Monday, March 5

When Days Mean Nothing

Another death, and more questions left unanswered...

This is what the insensitive Health Minister said about the deaths...
"From 2004 to 2007, about 240,000 NS trainees underwent the courses with only eight deaths. In other words, with a population of 240,000, the rate of death is in fact much smaller than that in the general population," he told reporters after attending the MCA Central Committee meeting here today"
Days of Realization

No one taught us the meaning of days when we are born, we live to realize it when we learn things in life. We go forward and we make connections and we live. Thats what families are, thats when bonds are made, thats when we meet people, make friends, look beyond their skin into their heart and live another day for the sake of life itself.

We live in complex and critical times. We make decisions that are not ours, we do things that we dont want to do for the sake of politics and power play. A few years back the powers that be decided that Malaysians need to have a higher degree of unity by way of integration. Now that is a puzzling word, the many times we hear it and the many times we cant put it into context. Politically speaking, this integration means positive interaction of various races that live in this beautiful country for a better future. This came after the critical message that the politicians have deduced saying that the society is segregated more than ever before. This comes nearly 50 years after independence. They viewed this society as broken glasses, shards that cant be put together by time alone. They wanted ways to bring the people together.

Days of Solutions

National Service (NS) or Conscription is an active form of military recruitment practiced in a few countries around the world, most famously in Singapore where it has been implemented for more than 30 years. The question remains if the Malaysian version of conscription is modeled based on the Singaporean NS. The reality is Singapore needed NS because of its relatively small armed forced and the Singaporean model actually delegates the Servicemen into various security forces in that country. Apart from nation building, NS is meant to give a social forum for teenager to interact and bond with other Singaporean. And another sick reality is that, when that happens in Malaysia, its not about the integration of Malaysians, but it will fundamentally remain as the integration of races. People are and will forever be identified by races in this country and why a solution such as the NS came forth is still mind numbing to be explained.

Days of Problems

To describe my country as the sole country practicing uncivilized politics is unfair, we can always refer to the genocides in Africa, but being a leading developing nation and having various countries looking at us for guidance at times, having problems and shutting our eyes to them are stupid to say the least. When the NS is launched hastily, not much organization and training was given to the facilitators. It became evident of the various problems from fights, rapes and discrimination that happens at the camps. Even the idea of segregating the teenagers and shutting the gates to parents for long period of times is wrong. In a society where things can go wrong, it will go wrong. Many deaths have occurred, the numbers are disputed but the reality is someones children is dead because of this INVOLUNTARY recruitment.

The wrongs come because the parents are not given choices in this matter whether to send their children or look into other alternatives. No public opinion is sought over the matter, no briefing has been done of the importance of the program itself. We have no say over who are fit to go and not. The public has no say on which of the training modules can be useful in the long term. There have been various reports of military style exertion on the trainees. There has been trainees who cant stand the pressure and are forced to go beyond their capability.

The worst decision of all is to include females into the program. The Singapore version of the NS doesnt include girls to be trained with the boys. The bare fact is that, the decision makers had made a grave mistake in including female trainees in the camps knowing clearly they cant assure 100% that the safety of these trainees will be safeguarded. There has been reports of rape and it is still happening. Many of the stories that come out will scare the families in sending their children but it is the truth.

When Days Mean Nothing

When E.Prema died on that fateful day of 28th February, another black record goes up against the NS. But the heart wrenching fact is that she died in vain. Now more than ever, after so many deaths, when we would think that the people responsible would come out with honest explanation, we have rumors being thrown every other way. The real truth is not said, and since the funeral has taken place, it will not be known forever. The sad message this death conveys is that it could be any body's children next. The fact that these deaths have been treated with serious lack of sensitivity, from the first death in 2004 where the boy's body was left in the doorsteps of his house much to the sorrow and anger of his family, to the sad words of the father of Prema who traveled 8 hours to collect the body of his daughter who was given to them without a coffin. Is the Health Minister stupid in giving contradictory reports of causes of death compared to the NS Director? Why is there so many things to hide when one truth is all that everyone wants to hear, the parents of Prema wants to hear?

