Of abandoned children and murdered pets…

by Reedz on September 11, 2008

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What a depressing week this has turned out to be. First the disturbing story of how we as a society deal with abandoned animals, then yesterday, the plight of three abandoned children brought to light by KB Happening and Iskandar. And as SP said, I’m sure this is just the tip of the iceberg. Are things not as rosy as they seem in the abode of peace?

Its very sad indeed and like Jack aka Old Man, the parent in me cannot begin to comprehend how a parent could abandon their children like that. Having said that however, I’d like to examine this case from a socio-anthropological perspective.

In the midst of the wave of public sympathy for these children, maybe this analysis is way off, but I think it needs to be made. Perhaps the parents had reverted to “kampong” thinking where in pre-modern times, boys in hunter-gatherer societies became men even before their 15th birthday and they were expected to be able to hunt and fend for themselves and for their families (in many cases, these “men” would have taken wives by then). The parents may have been products of that generation and in their minds, it may have been perfectly acceptable to leave a 16 year old boy man in charge of his two siblings while they were gone.

In the final analysis, however, the parents need to realize that they are no longer living in a hunter-gatherer society and life does not revolve around eating what you hunt and gather. The cash-economy revolves around just that… cash.

My heart does go out to the three children but I somehow have a feeling the parents’ intention was not to abandon them. More needs to be discovered before we condemn these parents. There ya go, my two cents…

Student in Oz September 11, 2008 at 8:45 pm

Your perspective of the “abandoned children” is interesting and I must say that this case is an eye opener to other unknown cases in Brunei. I’ve seen cases and heard of others where children and their education are “neglected” by parents who prioritise other things in life. My heart goes to these children and I salute the 16 year old for taking care of his siblings. At least he did not resort to stealing (as is the case of most neglected teenagers in kampongs) and drugs. In my kampong back home in Brunei, there were often burglary cases and it was sad to find out that the culprit was a 17 year old in need of money for drugs. The teenager was a classic case of neglect. But, isn’t it some sort of ‘abandonment’ too, even though his parents never left him?

anakbrunei September 12, 2008 at 8:06 pm

Tks Oz Student, I just couldn’t help but think that there had to be a compelling reason why a parent would leave their children to fend for themselves. Yes, neglect and abandonment are two different things, but no good can come from either 🙁

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