June Low can look you in the eye without blushing while discussing the birds and the bees and is a stalwart supporter of sex education for teens. She tells us about hosting ‘Popek-Popek’, the country’s first sex education web series.
I personally learned about sex through... a more ‘worldly’ classmate. I was sitting in a science lab; legs spread apart and just happened to be sitting at the corner of the table. The classmate exclaimed, ‘Ewww! Do you want it that bad?’ I was maybe 12 and a half, in Form One, never had any sex-ed, and I didn't know what she thought I wanted. She probably didn't know either, but this piqued my interest. After that, I bought books about puberty and learnt about it on my own (my mum was always cool about books) and a cool aunt bought me some books from the States, which I still have and I often revisit them whenever I teach.
‘Popek-Popek’s very first episode... was about what it really means to ‘lose’ your virginity. Most of the girls I've spoken to are obsessed with virginity. It tells you a lot about our society where young women think that their entire self-worth is located between their legs. When I decided to do ‘Popek’, I told myself I would never compromise on doing the right thing, even if it meant the risking the wrath of the conservatives (something so many people in our society seem terrified of). The right thing in this case is to provide medically-accurate information, which is what we do. We often speak openly about topics no one wants to talk about.
The program often negates sexual superstitions, such as... the idea that women are dirty during their periods; only men get HIV; only gay men get HIV; it’s a man's responsibility to bring a condom or make the first move; women who enjoy sex are sluts; abortion is illegal in Malaysia. Seriously there are so many, I can't remember them all right now. Suffice to say, we have a ton of work ahead of us.
The anatomically accurate costumes on the show... serve to educate and desensitise people towards genitalia to create a sex positive society.
My co-host Sudarshan... is incredibly talented, despite not saying much on the show. He makes amazing music. Check out www.soundcloud.com/sudar.
The most challenging episode to film was... the one where Sudar is hanging off a cliff in Bukit Tabur in an attempt to escape a vengeful lover and I am trying to rescue him from a helicopter flying overhead. Stay tuned...
Most viewers don’t realise that... even if they already know the answers to the questions asked on the show, they should still share the videos and try to watch the show with others (especially young people) to start conversations on the subject. We share a collective responsibility to educate and keep each other safe.
The most rewarding part of my job is… being able to provide real help to people who are desperate and have nowhere else to turn to. There's a lot of disinformation out there, especially when it comes to the subject of sex – I have no grand plans of changing the world, I just try to debunk the myths and help where I can.