The Tale of the Rohingyar Boat People

I read the Robinson Crusoe authored by the late Daniel Defoe years ago; it journaled the life of a shipwrecked man stranded on an island with no inhabitants.  There he painstakingly learned how to kindle a fire, hunt for food, and make a house out of a cave, among other things.  He learned how to survive on his own, fighting his way through cannibals and captives and mutineers.  In the end, he was “found” after 28 long years, and brought back to the shores of England.

Now that is his story.

It’s a sad, sad, really sad world out there. Gloom is monopolizing its dirty little antics, shadowing all the horrifying terror. To hear of so much pain, so much suffering breathing humans are enduring day by day – it’s quite upsetting.  I opened up the newspapers today to find the first two pages complete with news about the incredibly devastating plight of a large group of Myanmar migrants stranded on a boat with absolutely no food and no water.  Oh god, how have they been able to survive so long onboard?  Ten of them have already died; the rest are starving to death with nothing appropriate for life.  Imagine having to rely solely on survival instincts when every other instinct has worn out itself.  This can become pressing, which I have no doubt already begun circling about among the migrants.

The Rohingyar migrants. (Image credits to BBC News)

The distraught, anguished faces of the children and men and women on the boat speak of their intolerable desperation. No place to go, no food, no water.  To think that these are the first of the basic psychological needs that must be inherently met. Without these basic building blocks, stress sets in, first mentally, and then physically.  Because things that used to fall within their internal locus of control starts to slip away from their grasp – fast.  Depression caves in. Worst still, when one sees their loved ones dying of ill health and whatever else.

I agree with Marina Mahathir that we need to head out to the Andaman seas and provide urgent aid.  Malaysia has more than enough resources to provide for the needy.  Furthermore, time is running out – it is already night and soon a new day will dawn.  Let there be no hate, no prejudice, no questioning as to who where, and how they belong.  They are simply humans like us.  Humans who have the right to live, and should be treated accordingly.

There lies a verse in the Scriptures: “Do unto thy neighbors as thy would do unto thyself.”  Probably putting ourselves in their shoes might help.  Being stuck in a floating boat is not the same as being stuck in a fertile island – this is real life, not a movie.  It is more of a matter of life and death.  It is not their fault that they chose to leave their land in the first place.  To have wanted to leave the country in hopes of a better future for one’s family, only to have them shattered because of ill-knowledge, is the most unfortunate thing that could happen to a perfectly okay human being.

I fear what will happen to the younger Myanmar generation.  I fear if the boat is left abandoned, and everyone onboard dies of sickness and hunger.  I fear also, if the ship is left abandoned, and the migrants find their way out to land – and tear upon every other person they see, because they have developed a resilience over torture and have turned their back against Mankind who failed to help them.  I fear for the plight of the migrants as they continue to live ahead with their lives, and yet because of the experience develop PTSD or any other form of psychological disease.  I fear also for the safety of everyone else, that they may become indirect victims of this traumatizing condition.

Because they are only human.

A silent prayer passes my lips for their rescue.

Alicia Ai Leng

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The Tale of the Rohingyar Boat People by Alicia Ai Lengis licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


Hug-a-Child Day

Every child was brought into this world with the potential to build a brighter future – for himself, for his family, for the community, for the nation. He bounded in with an abundance of love, light, and joy for those around him. Isn’t it sad to realize that a large percentage of these children are harshly treated by ruthless adults who claim to nurture them.

A child is a beauty of his own. His eyes carry a look of innocence that can only be stained by older people who are filled to the brim with impurity.

In the newspapers. child abuse is not a new phenomenon. Physical and sexual assault of children has been ongoing for centuries. It seems as if older people take pleasure in finding reason to target innocent ones. But whatever for? Perhaps it gives these so-called adults a sense of power and authority to know that they are in control of something. Nonetheless, what is so great if they want to be so in control of children. Speaking on my own point of view, it is more like bullying. Bullying, because the weaker ones are taken advantage of.

One of the most horrific reports I have ever come across in the papers is a child sex-abuse syndicate in Australia which offered services over the Web. It is something like real-time sexual abuse on children around five to twelve years old that occurs over a visitor’s paid request. Another involved a father in China who became extremely frustrated with his son’s failing results that he beat him until he was numb, and then buried him alive because he assumed the boy was already dead. Hello world, seriously…wake up.

Being a child myself [tell me just who isn’t], I do understand that parents might have tried really, really hard to bring their children up. Take note, the word ‘might’ is used here. I am a child, and I do understand what it is like to be in such moments of crises. So why hurt the child? Imagine the train of thoughts that both parent and child go through each time these situations occur. Did the child really mean to inflict more hurt and pain? Does the child’s feelings of self-worth and confidence have to be robbed off?

Every problem has a root cause – and this case, it begins with the parents, and probably the parents of the parents, and also the parents of the parents of the parents. It could go on, penetrating deeper and deeper into the history of the family. Yet, during this time when things are hard, do we want to continue a gruesome lineage?

Let the hurt end here, and allow love to blossom in your little one’s hearts. Start giving him a life full of meaning, and he will return it to you. Although the pain pierces through your own heart, you know that you want to give him a better life. The price has been paid, and it is a thing of the past. What has been done, however unerasable it may be, has been done. Now there is only a brighter future to hope for.

As I walked through an overhead bridge to classes one day, I happened to pass by a middle-ages woman in drab clothes sitting on the floor with a milk bottle in one hand. She apparently had poor eyesight, and one of her cheeks was swollen. But in front of her was a bundle of joy. A cute little boy three years of age – probably her son – was holding an open tin can next to her. It may have been a heart-warming sight, yet when the boy’s eyes met mine, he smiled. I smiled back, too, as I inserted however much I could into their container.

It touched my heart so to see how such a child, young as he was, could manage to break out a smile even under pathetic circumstances.

Children are worth every bit of themselves. Children and adults – they are always interdependent on one another. And of course, in the right way. What if they do something wrong? Instead of raising your voice and pointing your finger at them, pull them over to you and search for clues. Believe me, there is nearly always an underlying cause.

Give him a hug today, for he may not be with you tomorrow. ♥