Spare The Child

What I saw on the front page of The Star today was horrifying, although am not totally surprised that things like this happen on a daily basis. A single mother, who has been raising this 5-year old boy, has been venting the steam off on the latter.

While I agree that kids need to be taught discipline as they grow up (as it would be tougher to make kids toe-the-line when they are much older), the use of physical force should, in my opinion, only be administered as a last resort, only to serve as reminders, and not to physically stop them in their tracks. Kids also should not be used (or in this context, abused) by parents to vent off steam. If parents who think that it is okay to abuse their children, please continue to do so until they attain the age of 18-20. Either you would be lucky to get away with it unscathed or uninjured, or you may never see them again. It is the emotional scars that will keep hurting the child. As a result, you, as the parent, will live to die alone and unattended, and/or unloved by your own children.

I started disciplining my children the moment they learnt how to walk. Whenever they touch something they are not supposed to, I would gently rap or pinch their hands and tell them not to touch things. This is to teach them not to touch things, especially in other people’s home, and not to take things that are not theirs. Once conditioned, they will never go around touching things. As they grow older, I use reasoning, in the simplest of ways initially, and guide them with reasons when they are able to think and analyse better. When I scold them, I let them be, sideline them for a while (usually overnight if it is in the evening) so that the lessons would sink in, before I allow them to see that I am already soft towards them.

The next step would be the two warnings, followed by a final warning. Hard-headed attitudes get harder corrective measures that are almost always instantly effective – a quick isolation in a dark room or toilet would usually do the job. I have only used my belt on my eldest daughter when she was 13 for going out after school without informing anyone prior; and my second daughter also when she was 13, when she played truant and went to a shopping mall with her classmates. Only two days later would I explain to them the possible repercussions of their actions. I have never used any other methods on them, or use them to vent off steam – even when I was having problems with my ex-wife. During those days, I was more open towards my children as I was the only parent they would see on a daily basis, the only one who would show them love.

If you have problems, and you need to vent out your anger, go kick a ball or go to a karaoke joint. If else fails, go punch a wall or kick a roman column as hard as you could. Don’t hit your children when they have done nothing wrong to you. Go seek psychiatric help!

Children are God’s gift to us, giving us the responsibility to nurture and guide and love them. They never asked to be born into this society where hate comes free. We, as parents, should be the one to guide them and prepare them for the real world. When they are in trouble, they want us, the parents, to be there for them, to help them back onto their own two feet. You cannot demand respect from them, you must earn and command that respect. You cannot set standards that they should follow, instead guide them to do what they want to do, and support them.

There is a saying in Malay: “Anak itu rezeki” (loosely translated as “your child is your livelihood”), and I firmly believe in that. If you show your love to the children, plus the invaluable guidance that you have given them, they will come back to you, and shower you with love, and care for you when you are older.

I was on the verge of tears, reading about the boy who’s been abused since he was two, and seeing his pictures; with his lower jaw almost devoid of teeth, his upper jaw showing chipped teeth, swollen and cut lips, scars on the head and almost all over the body, he could still muster a smile at the camera saying:

“Saya sayang mak tapi mak pukul, mak pukul rotan besar (I love my mother, but she beats me. She beats me with a big cane)”

Such a big heart he has for his monster-of-a-mother.

More Tasks, More Pay (Hopefully)

Upon my return to the office after a week’s absence, I was summoned into my CEO’s office. With him inside was a subsidiary’s Business Development Manager.

“Dato’ wants you to be the HSE Manager for two subsidiaries over and above your current pose in the holding company. Are you okay with this?” my boss asked me.

“As long as I’m paid for each of the posts I’ll be taking up, and sent to attend the relevant courses,” I replied.

“Whatever it takes,” he replied.

Away For Four Days

It’s been a hectic week for me at the office as usual – the endless meetings and mad rushes. Not only do I have to look into the operational aspects of the vessels, drilling rigs, and office matters – I also have to plan the move of our office into our spanking new 18-storey corporate tower end of this year.

At the GOPB-PP sailway ceremony

On Friday I was asked to represent my boss to the yard for a sailway ceremony of a topside (there were two, one sailed away in March 2009). I slept at 2am the previous night watching the repeat of American Idol that I missed due to a meeting with a ships’ broker over dinner. I woke up at 4am, showered, kissed Wifey on the forehead before leaving for the office where the driver was already waiting for me. I only arrived back home at 6pm, then went for a movie date with Wifey. That day ended at 5am on Saturday (yesterday). Then last night we hosted dinner for the usual suspects, especially for Aiz, who is now two months into her first trimester of her first pregnancy.

