The reasons given for female circumcision are however related to religion – it is said to be an obligation (not at all true) or a sunnat, which means it’s a practice of the Prophet Muhammad (again untrue), and therefore encouraged. Medical research on female circumcision is relatively minimal, and there seems to be no concrete evidence of any benefits. The process mainly reduces the sensitivity of the clitoris, resulting in the intended effect of curbing sexual desire. From what I gathered during the discussion, it is primarily performed on infants, as opposed to the ages 5-10 for males, but of course, it could vary elsewhere.

Ah, I’m feeling queasy already, and the clock is ticking. Hence, this will be continued tomorrow.