Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Political campaigns - leave children out please.

Malaysiakini - S'gor top cop: We acted to save under-aged cyclists.

Malaysiakini reported that Selangor CPO, Khalid Abu Bakar, said “the police stopped a team of more than 50 riders in Jerit's ‘Ride for Change' campaign in Rawang yesterday in order to save under-aged cyclists from being exploited.”

'... in order to save under-aged cyclists from being exploited ...'? wakakaka

Apparently 28 out of the 50 cyclists apprehended were under the age of 18 – hey man, for f* sake lah, when I was 17 I had already started working to support my family. At this age we shouldn't be considered as kiddies anymore

Leaving aside my personal experience (and probably those of zillions of teenagers like me who were from families which needed cash badly to survive) this revelation would have under normal circumstances sounded rather terrible, where we learnt that teenagers have been involved with political rallies (no doubt of a cycling kind) instead of studying … but

… no one really gives a sh*t about what the CPO said … because the bloke is so deeply distrusted, disliked and despised by many people.

But put that antipathy for the CPO aside too ..... in truth, I notice that there has been a growing tendency to use (or take along) very very young ones to political rallies and other including young kiddies in some candlelight vigils [eg. the one in Penang recently], following a rally or sending a subteen sweetheart to present the PM with bouquets of roses and whatnot.

I personally don’t approve of putting such tender sweeties in harm’s way, especially more so with the known notoriety of our dear police.

I believe the parents of those kids so ‘assigned’ or taken along have been either very naïve or quite irresponsible.

While I support protest rallies including candlelight vigils on principles of freedom of expressions, I don't the misuse, unwitting or otherwise, of children for political posturing.


  1. KT, i just blogged about the same CPO and you summarized it well.
    at 17 and 18 and riding bikes to express themselves... ok what. Do they want the teens to go in rempit bikes?

  2. If government play propaganda to fools the people, including the young one, isn't the parent responsibilities to create awareness for their young one?

  3. ".. in order to save under-aged cyclists from being exploited."

    Selangor CPO Khalid Abu Bakar should volunteer to go to Somalia and save 15 year-old kiddies who are serving as child soldiers in the civil war

  4. KT, I fully agree with you.It is very irresponsible for the parents and the organisers to allow school children to take part in this kind of rallys/protests.Please let them complete their studies.Please do not play with their future.


  5. Ummm...I agree about not involving children in possibly political rallies - as in young children.

    But I beg to differ on 18 year olds as they hardly count as children - old enough to vote in many countries, old enough to join the military (including in Malaysia) - potentially to kill or be killed on behalf of politicians, certainly not too young to start getting aware politically.

    Similar kinds of arguments have been used to perpetuate the AUKU alias UCCA, in my opinion one of the contributing factors to the moribund intellectual life in Malaysian universities.

  6. Of course 17 and 18 years are okey. But some of them are as young as 13. Visit Jed Yoong, she was one of the participants.

  7. where did my long comment went to?

    no time to repeat the long comment. the gist of what i said was that the jerit campaign and the anti ISA vigil are not political campaigns. they have nothing to do with politics. deat ktemoc, don't confuse your pretty head over politics and NOG/concerned individuals campaigns.
    (also made some comments re: the penang anti ISA vigil you mentioned. what crap are you talking about involving children in politics!!!)

    note: if my long comment appear after all, please delete this.

  8. observer, agreed, as I had posted "Apparently 28 out of the 50 cyclists apprehended were under the age of 18 – hey man, for f* sake lah, when I was 17 I had already started working to support my family. At this age we shouldn't be considered as kiddies anymore"

    I made a distinction between 17/18 year olds and the subteens like 5, 6, 7 the real kiddies etc


    my dearest Lucia, aiyoh, all protests (anti ISA, shortage of food, oil prces, in support of homeless, etc) regardless of whether organized by political parties or NGOs or even individuals would be political messages, hence are/were political in nature and accordingly politics.

    Don't be mistaken that candlelight vigils to protest against someone detained or against ISA weren't political messages. But for sure, those weren't festive family events to take (subteen) kiddies along - height of parental irresponsibilities, especially considering (as I had stated) the notoriety of our police and their propensity for brutal suppression

    That 5 or 6 year old sweetheart's photo appeared in many blogs like zorro's, where she was praised and virtually offered as an icon to be idolized - as if sweetheart knew what had happened or what she had participated in???

    Sollee lah, I didn't and still don't support such misuse of kiddies at political rallies.

  9. I remember a big brouhaha made in the Australian press when locked out members of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) brought their kids to protest their loss of livelihood-when things became heated and the brutal coppers moved in they were accused of putting their children in danger. I beg to differ. As their livelihoods were at risk, so was the welfare of their children, and second the police initiate dthe crackdown, not the protestors (I was at some of these rallies).

