“K”, “P”, “R” and Schools

Let’s talk something serious this week…

(All you need is mutual respect on each others beliefs, culture and religion and we can get along just fine no matter what happens. Unfortunately we sometimes forget this and make a fool of ourselves by teaching our kids to be the same low-life idiot as we are. Image source: http://www.ausgamers.com)

Damn, I have talked about schools being safe for our kids and it seems that the need for it is fast becoming crucial from another type of danger.

Read this first:-

Racism has reared its ugly head in schools again and sources claim that there is an attempt to cover up the latest incident. Last week, a teacher at the secondary school had allegedly scolded a group of Indian Form Five students, calling them “Hindu Pariah.”

She also allegedly ticked off two other Indian Muslim boys for befriending the Indian students. Sources claimed that education authorities and headmistress Farah Shikh Abd Rahman attempted to cover up the matter and defended the teacher when confronted by parents of the affected students.

Sources claimed that the officials, comprising Mohd Raffie Bachik, Huzaid Ibrahim and Daud Shaari, warned the students and witnesses to “keep their mouth shut” over the incident. The students were warned of dire consequences if they were to disseminate any information on the issue to outsiders, including their parents.

Farah, who became the school’s headmistress some four years ago, was also accused of uttering derogatory remarks against Indian teachers and parents previously.

(Source)

It is very disturbing when we read about racial segregation and abuse at school level. It is even more disturbing that no serious attempts have been made to punish those who have uttered these racial laced statements and curtail this dangerous trend at the bud. Whatever happened to Najib’s 1Malaysia crap?

Anyway, the reason why I am writing this is because in addition to incidents of fellow Malaysians calling and being called “K” or “P” (and it seems that calling Indians “K” or “P” is not limited to non-Indians as well), there seems to be another disturbing trend in school these days. A couple days ago, my son told me that a classmate told him that he could not be my son’s friend because my son is not a Muslim and this is what his parents had told him to do (at this point, I went like WTF and had hoped that my son had seriously misunderstood his classmate).

If we are already alarmed by the acts of stupidity of some teachers (no matter what is their sorry excuse) towards their young students who are from different race, culture and religion, just imagine the shock we get when we learn that some dumb and shit-thinking some parents are actively teaching their innocent young ones on racial and religion segregation. Just imagine what will happen when these children grows one day and faces others who are not in the same colour of their skin or religion. Wonder who would be the bigger losers then?

Calling each other names among schoolmates is nothing new – I still recall calling some of my friend funny names (like my friend, we teased him by calling Bunsen Mouth because he had large lips or another, Bulu Man because he had thick hairs on his body and then we had the usual “Pendeks”, “Panjangs” and “Gemuks”) and I have been called names by others but it does not last for long and is usually done for fun. But I don’t recall calling anyone any names that bordered on racial or religion slurs. And certainly I don’t recall any one instance we do not want to friend anyone because they are not in the same stream of religion that we were in. Perhaps we were too innocent or perhaps our parents had done things right in instilling a sense of respect and understanding of others’ culture and religion. But things are seems to be different now.

Despite our trust on national school (and the hope that we will finally implement the one school concept), on our belief that national unity starts at school level and our patience on the revamped education system, such incidents even though may be isolated, does raise some serious alarms. Is it a tip of the iceberg or is it something we can simply ignore and move on? What are we doing to instil a sense of respect and unity among our students? Where are the neutrality and the better judgement of our teachers (on how and when to punish the students) and the fun of going to school like what we experienced in 1980s and before?

Coming back to my son, I took a deep breath and told my son to simply ignore them (since there is nothing much we can do), focus and do what he need to do in school – soak up whatever positive knowledge he can get, pass the exams with flying colours and enjoy his schooling days whilst it lasts and if he is hard-working, polite, respectable and sincere to all regardless of colour of the skin, culture or religion, he will find great friends in school. He seemed to be wiser than me – he told me that it is what he has done and spends more time with his closer circle of friends at school (who I know are very kind and simply brilliant in their studies). And he has a bigger circle of friends (from all races and religion) at the neighbourhood (one reason he goes to the playground on a daily basis) and already have major “plans” for his future studies.

Finally, I don’t know about you but I feel that calling others “K” or “P” will only make it offensive if one chooses to respond to it the wrong way. The “K” and “P” words are not new words and it has been used historically to connote a certain group of people or caste. Sure, no one complained about it back then but as society evolves and the barrier between group of people – race, religion, caste, etc – breaks down, the use of “K” or “P” is no longer appropriate. There is no justification to continue to utter those words in public especially after it has been made clear that such words are deemed derogatory. The same happened to the “N” word. How do you explain to young children that these are not nice words to be uttered to others and how you get the other young children to ignore them? All the sudden, all that hoo-haa on the Interlok seems to make some sense now (my apology).

We can continue to talk about racism in this country and on the implications of “K” and “P” (or other derogatory) words and the extent of religion & racial adherence creeping into our daily activities & even national policies and hope that things will not go from bad to worse. And no doubt race and religion is sensitive issues in this country but it is a high time we wake up to reality – let’s keep racism and religion segregation out from our schools – it does not matter what we adults think and do on these issues but the young innocent mind is too precious to be wasted on such things. Let’s not act dumb.

Have a nice weekend…

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