Monday, June 8, 2015

On the Kota Kinabalu Earthquake

Although I was 10,000km away when the Sabah earthquake happened, the news hit me hard because it resulted in the death of Singaporeans including young primary school students from a school which I passed by nearly every other day.

My deepest sympathies and condolences go to the parents and family members of the students whose lives were taken away at such a young age.

It is in such a time that we should be sensitive and provide the space for affected family members to mourn and to grieve.

However, what is certainly not helping is the callous remarks and demands by people who are in no way involved or affected by this incident to demand for MOE or TKPS to cancel future field trips or to criticize the teachers and administrators involved. Although the students climbing Mt. Kinabalu may be only 12 years old, they were trained for months before hand and their lives were taken by an earthquake (an act of nature) and not by any form of negligence or misconduct.

To call and demand for schools to cancel all field trips or to criticize the people who are the most stretched during this period is reckless, irresponsible, insensitive and childish.

I understand that some parents can be over protective of their children (resulting in the strawberry generation that is epitomized by the NSF who had his maid carry his field pack for him), however most responsible parents would give the space for their children to stretch their limits and explore their potential.

When I was in choir (yes, I was ever in the choir), my school won the SYF competition and we were sent to Prague to compete. At that time, I didn't manage to participate, not because of an over protective parent but because I couldn't afford it at that time. My mother was extremely distraught, all she could think about were the opportunities she was denying me. Although I repeated many times that I didn't hold it against her, I think, secretly, she carries this guilt to this day.

In the aftermath of this tragedy, the appropriate reaction should not be to reign in our children and be even more protective of them or to criticize school administrators for allowing our children to stretch their horizons. The appropriate reaction should be to band together through this tragedy, lend a hand to support those in need and to remember that life is short. This is why we should allow our children to experience as much of it as possible and to live their lives to the fullest. That is the true Singapore spirit.