    The responsibility for minors is not one parents take lightly, and I for one don't believe that any decision to take their children to rallies is made should they think it would turn violent. I am not in favour of moralising to such parents. Sure things may turn badly but if parents really thought they will, how many would have brought their kids along to begin with, not to mention that most times, the violence is perpetrated by those in uniform, not the protestors.

    Parents pass on their values to thir children, and fight for their betterment-taking a 6 year old to an anti-ISA rally is imparting values and is for the betterment of the child's future. Its a tough call, but the parents call. Perhaps when we have a free and fair legal system and democracy, they'll be no need for protests. If I had children, I'd be proud to bring them out to protest.

    I started at age 9 in Sabah - while my parents did not encourage me and my sister we did sneak out and find our political voice. I have since participated in many protests in Australia and have been arrested a few times, more often than not on the whim and fancies of the Queensland Police Force, despite being no Tian Chua (I assure you-that man is nuts but kudos to his bravery). In some of these rallies, children abound, in others they are not present at all but usually it involves large stratas of the community (even if the numbers are admittedly small). I salute their parents.

  10. Parvinder,

    a few questions for you:

    (i) you mentioned "... Parents pass on their values to thir children, and fight for their betterment-taking a 6 year old to an anti-ISA rally is imparting values ..." - really, how much does a 5-6 year old kid know about the cause, let alone the value, of the political stand? Let's be honest here!

    (ii) you also stated: "... that most times, the violence is perpetrated by those in uniform, not the protestors ..." yet you mentioned "If I had children, I'd be proud to bring them out to protest." - really? And do you have children at those tender years?

    (iii) can you compare the assertiveness of the Aus (even QLD) police with the ferocity of our Malaysian police?

    You may salute those parents. I would too, but only if they exercise their personal conviction and brave stand against oppression, poor official governance and corruption minus their children of tender years, and I will continue to condemn their irresponsibility towards their subteen children.

    The truth is many such 'organizers' of anti government rallies either encourage or passively allow their participants to bring their children along (without exercising due diligence by informing the parents of the possible consequences to the children) as if the rallies, vigils, whatnots would be peaceful family affairs (with hands waving a la 'we are the World'), but with the hope that:

    (i) the police may be deterred from brutal suppression of the rallies due to the presence of (preferably subteen) children - this is not only high stake poker against the police which could go very very wrong, but in a way, using small kids as 'human shields', and

    (ii) should the poo hit the fan, the police would look real bad, with the victimhood of the protestors and their political cause enhanced or at least receiving the high profile publicity they seek in the first place.

    Some parents are either totally unaware of the consequences ("aiyah, we were only singing "We are the World" ma!") or naive enough to take up the bravado challenge.

    I am never brave with the lives of other people or more importantly, that of their chidlren.

  11. Bringing young children, disabled or handicapped people to these event captures media attention, the ultimate objective.

    This is what they want.

    Whether they practice what they preach is a totally different matter.

  12. Ktemoc,

    (i) Kids pick up on parental behaviour very quickly-we see taht all the times, which is why we mind our manners in front of them. They are more perceptive than we give them credit for.

    (ii) Haven't I said I don't have kids, but that if I did I would bring them out to protest. If I knew 100% they'll be trouble of course not, but in fact most protests pass through peacefully-really only those which don't tend to make the press.

    (iii) Police brutality is police brutality-just because I do not have to live in fear of the M'sian police does not mean that the Aussie version (and especially the still Joh Bjelke inspired QLD ones) are actually very nice. I've seen first hand their behaviour when cameras are not present, and I've seen how the govt continues to defend them. I've seen my friends arm broken by a copper who then arrests him for 'assaulting a police officer!' Last I checked the officer was a dinky-die Aussie John Smith and not a bumiputera BTN brain washed Abdullah bin Mohammad. This is not to mention all the time I've been harassed by these people in uniform, even when I'm just walking home by myself late at night, not to mention during rallies and protests. Those living on Palm Island may well have laugh at your statement, seeing how the police turned that place into a virtual war zone.

    I said I won't moralise to the parents of these children-you wish to and that is your right, but the MUA protestors who brought their kids to fight for their jobs and their welfare were not as irresponsible as the press makes out. People have their reasons for bringing their kids-yes some use them as 'human shields' which I would agree is not right; others to impart their values, which I think I agree with. Sure it's safer bringing your kids to the opera to impart your knowledge of the arts, but sooner or later they too must participate in the betterment of their own futures. And till they are 18, that is their parents call, not yours.

    In short, I don't think I'm in any position to lecture such parents, and I do not pass judgement on them. It is complicated enough already as it is. I rather spend my time fighting the rotten system, not attacking those who bring their kids to rallies, because then I'd be missing the point.

  13. Polis Raja Di Malaysia are so full of Sh*t. Picking on harmless teenage cyclists, while hardened criminals and thugs roam the city streets with impunity.

    A week ago a female relative fell down on the road (fortunately didn't injure her head) after a snatch thief on a motorbike pushed her down but failed in his first attempt to grab her bag.

