Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Sekolahku Rumahku - BS?!

I had a class last Friday and the lecturer mentioned something about the caretakers in school. Administrators, teachers, gardeners, the makcik kantin, the pak guard - these people all play the role of caretakers in the school. And then, all of a sudden, our lecturer stopped and asked, "Hmm...but how much can you trust the caretakers in school?" Good question.

So many things that you would not expect to happen in school happened in school. Students bashing up students to death, teacher fracturing a kid's skull with her high heels, teachers fighting in school. How do you entrust your kids to the school when these things are happening and not much is done to prevent them from happening again?

I mean, students bashing up each other is not something new. When I was in my very notorious secondary school, I often heard of gang fights (which involved the Bangladeshi helper in the canteen, lots of students, outsiders, parangs and much later, the police). What can be done to prevent it? Well, our headmistress got one of the inspectors to come and be a regular guest in our school. But his own son then became a victim of a hit and run, suspected of being caused by a revenge-seeker.

And when you talk about teachers being the caretaker...well, that is another BIG question. Not that I am saying that ALL teachers are lousy, in fact I think most of my coursemates will make great teachers. But great teachers are like a few drops of water in an ocean of sea. Many of us would have encountered lousy teachers, and some even teachers who molest, torture or have a nut loose somewhere in their brains. How many of us can truly say that in our 11 years of compulsory schooling, that we have met 5 great teachers?

I was lucky that I went to a school where the makcik kantin, the gardener and the pak guard were sane and nice people. What can you say about these people these days? When security companies do not investigate the background of their employees and (I do not think) the ministry do not check the cleanliness of food preparation or the environment or the people in the food-making process, anything could happen.

My lecturer related this case of another lecturer who went to pick up her child from school in the evening and noticed a girl was waiting near the guard house alone. I think my lecturer must have sat in the car for a long time because when she finally decided to take her child home, it was already 7+ p.m. And she was so worried about the lone girl that she turned back to the school to see if she was still there.

I suppose most people wil let their guards down when they are in a school or education institution. Would you still hold your handbag in front of you when you are in a school area or in the university? Would you still be so wary of the environment when you are getting into your car in a school compound or in the university? I think many of you would most probably say "No".

Ironically, after that lecture, I was still thinking about the safety of children in school when I was disturbed by some renovation workers in the University. In my faculty. The route which I have taken thousands of time, in broad daylight, in front of the main road, and these barbarians have the nerve to disturb me. I mean, cat-calling is common when these barbarians are around, I suppose. But to the point when this idiot walked towards me so closely?? I ran.

I don't know what his intention was and I thank God that I would never find out, but this is over the limit. I dare say that I am rather alert whenever I am alone. But I had put my guards down when I thought I was in a safe area, i.e. University. This incident had resulted in naggings from various people. And it just made me think: are we not safe anywhere anymore?

Think about it. Can we continue allowing these barbarians to rule the world? I believe that in 10 people, only 1 is bad, 3 are good and the others are indifferent. If you are an indifferent person, I ask you: can you continue being that? Can you continue letting the very foundation of our social structure, crumble? Raise good kids and don't have any if you don't think you are able to - that's my stand. Don't make the world a worse place than it already is. Think about it.

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