Below is a conversation which took place in the Ruai Lounge recently. Feel free to join in the conversation by commenting on this post. My views on this issue later in the day.
Zul: i was at coffeezone last saturday nite when a child of age 8 below came up to us offering some “kacang”.. I find it disturbing.. Why are the authority not doing anything about this?
doubletrouble: ZUL:…why was this disturbing to you if i may ask….is it local kids or outsiders?
Reedz: Zul: yes I have observed this phenomenon too and we can see it two ways. Stay tuned for my post on this issue
zarah: Zul: I dont think its that disturbing. At least they are not selling drugs. There are unfortunate people out there who need to earn in any way they can. Not all know how to open business according to procedures. Its just the same like those people selling at stalls. ometimes, we just have to loosen up a bit to make way or help others.
zarah: They are also officers or staff selling stuff around the office. Some even ask the lower rank to go round for them with their business..ranging from kain, tudung, shoes, bags to nasi lemak, chocolate cakes,vegetables, sambal, belacan..well the list goes on and on..WHY AUTHORITIES OR THEIR BOSSES NOT DOING ANYTHING??
doubletrouble: hmm…maybe the BRUNEIANS shud ask HUA HO on how on how to do business in Brunei. or maybe ask the Philipinos on how to open a Hair Salon or Bakery Shop…or ask Indians on how to open Grocery Shop….only ask the malays on how to open stalls at Pasar Malam,…
doubletrouble: ZARAH: totally agree with you…these people might be working hard and also dream to have a taste of the foods pictured in this blog…i respect this kids!..at least they are not being fed with their parents credit card or money to live life…
HBK: Nya org daie mecuie baik the menchaie…. kanak2 jual kacang pun…. mun kan bali2 mun nda sudah … Why anak melayu kalau buka bisnis lingkup… neh org2 sendiri yg punya hal…. daulu nya mulah nini c jing kok atu jual kai mantuka ganya … apa ni door to door.. kwang3 nah udah ani berapa banyak kadainya… mana basia mengucap mengacau… lain bah org biasa sanang ani… BASAR/MULIA DAH KAH!!!!!!!! HINA TH TU JUAL KACANG AH!!!!!!!!!!
Amal: Dear all, i think what Zul meant was these children were selling even up to nightime. I was approached several times and it was always around 8pm to 9pm.I am proud that they are working hard to earn money, what I am worried is that the time. These kids were actually around the age or 8-10 and should be resting and studying at night since they are afterall schooling during the day.I am worried of their health and well-being. I am sure that is what Zul is worried about.
Amal: Perhaps what he means by the authorities checking into this. Maybe can help find out the background of the family thus providing them with better means since they must be going through hardships if the children are selling goodies even til nightime. Sad to see why people get angry and make the subject longer by bringing something else to the subject. The word Disturbing has its degree of meaning to the person who is using. Lets find out what he means first
zarah: Well, everyone is speculating on that issue of kids selling kacang here, including you – Amal. As you pointed out, yes maybe that is one way of guessing / interpreting the word ‘disturbing’ mentioned earlier. Your point is another perspective of the matter. No need to be ‘sad’ about it- as what you said in your comment.
Kim: i’ve seen these little kids and from what i can see, they really are ‘forced’ to do the selling by their brothers/sisters/parents. My sister actually stopped one of them and asked mana parents nya. They said dirumah. My sister was observant enough to see two young teenagers following them around which were the 7-8 yr old kids brothers. … What really upset my sis was that these two abang’s were forcing their younger sibling to do all the work, on a school night at around 10pm….they should of actually been at home doing their homework!
Nora W: dat’s rite i’ve seen them jua d batu satu ada, digadong, q-lap n makin banyak… yg pernah ku liat below 5 yrs old pun ada ikut2 kaka or bro nya dari blakang mbawa brg jualan jua… pity them malam2 kuar bejual n for sure balik umah exhausted… will they have time to do their h/work kan tu n my main concern bilatah masa durang kan berehat?? kesian kan… mana tia authority2 di brunei ani mustahil jua inda pernah kejumpahan kanak2 bedagang ani.. they shud do sumthing lah… pleaase!!!!
Peach A: me also pnah selalu tjumpa..bukan lg bjual but mnta duit utk bali mknan at pertama jerudong
Khairul Jaafari: it’s child labour! should not be encouraged..
WyNz: hem…for me ksian f suruh anak2.why dun encourage da parent yg buat.
Wyna: Terrible! They used to come into the restaurant too and we told them nicely to leave but the father came in and gave the staff a scolding.. adakah??? Something should be done about these rude and irresponsible parents..
