What the people have to say about NSPosted: May 13, 2008
On 9 May 2008, Prof Dr M Tajuddin wrote a letter to Malaysiakini after the most recent death in National Service camp:
My heart goes out to the parents of Too Hui Min from Selangor. How many National Service deaths does that make? I have lost count. They are dying right in front of our very eyes. Wake up or are you dead too? Never mind our different races, religions and socio-economic status. We are parents and we are patriotic Malaysians who love our country dearly.
Listen parents. To me they seem to be intoning their standard mantra again – ‘It’s YOUR FAULT that your son or daughter died. Lain kali make sure dia sihat dulu sebelum masuk kem lah. What gall.
So parents, please, wake up. I send this message to YOU. The NS director-general is not going to listen. The political leaders don’t seem to care. So it is up to US. What should we do? Never mind the trainees are Malays, Indians, Chinese, Kadazans, Dayak, Iban or what-have-you. They are all OUR children.
Full letter here.
Today, Malaysiakini posted some of the responses they received from their readers about this issue:
Michael Ng: What can we parents do so that the government will actually address this issue? I don’t want another bright and aspiring teenager to ‘mati katak‘.
I bet patriotism will be the last thing on her parents’ mind when they have had to pray to their gods everyday for protection and deliverance, call to check on their child’s health everyday and having to struggle with the awful thought that their child may have been marked by death. How has it become that serving the country meant dying for the country but for no good reason?
A Very Concerned Parent: I refer to the latest death of another child in the NS programme and the total count is? Even recruit soldiers don’t die like this. I cannot even begin to imagine the grief that these parents are going through.
Stand-up and shout out – that Malaysian parents will not take this anymore. Don’t expect change to occur – we have to make it happen.
Kee Thuan Chye: It’s time to scrap the National Service. I’m not the only parent who will not entrust my children to this worthless cause. It has proven to be unsafe since it was initiated. How many have died in the camps already? How many more have fallen ill?
Why must we sacrifice our children- for what? It was a hare-brained idea to begin with. And yet despite the public resistance, the government has insisted on carrying on with it.
Ayfy: The National Service scheme for school leavers is ill-conceived. Is this the brain child of a BN minister? One of the main aims of the scheme is to foster racial integration and unity. Honourable minister, if you can’t do it in eleven years, (for some thirteen) of the formative schooling years of our young people, how can you do it in a few months?
Clippy Mee: It certainly will let Najib think twice himself if he has a teenager to go through national camp training these days. How many more young lives do we have to sacrifice each time a new batch starts off? Surely the people responsible for sending these youth for training must have realised something is wrong somewhere.
Full article here. It includes the readers’ responses on other issues as well.
I’m sure that it’s not just the people who wrote to Malaysiakini who feel this way. So many of us feel the same.
But I guess the authorities and whoever’s responsible for this is just writing this off as something that the “bloggers” are spinning out of control. One of the “outrageous demands” from us in blogosphere. They never did take any of us seriously. The only time they do is when they put us in detention.
But A Very Concerned Parent is right about something. We can’t just expect change to happen. We have to make that change happen.
As far as I know, both Bernard Khoo (from Zorro Unmasked), and Haris Ibrahim (from People’s Parliament) are going to hold a forum on this NS issue. People’s Parliament has also set up an e-group.
When the government couldn’t care less about our children, then we HAVE to take matters into our own hands.