Posted on January 1, 2012


Why would any parent chain two young children and leave them alone for any amount of time in the bathroom/toilet? What extreme circumstances would drive any human being let alone a parent of the children to do such a thing?

From reported accounts, a brother of the parent as well as neighbours and even the police have spoken well of the parent concerned. If so, are these chains for reasons of love or callousness?

The usual reaction following first reports of the case naturally and understandably condemned the unconscionable act.

My concern is how frequently this kind of incidents may be happening and whether, given the fiercely guarded privacy of modern society, such things may be occuring in my own neighbourhood without my knowledge since I too strive to lead a very private life (as in minding one’s own business).

If indeed such things are happening, then helpless children may be subjected to unimaginable and indescribable suffering which will not only cause immediate painful hurts but also long term emotional scars.

Known cases can be dealt with by rescuing the children and seeing to their safe keeping while bringing the parent involved to justice. But, as in this particular case, separating the children from a parent they know and love, and rehabilitating him may prove to be a very difficult and long process traumatising the children further and also rendering the parent jobless and thus, setting the family finances into a far worst situation.

What about cases that have not being uncovered in time or cases that is ongoing without public knowledge? Prevention is indeed better than cure and education for parents, rich or poor, is urgently needed and should be widely accessible. In addition, child-minding services and facilities especially for parents in poorer income groups will be more effective to save the children from such plights than just the usual rounds of public condemnation of guilty parents each time a child abuse case is uncovered. Talk no matter how right is cheap.

Here, child-minding facilities in government offices is a good and thoughtful initiative which should be expanded further and also emulated by private corporations as well. Residence associations, churches and other charitable organisations could further enhance accessibility of such facilities to desperate parents by starting similar programmes.

Making New Year resolutions as individuals alone is seldom enough. In this matter, we the neigbours, public, government and civil society must also be similarly resolved to deal with this social problem. Safeguarding helpless children should be a very high priority in the home, school and society at large.

Posted in: Perspective