Friday January 25, 2013
There are sick people out there
By DORAIRAJ NADASON
The pain of parents who have lost their children is a terrible one. And it gets worse when society turns on the parents. But it has to be the pits when there are people who would victimise such people for their deviant desires.
JUST across the road from a new mosque in Petaling Jaya Selatan is Jalan PJS2C/11N. The road is a narrow lane, with small houses lining it.
No 29 is just like any of the other houses, with a car parked outside the gate and a couple of kap cai motorcycles inside.
But there is one difference.
On the window outside the house is a small A4 poster.
It has a picture of a little girl with her head bent slightly. And with the words: Di Mana Sharlinie? (Where is Sharlinie?)
This is the house where Sharlinie Mohd Nashar lived. Then just five, Sharlinie was snatched from a nearby playground on Jan 9, 2008.
Now, exactly five years and one week later on Jan 16, another child has gone missing in another high-profile case.
William Yau Zhen Zhong went missing while his mother went to check out some washing machines.
And a whole nation is searching frantically, hoping that this case at least would have a happy ending.
The reaction to the Sharlinie case was much like the one to little William. The entire community was mobilised. The Star ran a poster of her, asking anyone who had seen her to come forward.
The many Rukun Tetangga sectors in the area swung into action.
We managed to get then Petaling Jaya Selatan MP Datuk Donald Lim to sponsor 500 copies of The Star.
The posters were cut out from the newspapers, photocopies made and, like a bunch of Ah Long’s runners, the RT folk pasted the posters everywhere – on cars, trees, utility poles, just about anywhere.
Sharlinie, however, remains lost.
Five years on, her parents are reportedly in Terengganu. One hopes that one day, she will return and there will be a happy story for that family.
For now, though, there is only agony. The agony of parents who have lost their children and have to live with the heart-wrenching loss – and the equally painful recriminations.
The pain of a parent who has lost a child is a terrible thing. Seasoned journalists have shed tears at such scenes.
There was the heartbreaking sight of Jazimin Abdul Jalil, holding his dead daughter Nurin Jazlin after she had been found killed and stuffed in a bag; there was Sharlinie’s parents searching desperately.
And there are the forgotten ones.
How many of us remember Satishkumar Tamilvanan? The five-year-old went to buy some sweets at a food court while his lorry driver father and grandfather each thought the other had the boy. The boy has not been seen since.
And then there’s Nisha Chandramohan. She went missing in June 2010. Her mentally-ill grand-aunt took the two-year-old out for a walk. The aunt was found but the child was missing. Search as the parents did, the child remains missing.
The mother has another child but the fate of her first-born remains uncertain – a shadow that will forever hang over her life.
What is worse than the pain the parents feel is the cruelty of the recriminations and the lack of understanding.
Remember the teacher who left her five-year-old in the car only to find him dead five hours later? She made a mistake that she will forever rue and may never forgive herself. She came under a barrage of almost hateful criticism.
Nurin’s father was accused of being an Ah Long debtor and there were insinuations that his daughter’s disappearance was linked to his debts.
The parents of Sharlinie were not spared. They were said to be “careless”. But the mother had thought the girl was with her older sister.
And how about Nurul Nadirah? She was found dead after going to the pasar malam in Johor. The mother had been confident that neighbours would know and protect her child.
It’s bad enough that the community around us does not protect our children. It’s worse when the community turns on the victims.
What William’s mother did was what anyone of us could have done, too. She went to look at washing machines.
We have all done it. A short trip to the ATM, the petrol kiosk counter, to get a packet of nasi lemak for tomorrow’s breakfast – how many of us can say we have never taken our eyes off our children?
So why are there people who still make crank calls, who want RM8,000 for the return of the child or money for information?
And the one that takes the cake – that low-life who wanted saucy pictures of the mother in return for the child. Just how low can they go?
> The writer’s niece was once lost in a supermarket. After a frantic search, the girl was found. With arms akimbo and a scowl on the face, the then little girl wanted to know where everyone had been instead of looking after her.