    So confident and fearless were the attackers, they actually dared to turn around to have a second go at her bag. Luckily some civic conscious passers-by came to help her, one of them brandishing a steel steering lock, which deterred the snatch thief's 2nd attempt.

    The Police, as you may suspect, were nowhere to bee seen (too busy massing up against Jerit cyclists ?)

  14. Parvinder, your "I rather spend my time fighting the rotten system, not attacking those who bring their kids to rallies, ..." has been the unkindest cut of all.

    My criticisms were hardly attacks, and borned out of concerns for kids. Some parents need to be made aware of what potential brutalities they could have subjected or be subjecting their children to in their euphoric participation in public protests with their kids.

    Anyway, let's agree to disagree on the issue of kids being present at rallies or vigils which have the potential to invite brutal police actions.

  15. KT, you don't approve of people using young ones. Ok, so go tell it to the former Chief Minister and while you are at it, please help to re-open the case with fresh evidence from the expert in young ones, the CPO himself.

  16. have we switched scene to Malacca? wakakaakakakakakakaaaaaa

  17. Sir Cliff Richard- My favourite singer in my teenage days -

    The Young Ones,
    Darling We're the Young Ones
    And the Young Ones
    Shouldn't Be Afraid

    To Live, Love,
    While the Flame is Strong
    'Cause we may not be the Young Ones
    Very Long

    Why Wait Until Tomorrow ?
    'Cause Tomorrow
    Sometimes Never Comes

    So Love Me
    There's a song to be sung
    And the best time is to sing
    While We're Young

  18. A few days ago, an American 8 year-old boy shot dead his father and another man for scolding him. And he has not yet joined JERIT

  19. gee, i dunno what happened. again my comments made yesterday didn't come out. strange. maybe i didn't type the word verification properly and thought my comments had gone through.

    what i said was i agree to agree fully with the logcial, matured views of parvinder.

    well yes protests may have political messages but what i meant was the organisers and participants are all non partisans or came from ALL political sides, not only one sides... thus the protests are not political campaigns (unless it is one same party that organised it)

    do you have kids, ktemoc? have you particpated in any malaysian protests before? uh oh sorry think this is irrelevant, so forget it.

    the thing is you are so negative and such a pessimistic. you keep on saying protests will attract police brutality so we shouldn't bring our kids. how sure you are? it might and it might not. if everyone thinks like you, mati-lah. no one wants to join protests. as parvinder had mentioned, parents do know what they are getting into when they bring their kids to protests. you straight away blame the parents that they purposely bring kids for sympathy or when police attack, they will blame police for attacking kids and so on. such a narrow minded pessimistic thinking.

    ok i have to agree to strongly disagree with you. too bad. actually for a number of your posts i had already disagree with you but i no speak up. this time i spoke up when you mentioned the penang vigil.

  20. My dear Lucia, we, Parvinder, you and me, all don't have kids lah ;-)

    Protests OK, but why take kids along - I'm not against protests per se, but only against parents taking along lil' sweeties. And what riles me even more is when the presence of those sweeties are publicized as if that's fantastic.

    No, that's irresponsible, considering the potential danger for the kids.

    So, my dear, don't accuse me of being pessimistic about protests. I'm not. If I am a parent, I may protest (that is, only if I consider the cause worthwhile) but I will never take subteen kids to such public gatherings which have a high probability of attracting police actions.

    I believe as a parent (assuming I am one) I should think of my kids' wellbeing - their absence won't make a damn difference to the protest other than (i) to deny the rally or vigil the added publicity, and (ii) to deny the protestors a kiddie human shield.

    Aiyah, Lucia, we care friends but it doesn't necessarily mean we have to agree all the time lah - afterall, a large number of protests today have been about freedom fo expressions, choices, democratic processes, etc - thus we should practise that ourselves too, and respect each other for doing so.

  21. there you go again - another point surfaced - parents take kids to protest for publicity.

    yes no doubt about it you are negative and pessimistic.

    oh and i'm not a kid myself to not to be aware of your last para, so please do not preach to me lah.

  22. The Jerit kids should have used Cub motorcycles with sporty rims, modified engines and helmets with many stickers on them. And do wheelies, stunts, & noisy drag races on public roads. Followed by attacking & mugging people.

    And change the name of their org from JERIT to REMPIT.

    Then the cops won't bother them, as they usually do.

  23. My dear Lucia,

    In my comment I wrote:

    (i) "... what riles me even more is when the presence of those sweeties are publicized as if that's fantastic."

    Please note I didn't say the parents themselves publicized the kiddies' presence.

    (ii) "... my kids' wellbeing - their absence won't make a damn difference to the protest other than (i) to deny the rally or vigil the added publicity, ..."

    KIndly note again I didn't say the parents themselves publicized or wanted to publicize the kiddies' presence.

    But you wrote: "there you go again - another point surfaced - parents take kids to protest for publicity."

    My dear, please don't put words in my mouth lah - aiyoyo, at least be fair and accurate in your criticisms of poor kaytee.