Sunday February 3, 2013
What’s really missing is doing our part
The Star Says
THE revelation that an average of 15 people went missing each day in Malaysia last year, the majority of them teenagers, may come as a shock to many.
For those of us who are not part of the statistics, it may seem like an issue that is of no concern to us. But think again.
Peer pressure and social problems are among the reasons why these people go missing. Even if we are not linked to them through blood ties, we may actually be part of the problem.
Some may simply see runaway teens as juvenile delinquents and are quick to point the finger at irresponsible parents who have failed to raise them well.
That is not always the case. In many instances, it is society, of which we are all a part of, that has failed them.
Peer pressure affects even the adults. The race to get ahead, to keep up with the Joneses, and to worship materialism, can drive even the most steady people into difficult situations.
What more our young impressionable minds who have yet to grapple with the harsh realities of life.
When people go missing, the reasons are not always vague or unpredictable. There are clear signs that should raise alarm bells.
From the feedback generated by the William Yau tragedy, it is clear that there are parents who can forget about their young ones when they go shopping. And that there are just as many onlookers who will simply watch, and walk away.
Teenage mothers, for example, are rejected by their very own families, and ostracised by neighbours, leaving little space for them to gain sympathy in their greatest hour of need.
We as a society cannot be judgmental, always quick to condemn, but slow to do our part in creating a compassionate society.
Ultimately, just as people run towards what is good and secure, they will also run away from what is bad and dangerous.
We must care for one another - in our home, in our neighbourhood, in our workplace, and in society at large. Missing people, just like any social problem we can think of, ultimately is the consequence of our very action, or inaction.