Wifey and her gang

This morning I spent the whole morning lying in bed, hugging Wifey. In half an hour, I’ll be leaving her for 4 days to do my offshore survival course down south. Although it won’t be as long as when she went to Bandung while I went to Sipadan, but nevertheless, it is always difficult for me to go through a single night without her. I’m going to miss sniffing the back of her neck every time I wake up in the morning, hugging her from the back. We didn’t do much today…just that, and went out for a lunch date, and now we’re back in bed again…and I haven’t even packed.

I know it was easy for me to go off for a long duration when I was much younger, but I guess age and the fact that the love we have for each other seem to grow more each day, makes separation a painful process. But I guess it has to do more with age – where I am now, I just want to spend the rest of this life as much as possible, in the presence of my loved ones.

Wifey and I - Saturday 16th May 2009

Well, Blow Me Down!

A couple days ago, a Singaporean man got his penis bitten off accidentally by his secretary while the latter was giving him a blowjob inside the former’s car at a park in Singapore. A van accidentally hit the back of the car and gave her a jolt.

That must have been a great blow to him.

Pandemic Epidemic

When I was much younger, they told me that pigs cannot fly.

Well, we now have Swine Flew.

The WHO has just raised the alert level to Phase 5 now, meaning that there has been human-to-human outbreaks in two countries and that a global pandemic is imminent.

Hang on!

The Spanish Flu (as opposed to Spanish Fly) outbreak in 1918 killed more than 18 million people worldwide, but I remember it was called the Spanish Flu epidemic. So, when was this epidemic term changed to pandemic?

Well, a pandemic is usually referred to a disease that is prevalent throughout an entire country, continent or the whole world; an epidemic refers to the appearance of a disease in a large number of people at the same time. A pandemic is used to indicate a far higher number of people affected than in epidemic, where the outbreak covers a much larger area. An epidemic is used in cases where more cases than normally expected appears in an area. Most of the time they are localised, but in some cases they do appear in other pockets as well.

If you ask me, the usage depends on how much scare do they want to instill in people, and which newspaper wants more sensational news. Epidemic used to be the scare of times; you never hear of the word anymore. AIDS was an epidemic, and in the end too much scare tactics have left people numb. So, up the scare-scale and call it a pandemic. Once, in the near future, people go about their lives nonchalantly, they will have to up the scale again and call it a megademic. The apex and mother of all scares would be apocademic.

I’ll just call it a disease that spreads like any other flu, with higher chance of death occuring than the normal flu. Then again, even the type of flu that is going around and have affected 5/6 of the people in my household is of a stronger strain than normal. Globalisation has brought about different cocktails of virus – Peach Margarita, Strawberry Margarita…all Margaritas.

I wonder if an organ donor dies of the Swine Flu, would the organ bank use his/her organs?

Anyway, it would be interesting to refer to a medical book written by some Muslim scholars in India on what to do when faced with imminent death, organ donation, or even post-mortem. As books on Islam normally get banned if they are found to be misleading, this book is still on the bookshelves of some of the more famous bookstores of Kuala Lumpur. The book is called Contemporary Medical Issues In Islamic Jurisprudence, edited by Qazi Mujahidul Islam Qasmi of India. This book is a compilation of discussion papers by a group of Muslim scholars at the first Fiqh (jurisprudence) seminar in New Delhi in April 1989. Of course, none of the scholars are qualified medical experts, and I doubt very much that any of them have even become a cleaner in a private clinic or a hospital.

In this book, a Mawlana (a Mawlana is a protector, from the root word wali. In Islam, only God is a wali, but of course, myopic extremists would also want someone divine to walk amongst them – we see this happening in Malaysia too where no one can say anything bad about an Ulama, a mere mortal, whom to them can do no wrong) from Mumbai called Shams Peerzadah presented his concern about bodies being mutilated after death for organs, and that bodies should be wholly intact for burial. He wrote:

Medical science should better attempt to do the miracle of transforming the soul of an ill person into the body of a healthy one, instead of raising a man beside a corpse, so the very need of transplantation of organs and mutilation of a dead body would not come across, and an entirely intact corpse may remain for burial. This controversy may be resolved this way so that its very basis would no more exist.

You get someone and regard him as an authority on religion, feeding you with hogwash like this, then this in itself becomes an epidemic – a mental epidemic; another swine in our midst.

For me, to avoid getting the Swine Flu is to get myself underwater – away from swines like the above.

Aznan and I underwater at Sipadan - April 2009