Friday, July 20, 2007

Malaysia's 50th birthday coming up...

Today I drove the car up to K.L. for a project meeting. And I came home sitting in the cab of a tow truck, bouncing along (no seat belt) in the breeze (no windows) in the sun (no sun visors).

And had real trouble getting anywhere in my housing estate because all the mosque and surau-goers regard the streets as one big parking lot at lunchtime on Friday. They would rather triple park and block the road than walk a few metres. Too bad if you have an emergency - or a towtruck towing a car behind it. We couldn't get anywhere near the workshop where I wanted to leave it. [I am actually quite used to this; they will even block my gateway on occasion.]

And why was this necessary? Because my car screamed every time I went near it.
Something to do with the alarm system or the electricals, I suppose. What is certain, there will be money involved in the repair thereof. Sigh.

More distressing was something in this morning's paper.

After 50 years of independence, we still throw a kid as young as thirteen in a "boy's prison" in Kajang for as little as - allegedly - stealing a handphone. We don't actually know if he did, of course, because there has never been a court case. He won't get sent to a boy's home, or freed, until there is a court case, but the courts are too busy hearing cases of folk who have lawyers and money and who jump the queue.

A boy in the boy's prison won't go to school. Or get out. The family being too poor to pay the bail, he'll just rot, spending what should be the best months - years? - of his life behind bars, uneducated... There are 400 boys in this situation under remand. In other words, they have never been found guilty of anything at all! And even if they were, should we be leaving them in a place that relies on good-hearted volunteers to care for their educational, medical and emotional health? Where is responsible government in all this? I don't blame the prison authorities - they probably do their level best, but they - along with the boys - have been dealt a rotten hand by the system we have given them.

Of course, there are wonderful folk (the paper highlighted an NGO called Shelter Home,) who step in and do their level best to provide some classes and training, dental and medical care and counseling, and will even try to provide bail, legal help and such.

But why should this be necessary?

Shame on you Malaysia!
After 50 years of nationhood this is how we treat our wayward youth? What are we trying to do - turn them into resentful, angry adults without the wherewithall to get a decent job as adults?

Next time you get robbed, ask yourself what it was that helped to shape the nature of the thief's boyhood. Perhaps it was your indifference.

Happy birthday, Malaysia.

2 comments:

KarenEMiller said...

That's crappy crappy crappy about your car. Very sorry to hear yet more for you to groan about. Sigh.

As for the state of play in Malaysia ... it is indeed beyond distressing. And so hard when there is no impetus for change. Why is that? Why does the general population seem so ... docile?

Glenda Larke said...

Is the USA any better? Not from what one reads.

I don't know enough about what happens in Oz to comment. But I suspect we are all a bit "not my problem" when it comes to things like this. I know my excuse is "Well, I can't say much because I am not a citizen..."