FMT LETTER: From Hema Krishnan, via e-mail
Gangsterism in Malaysia is increasingly becoming an insidious problem and is highest among the Indians. This social ill can be nipped in the bud but tragically, many are taking the easy way out and not doing much to curb the problem. They condone it and actually use rowdism for guileful purposes, that is, deep political machinations that hire henchmen and the extant gangs supply the manpower, which can be said to be the core of gangs’ survival. It is another topic altogether so let’s not get beside the point.
Indians account for the highest number of prisoners in detention centers throughout the nation albeit making up 7.1% of the Malaysian population. It is disturbing. A signficant proportion of Indian youth here is heading the wrong way and if it doesn’t get remedied soon, it would become a plague.
Fights occur over a glance from a member of a rival gang in a coffeeshop or restaurant or on the street, which is interpreted into a challenge to fight and like elephants in musth, they fist each other like a bunch of barbarians and then brag about it, comparing scars to determine who is the strongest. They think they deliver heroism when all they actually deliver is nincompooism. They think by pledging an alliance with a particular gang would bring them money, fame and women.
Gangs group together at a pre-designated spot and disturb girls, get drunk, litter, and just be a public nuisance but as far as they are concerned, “This is the life.” The words decorum and decency is alien to these fellows. All they bring is sheer opprobrium and they are oblivious to that. It wouldn’t be erronous to say that Tamil movies influence the mushrooming of gangs here via subtle yet substantial indoctrination.
The heart of the problem lies in the failure of prioritising of Indians here. They fail to understand that the procurement of a solid education is one step closer towards a gilded life and not having the politically correct mental sieve; instead of taking the good in Tamil movies like patriotism, responsibility towards family, community and nation, being a good doer, respect towards elders, how to treat people right, benevolence and other virtues, our youth only absorb the violent sordid semblances in such movies and etch all of it in their subconcious mind.
Foremost of all, movies, no matter Tamil or English are purely for entertaiment, an escape route from daily stress. Can you fly like Superman or shoot webs from wrists like Spiderman? So, what makes Indian youths here think that they can fight off 100 baddies alone like Rajini, Vijay, Surya (Tamil movie actors that are often hailed as heroes by young Indian men) and whatnot? Where have their sense of reasoning gone to?
The Tamil movies like Vattaram, Pokkiri, Polladhavan, Manggatha and Billa are prime examples that promote and propagate gangsterism. Again, mental sieve plays a part and it’s either our youth are not taught to have one or too stubborn to have one. Our youth seem to think that what Vijay (He is the Indian answer for Jet Li) does on screen, he is able to do in real life. They seem to be oblivious to the fact that Vijay does what he does on screen is to cari makan (earn a living). Period! Parents, elder siblings, uncles, aunties, grannies and grandpas please drill it into our youth in the hot blooded age that real life is different from reel life.
Even Hollywood movies has overdoses of violence but it is often not brought up into the context of festering gangsterism here, perhaps because aruval (a machate with an inward curled tip which resembles the moon crescent) is cheaper than a machine gun. Kung fu movies are also not given much emphasis probably because young Indians males here don’t have the finesse to kick butt in style.
Paradoxically, Kung Fu was brought to China by a Tamilian known as Bodhi Dharman. I got the historical highlight from a Tamil movie as well. You see what I mean by having a mental sieve? Buang yang keruh, ambil yang jernih. (discard the murky and take the clean and clear) Many of our Indian youth here are clear on not taking the clean onboard.
Everything begins at home. If Dad comes home drunk everyday and smokes pot at home, his sonny would do exactly that. If Mom is always in front of the TV watching Tamil movies and serials while telling the children to study, only the bodies of the children will be at the study table, their concentration will be on what movie or what serial is going on now, involvement in homework, next to nothing.
Children and youth are like monkeys, ‘monkey see, monkey do and monkey retain.’ It applies at all levels, so, parents, do lead by good examples. Sending your children to tuition and thinking that you have done your part doesn’t solve their problem of incompetency in academic undertakings. As a parent or a guardian, you have to be there for your kids. Teachers and tuition can only do so much because, at the end of the day, you are responsible for how your offspring turns out, a graduate, or a gangster.