If someone can tell us that this is not disservice to the nation, then what is this? Someone please prove us wrong that because this death is of an Indian, it was not damning enough to cause alarms everyone. Someone please tell us that if this is not gross negligence in part of the government to prevent the death of a child of this nation, then what it is? Discrimination do happen in the camps, rapes do happen, violence do happen, medical situations do happen, DONT downplay the significance of anything!

Does words mean anything?

Prema's death doesn't solve the need of a better way of bringing together people. Sadly, the only common thing that anyone can face is that this is a death of a child that can happen to any family. And to know that tomorrow or next week or next month another trainee will die of mysterious circumstances brings fear to everyone.

Are we Malaysians too stupid to say NO when something we did not approve of in an united voice did take place and took away lives. Will we still shut up of fears of the powers that be suppressing us and watch our children fall one by one. Will we come out and stand with a singular voice that this conscription is illegal and unlawful and must be stopped until a proper way of conducting it is studied and approved?

Will the lives of the ones gone too soon be returned?

The unity of a nation depends on equal rights of living. When there is a lack in living standards for some, and a special few enjoy the greater share of the wealth, the same problems will cycle. When politics takes a bigger role than the value of a persons life, when politics hides behind the mask of race and religion how can we ever hope of achieving unity.

Putting people into camps and expecting integration is as stupid as the idea of the Holocaust to create a better world race. Death is not a solution, not ever. Where is the logic of a 3 months integration course when in the universities and offices we have people segregated because of race and religion, because we are asked to accommodate to the needs of the few special people or the needs of the powerful.

You come to me with the face of a human, and I will carry you till I die, you come to me with the face of your religion and I will still carry you till the day my legs stop, but will you do the same for me if I am already a human but I'm not the same colour as you?

[+] Some links of the death of E.Prema;[Bernama],[BernamaPhotos],[Star],[Star2]

[*] I am deeply sorry if I used the death of a loved one of a family to put a case against the needs and wrongs of a nation. We should not be called the matyrs of a modern age because we die for a wrong cause, and I believe strongly when the need comes for the people to stand and ask why, then the question must be answered. And our prayers will forever be to the ones who passed away because they made us realize how precious is life. May God Bless everyone.


Casper said...

Hello Interpreter,
Been a while. (dont ask!)

if there is one thing that pulls together all the life in you, it has to be things like this... sad though, that we are not allowed to experience it in other ways...

**We make decisions that are not ours, we do things that we dont want to do**

PS: what happened to the contest?

Keshi said...

so true...our decisons r always controlled by others (directly or indirectly) matter what! SAD.


alex said...


In countries where so called development is high, freedom is less.

Anonymous said...

“Half the worry in the world is caused by people trying to make decisions before they have sufficient knowledge on which to base a decision.” - Dean Hawkes

Need I say more ??

Prema. E, a stranger you might be to many of us, but our prayers are one. May your soul rest in peace. And may He bless your family at this testing time. :-)

Pauline said...

You have been doing some deep thinking. Searching within is always good. However, we do not always find the answers to our questions! Keep the faith. We are but little pawns in this game of life. We struggle to make the right choices in our lives. Sad that we do not always feel connected to the decisions of those in authority, yet we have no choice but to keep moving forward...
Were your judges ever able to make a decision in the short story contest? I have not been able to find time to read every story as yet, I'm working on that! Keep a smile in your heart.

Jeevan said...

Sorry to hear about prema! When it happens to a national service trainer, who is response for her life? The health minter’s comment is like stupid, is it smaller or larger the life is one, it goes never comes.

tulipspeaks said...

much have said about Prema's death and safety of the trainees at large. we can discuss as much as we can, gp. but in the end, the decision lies in the hands of so-called insensitive ppl. we don't even have the option of not sending our kids to NS. :S


,\m/ said...

here i must insist that the m*******n government is retarded.

NS was a bad idea.. there are enuf ppl as it is.

if u wanna implement it.. dont advertise it as a melting pot for races.

give a person a chance to decide if they wanna go or not.

lastly i aint M*****ian.. but seriously being here 10 years.. really opens the veil on retardedness


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