Friday, May 4, 2012

Protect Our Kids

The Star METRO: Different Spin 4th May, 2012

MALAYSIA’S social media network was buzzing with excitement yesterday as the nation received confirmed reports on the safe return of 12-year-old Nayati Moodliar who was abducted last week.

Handsome lad. 12-year old Nayati Moodliar

The 7th grade student was grabbed by the perpetrators as he was about to enter the school’s compound. People from all walks of life played their role in expanding the search for the handsome lad, by sharing posts about the details of the abduction on their Facebook or Twitter accounts and distributing posters and flyers of the missing boy. Yesterday morning, I saw a picture of Nayati hugging his sister on his father’s tweet:
“@ShamMoodliar Nayati is home safe”
Reunited with his sister. Sham and Janice make such beautiful children. *Heart*

Praise God!
There has been an increase in cases of missing children reported in the press of late. Every time I read and hear about it, I feel frightened, angry and sad. I cannot imagine the torment and torture the families had to go through and I pray to God that I never will.
Taken from The Star - Crime on Children
About two months ago, the nation mourned over the news of the five-year-old Nurul Nadirah Abdullah, fondly known as Dirang, whose charred remains were found at an oil palm plantation not too far away from her home. It sickens me to know what happened to her and the other murdered children — some sexually assaulted prior to being killed. And these are the cases reported — the ones we know of. I don’t know how many go unreported and if the cases are solved.
I will be honest. In the past, when disturbing news like this is highlighted in the media, my defence mechanism and protective instinct kicks in. But it will last for a week or two and fades away — until another missing person/murder is reported.
Now that I am a mother, I take my children’s safety seriously – EVERY DAY. I posed a question to some of my friends recently, “Do you know the number to call when an emergency arises?” Most answered hesitantly “999?”. Some said ‘911’. A handful admitted not knowing. I don’t blame them.
I searched online to find the list of Emergency numbers as per below:
EMERGENCY:
Police & Ambulance 999
Fire 994
Civil Defence 991 (there were more numbers in the list, but I copied the first three)
Why can’t we have just one number nationwide like 911 in the US? Perhaps this would be an excellent time for the authorities to apply a “1Number1EmergencyLine” campaign?
PH Wong from Childline Malaysia, a national and confidential helpline for children under 18 years old, agrees that there is currently too many numbers to remember. She also feels that an integrated computer system is needed for easy access.
Wong

“All organisations, be it big or small, in small neighbourhoods or in big corporations, should have a child protection policy and be trained on what child protection and child abuse is.”
She also feels that the authorities should prioritise and be serious on the crimes against and committed by children, just as much as they do with crimes, like thefts, robberies, break-ins and murder. I second this notion.

In 2007, a group of bloggers pushed the idea of Nurin Alert, based on the huge success of the Amber Alert Programme in the US, after the rape and murder of eight-year old Nurin Jazlin Jazimin. Finally, four years later, NUR (National Urgency Response) Alert was renamed and launched. Since its implementation, the NUR Alert has been triggered only five times. Statistics cite that 54 children were reported missing in 2010, but the NUR Alert was only used twice that year. Five times to date. I am puzzled.
KJ with firstborn. Picture taken from OHBULAN!

Khairy Jamaluddin, Rembau MP and father of two, has questioned the effectiveness of the NUR Alert.
“There are clear weaknesses to NUR Alert. I spoke about this in Parliament. It is not effective and I have asked for it to be beefed up.”
Khairy said a lack of clear standard operating procedures was the main reason why the system was not effective and as such, has called for this to be addressed urgently.
I am wondering if the authorities are fully utilising the system and if they truly understand it. One thing for sure, I don’t agree that the NUR Alert is only applicable for children 12 years and below. Even the successful Amber Alert takes on an “every state adopt the 17 years of age or younger” standard. Why the age limit?
Anyway, they say that prevention is better than cure.
I make my little girl repeat what I nag to her every day.
“No one but mummy and bibik (maid) can touch your private parts. And don’t talk to strangers, unless mummy or daddy says it is okay.”
Sad.
When I was her age, my siblings and I roamed freely around our neighbourhood and looked after ourselves when they were out. In this day and age, I am taking this ‘freedom’ away from her because I am afraid for her.
Everyone needs to take notice, take action and take time to talk to kids about being safe.
Mother of baby girl YB Hannah Yeoh shares her thoughts

Mother and Subang Jaya assemblyman, Hannah Yeoh applies some basic preventive steps like never taking her eyes off her daughter when she’s with her. Yeoh leaves her in the care of someone she knows and trusts deeply and does not post her pictures online — something I should now reconsider since I’m such a tweet freak and constantly post pictures of my children on social media.
Yeoh added, “Police have to increase presence on the streets especially near schools. I think it’s highly important for the community and parents to work together to ensure the safety of our children.
Cempaka Group of Schools director Raphael Hamzah agrees on this wholeheartedly.
Cempaka has strict rules and regulations for security reasons - Raphael

“The parents will need to give full support to the rules and regulations regarding access to the children after and before school hours — around the school premises as set by the school. If the parents can compromise and sacrifice a little inconvenience in exchange for a tighter security, the schools will be able to ensure the safety of the students.”
That, and coupled with proper education by schools on how to be more aware of their surroundings? Perhaps with role play games with safety themes so kids are more likely to understand better.
There’s so much more that needs to be done to prevent sad mishaps like abductions, rape and murders from further taking place. May God protect us all.
Daphne is still trying to find out more about the safety and protocol of the ID Kit programme offered by a local bank. What do you think? Email her at daphne@daphneiking.com

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