If you are apathetical about how your kids carry themselves outside the confines of your home, you are unknowingly pushing your kids further away from home and it is only at this vulnerable point that you lose your children to social ills. Don’t drag your kids into the rot of gangsterism and other vices either by ignoring or influencing their conduct that levitates on the going of an orgy of self destruction because ultimately that is what gangsterism is and no amount of protection money and ransom and extortion can save them.
It is not enough to tell kids to study well. When it is time to study, either parent must sit together with their kids and show interest in what are they are poring and writing even though you have no idea of what is your kid is studying. If you show interest in their education and couple it with active participation, you are sending a strong albeit a tacit message to your kids that you take their education seriously and they will begin to take their education seriously.
Another mistake Indian parents here make is not telling their kids how hard they work to provide them with necessities. Parents mean well, they don’t want their children to know the hardships they go through in order to give their kids the best life but this benign concealment would turn malignant in the long run. Indian youngsters here must know, appreciate and apply the value of honest, upright and decent effort and work and that there is no going around it.
Indian parents, mothers especially, please communicate with to your kids; ask how was their day instead of being glued to the idiot box airing Marudhani, Mandakini and whatnot. (I don’t watch Tamil serials hence I do not know the proper titles of the serial but they are seriously interminable. A kid would be born and start school by the time a Tamil serial concludes and the plots turn brain to mush.) Include them when making family decisions and listen to their opinions and consider them. Form a think tank at home. Make them feel worth and give them recognition.
Which kid doesn’t crave recognition from their parents? Get to know their friends. And learn when to be a friend to your kids and when to be a parent. Meet their teachers in school sporadically, from time to time to keep your kids on their toes and give your kids the ability to draw a distinction between what is right and what is not. When this kind of attention is oozed upon your kids, they won’t seek attention from outside, which almost always turns out to being with a wrong company and getting decadent.
Some educated, overzealous Malaysian Indians proclaim of wanting to shoot these mere kids involved in thugism to death. Then what is the difference between them and a gangster? See, wrong approach, driven and amply seasoned by the age old Indian over sentimentality. We bear the responsibility to educate and enlighten our youth who are in gangs and those ‘gangstar wannabes’, pun intended because that’s what our Indian boys think. If they become gangsters, it would grant them stardom and that they are virtually immortal. We must make it known to them that gangs are nothing but cesspits of putrifying waste.
We point out that our youth have lost their culture but isn’t it our civil responsibility to teach our Indian youth the good values that exist in our culture steeped in glorious history?.
Harishchandra, who is recounted in Hindu religious texts as the 36th king of the Solar Dynasty, Surya Maharishi Gothram was a great man. His legend is highly held as the yardstick of an ideal life. Harishchandra had two unique qualities. The first being, he kept his word and never went back on what he uttered as a promise. The other being, he never uttered a lie in his life. He underwent severe, resolve crumbling adversities in life and yet never flinched in upolding the aforementioned values and finally found everlasting bliss.
The story of Harishchandra is a gut wrenching and awe inspiring one and it moved and motivated one of the greatest man that ever lived, that is, Mohandass Karamchand Gandhi later known as Mahathma Gandhi who was deeply influenced by the virtues of telling the truth which is the essence of the story of Harishchandra and in turn, promoted ahimsa (non-violence) during the struggle of India to gain independence from the British.
Tell these stories to our youth before they get the predilection to get involved in violence or even resort to crime for a living for we have an illustrious history. It is not cool to be a gangster; all it brings are broken bones, premature death, jail sentences and great ignominy. Put education first, be virtuous and seek enlightment from wholesome resources. Maybe then our Indian youth would stop idolising and worshipping Bentong Kali, have funerals with newfangled gangster tributes that are nothing but pure crap and finally cease from inundating prison cells as opposed to the population ratio here.