Hornbill Unleashed

November 12, 2011

Our children deserve protection and love

Sim Kwang Yang

One evening, while I was having dinner at my neighbourhood coffee shop, I witnessed a case of physical abuse, inflicted by a coffee shop hawker on his son.

The young boy, who must have been about 12, had apparently angered his father for some reason. The father was beating the child with his bare hands, over and over again, for about half an hour, in full view of everybody in the food court.

The boy was crying out loud and begging his father to stop, but the hawker was not moved by his pleas, and continued the merciless beating.

I was debating with myself whether to interfere, but in the end I thought   better of it, and left the scene in disgust.

Beating a child is a common sight in Malaysia. Growing up, I witnessed numerous merciless beatings of children around my neighbourhood, which was a working class area in Kuching.

On the odd occasion, when I tried to step in, the offending father would turn on me in anger, and yell: “I am teaching my children. It’s none of your business!”

There is a section of the Malaysian population that regards children as personal property. In their eyes, parents can do what they want with their children, in the name of ‘teaching their children’ — no matter how cruel the method of teaching is.

Malaysians have come a long way in the last 48 years of our nationhood. By and large, the family is the centre of happiness for Malaysian society. We all regard the welfare and happiness of our children as our main mission in life. The better educated parents often go out of their way to spoil their children rotten.

But a small proportion of the Malaysian community still regard children as their personal property … to do with them as they like.

I was surprised to discover that statistics show abuse of young children is quite common in our nation. This abuse often arises out of the ignorance that children have rights too, not only regarding the way their parents teach them, but also the way society at large behaves towards them.

“The true measure of a nation is how well it attends to its children — their health, safety, and material security, their education and socialisation, and their sense of being loved, valued, and included in the families and societies into which they are born” (The State of the World’s Children 2011).

Like most of you, I have a natural love for children. I truly value their innocence. The happy faces of children laughing aloud is one of the most beautiful sights on earth.

But looking after children also requires a great deal of patience and dedication from adults. Bringing up children is surely one of the most challenging tasks on earth.

In the quick-paced life of the modern world, the pressure on adults to bear all the heartaches and frustrations of bringing up of their young ones has sometimes grown unbearable.

But what more important task could there be for us in our entire lives, than giving ourselves to the mission of bringing up the next generation to the best of our abilities?

For many Malaysian adults, giving their children the best start in life is one of the most fulfilling functions they can have.

Cruelty to children remains one of the most heinous crimes against humanity. Love for all children is still one of the most basic conditions for human civilisations.    So the next time you think about lifting a hand to strike a child, consider this advice from Uncle Sim: treat that child with all the respect and love that he or she deserves.



    Child abuse can be related to sexual or social economic and political factors. The widespread physical child abuse appears to based on social economic factors.

    There are masses of very poor people like hawkers who have to struggle to survive and feed their families.

    In a colonial socio-economic environment where we have to bear the added burden of a racist system which is more institutionalized then South Africa was, the inequalities in wealth ownership, class and race breeds extreme tension from the family situation upwards.

    The inequalities represent a form of abuse affecting children in terms of lack of proper food healthcare and education. This is an abuse of their human rights to have access to all these good things in life recognised by the United Nations.

    Simply put the colonial racist UMNO system is a major contributing factor to the social economic tensions.

    Many Sarawak people whether or not bumiputras are denied opportunities to improve their economic positions and are relegated to low paid jobs, operate small businesses to survive or are unemployable.

    In the ulu situation thousands of people have been thrown out of their land and their homeland environment polluted by uncontrolled timber logging and industrialization.

    From a sustainable life style with access to food and clean water or land to grow food, these people have been thrown into the hellish system of the money economy and have become wage slaves. They have to survive from hand to mouth. Young people still have to travel long distances to school and they are likely to suffer from malnutrition and face other learning disadvantages.

    In general the poor also face more money pressures such as having to pay rent , water and electricity. Every one has been experiencing the sharp rises in food cooking and fuel prices when we have a country (speaking about Sarawak) that has been deprived of cheap fuel electric power and food even though we have oil, dams and land to produce plentiful food. The colonial economic planning is geared to profiting from the deprivation of our country’s wealth and not to alleviating the people’s poverty and sufferings.

    All the poor and oppressed people who are in the majority in Sarawak and Sabah are victims of the colonial conditions intensified over the 48 years of re-colonization of Sabah and Sarawak by UMNO in the British creation of “Malaysia”.

    The tensions created by this colonial system must have created many many unhappy families.

    Fathers or mothers finding it hard to make ends meet must experience much anger when they see people like Taib family and the timber tycoons and cronies living like kings from stolen wealth which rightly should be shared among the many poor in a fair economic system free from racial and economic discrimination. Less than one percent of the people own 99% of the wealth.

    To solve this inequality in our society we must first as people unite to liberate ourselves from UMNO colonial rule.

    Only when we have liberated our country and regained our independence can we plan and work for the transformation of an unhappy nation into a happy nation where the people will be treated equally and afforded equal opportunities. The welfare of Sarawak children will be of paramount importance.

    Comment by Our Sarawak — November 12, 2011 @ 3:31 PM | Reply

  2. In the meantime, duit rakyat Malaysia contributed as tax need protection from the greedy BN.

    Comment by Zizan — November 12, 2011 @ 11:08 AM | Reply

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