Monday, 14 January 2008

Missing children: too late for regrets

Another girl goes missing in Kuala Lumpur and the whole country's in a right tiff again. It was only about five months ago in Aug 2007 that eight-year-old Nurin went missing in Wangsa Maju and her body discovered in a gristly fashion about four weeks later. Today, it is five-year-old Sharlinie. Tomorrow, who else?

What is common about these cases of missing children is that the parents had allowed their young charges out of the house on their own. Then, when someone abducts the child, a frantic manhunt ensues. We've had a tragic end to one of them. Let's hope the second case of a missing child does not end in a similar manner.

Why do the parents allow their children so much freedom at such young ages? It's such a perplexing question. Do they trust their children that much? Do they ever teach their children to be wary of strangers? Does it smack of irresponsibility? Or is it just the mentality and attitude that is the cause of these heartaches?

Personally, I've seen many Malay parents treat their children in a way that the Chinese will never do:
  • Allowing them freedom to play in the streets regardless of the traffic condition. I have been alarmed many times by small children suddenly jumping off the kerb, right in front of cars or motorbikes or bicycles.
  • Crossing roads without holding on to their children.
  • Sandwiching one or more children between the parents on a motorcycle. Only recently, the kid I saw was almost a newborn. How alarming.
  • Allowing their children to walk behind the parents without caring how far the children might have strayed behind them. As if they have eyes behind their heads.
  • Allowing their children to run off unattended in shopping malls.
  • Unwinding the car windows and letting their children put their heads out while the vehicle is moving.
  • Ignoring civic-consciousness by destroying public property and littering.

Very common bad habits, and the list goes on. Perhaps you can still do this in the kampungs but this is not the kampung. This is the modern world and modern living comes with modern risks. You cannot avoid not taking the extra precaution to safeguard the safety of your own person or the people around you that you love and cherish.

You stop doing this and you risk all the pain in your heart. It is very convenient to say that it is the will of God when a child goes missing and does not come back but it is parental responsibility to God to ensure that your child is safely taken care of in the first place.

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