To what extent could we push children at motivational camps? We can’t throw live snakes at them to hasten their exit from a muddy pit. That has been established after an uproar over the python incident at the Perak Civil Defence’s (APM) headquarters in Kuala Kangsar last weekend.
This extreme measure came to light, thanks to the social media. But it wasn’t the first case of adult instructors riding roughshod over children.
Back in the days when there no social media to expose the errant ways at motivational camps, the wrongful parties had gotten away scot free.
A former pupil of a primary school in the Klang Valley, who only wants to be identified as Haslinda, shares her ordeal at the hands of such motivators. Now 32, she recalls how she was ordered to kiss the road until the trainer was satisfied.
“We were also asked to start a fire by blowing on a branch on a tarred road until the trainer was satisfied,” she says. “The trainers also ordered us to talk to stones and lamp posts.
“While doing all these, the participants of the camp had to carry an egg. We had to walk in drains and protect the eggs at all times. Otherwise, we would be punished.”
When Haslinda went on to secondary school also in the Klang Valley, she attended similar motivational camps, some of which were conducted by military officers.
“We went through similar situations as the pupils of SK Beluru where were awaken in the wee hours of the morning, yelled at, and sent to sit alone in the jungle of Bukit Kemensah. We were only 14 then.
“In another motivational camp I attended, we were told to wade through a river which was polluted. It was during the time when the country had a JE virus (Japanese Encephalitis) breakout and we were told that the nearby area was where they dumped the infected livestock.
“I remember the water being black and oily, and none of us knew what was in the water. If we refused to cross the river we were threatened with punishment. I was only praying that my feet would not get stuck in the soft soil while several participants lost their shoes.
“When I returned from that camp, I had to throw away my clothes as there were soaked with tar that polluted the river,” says Halinda.APM’s deputy commissioner Roslan Wahab said the incident of having children jumped into the mud pit “should not have happened”. Had other pupils been put through such drills?
What happens when you send children to motivational camps conducted by those in the civil defence? Are the children able to deal with the harsh drills at the camps?
The APM may have distanced itself from the incident, saying the use of animals was not in its module. But more importantly, it needs to look into how it deals with children in motivational camps so as not to scar them for life. Military-style training exercises are not meant for children. Even some adults are not able to handle them.
Source : Soo Wern Jun@The Heat Malaysia Online