Thursday, February 6, 2014

Leave Aisyah and her brothers alone

Going by the situation that prompted four Malay siblings who lived and schooled abroad to return to Malaysia without their parents, being jittery is simply one of the many emotions these children might currently be experiencing.

The parents of Aisyah Azizul Raheem, 15, and her brothers, Ammar, 12, Adam, 11 and Arif, seven, are still detained in Sweden, having been remanded since Dec 18, 2013 for allegedly hitting the hand of one of their sons for not praying.

The four kids are unsettled, nervous and unsure of whether they will be able to live up to the expectations their parents – Azizul Raheem, a Tourism Malaysia director in Stockholm, Sweden, and Shalwati, a teacher on unpaid leave – and relatives have of them, of embracing the ‘Malaysian way of life’.
To begin with, as soon as the four children reached Malaysian soil on Feb 1, they have had to put up with too much attention, from Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s wife Rosmah Mansor, the media and a never-ending stream of visitors.
The unforeseen conundrum has kept these siblings on their toes to the extent that Aisyah could not even find time to chat with her younger siblings about their trepidation in attending a government school dressed in a uniform.
While the ‘balik kampung’ welcoming was a nice gesture to put the children at ease, it unfortunately might have made Aisyah and her brothers tensed and more worried.
Prior to returning to Malaysia the children were, upon the arrest of their parents, looked after by a Swedish non-Muslim family, a move which did not please the children who wished to be with relatives in Malaysia.
So the four are now staying with their maternal aunt Shaleena Nor Shal in Kampung Wakaf Tok Wali, Peringat in Kelantan.
While Aisyah was under the impression they would continue their education at an international school in Malaysia, their mother however made it known that she wanted her four kids to attend government schools.
The irony is that Aisyah can read Bahasa Malaysia but does not understand the language. This despite the fact that her parents often spoke to them in Malay.
And it is only natural that Aisyah who will be attending Form Three at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Padang Kala, Melor, endures sleepless nights thinking about penning essays in Bahasa Malaysia and having to wear a uniform to school.
“Bahasa Malaysia scares me because I do not quite understand it, so it will be difficult for me to write an essay. I can read but I don’t understand it,” Aisyah was quoted by the Malaysian national news agency Bernama as saying.
Enjoying their childhood

In this regard, one cannot help but question her mother’s role in not fortifying her children’s command of the Malay language, despite herself being a teacher.

How has it come to be that Aisyah can read in Malay but is unable to understand the language?
These children’s on-going predicament is a cause for concern, going by the fact that Aisyah has turned out to be a young girl with a ‘mind of her own’.
What remains to be seen is whether the Malaysian education system will complement her ability to speak her mind or will it indoctrinate and brainwash them into cowering under the Malaysian mentality i.e. ‘speak when spoken to’?
In the meantime, for the sake of Aisyah and her brothers’ peace of mind, it would help if their aunt keeps the children away from the media glare and allows them a life of normalcy, especially after keeping in mind the circumstances that forced these siblings’ to make their way to Malaysia.
It may not occur to many to realise the fact that Aisyah really is under tremendous pressure besides having to deal with the culture shock she is in, particularly now in Malaysia.
Hopefully, with the ‘right’ and effective counselling these siblings’ will be able to endear themselves to this country. Until then, let Aisyah enjoy her childhood and not be bombarded with concerns of having to play both mother and father to her brothers’.
But more importantly, allow Aisyah and her brothers’ to live life one day at a time as regular people. As for Malaysia’s obnoxious racial bigots, they best keep their moral condemnations to themselves just because these four kids’ come across as more ‘westernised’ than Melayu.

No comments: