Friday, May 16, 2008

Approaches are different

It started from an article about youths and teens getting AIDS/HIV in Singapore last week. The author prefers safer sex message over abstinence. Then, there were three articles published in oppose to her article, all published on Monday. Next came two articles highlighting the issue in relation to business organisations, on Tuesday and Friday.

All of them concerns about AIDS/HIV. However, there are two groups being concerned here, the employees, who are typically adults, and the youths and teens. As such, I question is the approach towards employees by corporate management for the sake of business, suitable? ... when applying to the youths and teens.

Employees are adults. Thus, management won't want to influence their attitude towards their sexual life. Employees are not with the company for life. Thus, management is mainly interested in their wellbeing during the years they are serving the company. In the corporate context, the main concern is business performance. Thus, if an employee, regardless being HIV negative or not, can remain productive for the company, managment is happy.

Youths and teens are not adults. Thus, adults of this society share some responsibility in their good wellbeing and upbringing. I agree that judging others by our standard is not nice and unproductive. However, that doesn't mean that we should shunt from expressing what our standard is. I am quite sure that in general, no extra-marital sex is still the best preference by vast majority, even though many may not think that this should be the only preference.

Youths and teens will be in this society, or world whole of their life. Thus, our concern for them shouldn't be limited to when they are young, although our influence on them will be very limited when they are older. When they became adults, they will be influence the youths of their time. Thus, our concern should also not be limited by the youths of our time, but all youths at all time.

In society, we are here to live our life, and work is only a part of it. Getting married with our life partner, building a happy family, and parenting next generation are some of the other parts. Thus, being infected by HIV is not simply a health issue, but it affect many other parts of one's life.

I can understand that managment doesn't have the position and the need to promote abstinence lifestyle to their employees. Doing so has little or no business value for the company. It is also quite unlikely that employees will care about such messages as these are not job or career related.

Thus, from the perspective of management, it may be OK as long as the employee is productive during the employment with the company, and the company can manage when many of them are infected with AIDS/HIV. How getting AIDS/HIV would affect the employee life, family, future, next generation (if any) are quite out of the scope of the management.

However, youths and teens are learning and observing about this world and what is life from those who have been here longer than them. They may not like us to indoctrinate them, but they are still being influenced by adults in many ways since the society they live in have been built by us.

Thus, as adults who care about the society and its future, our concern is much more than that. We don't want just to delay their extra-marital sex behaviors until they are old enough, but we should at least mentioned that extra-marital sex is bad. We don't want just to reduce their risk by teaching safer sex, but we must clearly present the simple logic that risk avoidance is much better than risk managment.

Thus, the corporate's approach in raising awareness about AIDS/HIV among their employees should not be used when targetting youths and teens.

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