Bambang: Depend on their age. Above 14yrs should be ok. Not below. Entrepreneurship should be encourage at any age……
Who are we to judge them??? They are finding rezki HALAL, they are not Stealing or Begging. When they don’t have enough to eat, are u there to witness it? Do you support them? Maybe their parents are out of job or something? Get the REAL picture first before label them as what u are labeling now!!! They may not be as comfortable or affordable as you. Cut them some slack……
Jessica Lee: bad, if the parents are not working and not even sending off the kids to school, Good if the parents want the kids to learn something out of it…
Bambang: Maybe they want to be independent and not be a burden to charities, welfare groups or govt agencies, if any….. They choose how to lead their life as you choose yours. Are you treating your kids better then them? maybe their kids are closer to them and want to help out. Don’t judge the book by its cover. Its easy to judge others, before looking at yourself first. Put yourself in their shoes. what will you do?
Carol Ong: i’ve seen the guardians (not sure if they are parents) of these kids in qlap once.. they look mid30s… well abled bodied… it’s a pity they have to resort to such means but perhaps they are really in need of extra monetary help
Bambang: ask the authorities to check on them, maybe they are syndicate or they are genuine case. Only Authorities can decide on their authenticates or cause….
Wyna: Something should be set up for those people who cannot find jobs or the relevant authorities should give them some direction as to how to solve this problem I think. I pity the children but if the parents were sincere in looking for rezeki halal they should not push their young children to do it but do it themselves. Instead if the children dont make any sale the parents will scold them or scold the other people. They use their children coz they know we will take pity on them. This is wrong and should not at all be encouraged. Wallah waklam
Keng Soon: I would like to correct my point, Bambang is not wrong. However the issue isn’t about the kids. If the family is poor and they are working to make a leaving, then it is something ‘good’ However, in this case, most who see these incident believe that the kids are being exploited. The guardian are using the kids to exploit the sympathy of the general public.
Bambang: Get your grassroots leader involve in this situation. as like i said earlier, they may be syndicate involvement, using children as pawn for their livelihood. Alert the relevant authorities…..
Zulasmin Noor: There’s nothing good or bad about this. Its how you perceive it. Don’t compare your lives with these people and do not give them solutions based on your everyday life. You will never know and understand what they go through.
You want to give them a better life? Support them yourself and if you can’t, gather community support and see how that takes off. Don’t wait for the government and do not pity them..”kesian” is a word we often use because its safe. We say that becoz we’re humans, what comes after that, thats where god will define whether its a good or bad deed. Don’t wait for the government either, they’re just too busy and they need assistance in things like these. So you still want to make a difference?
Bambang: Zulasmin, your spot on…… But Govt or grassroots must be involve as it is their duty for the citizen upkept, welfare and well being….
Fadilah Ahmad Alhijazi: Child labour? NO! Selling in restaurants? NO! There are designated places to run businesses and hygiene to observe.
Doty N Gman: actually, there r akta yg menyatakan kanak2 ani nda boleh digunakan or dipakai untuk tujuan tertentu, melihat dr sudut positif memang kanak2 inda salah, yang salah ialah when parents/penjaga yg “force” these children utk berjaja smpi larut mlm, dtempat yg tidak selamat (bnyk witness nampak they berkeliaran di tmpt sunyi eg parking etc and merentas jalan raya smpi ada yg hampir telanggar) and tidak memerhatikan keselamatan mereka. They ada hak utk belajar, bermain & berehat. They can help their parent if tempatnya bersesuaian, ada org yg memata2i & masa yg bersesuaian jua. Dari common sense mun kitani trfikir, mana parentsnya? why bukan them yg berjaja? why suruh kanak2? jawapannya mestilah untuk curi market labih, org kesian, kana bagi sedakah etc.. this is wrong!!!
Zulasmin Noor: Wow! I didn’t know this would bring such a big uproar. First things first, i want to know, why people like to say kesian without even lending a hand. I guess its just easy to say it but in reality, thoughts of “will i be losing anything while helping out?” comes into mind. Secondly, Do you think you can change the plight of this 8yr old and his family?
In most cases, the answer to both questions will be no. Kesian is a word which is very often used, but do we really mean it? If we were to help this kid out, what will happen to the rest of the family? One thing coming to mind, “extortion”!! Imagine this, the little one goes out with the brothers, the little one gets lots of money because everyone “kesian” him. This makes him a victim of extortion, firstly from the brothers and then from the family, we actually make his life a little bit harder because of our pity towards him. Now he’s more in a delima when he first started. While, we are feeling good because we just helped an 8yr kid while the kid is probably worried now on how to keep his riches.
Anyhow, to sum it up, if we need to help out, lets make it big and official so its worth the time for everyone, especially the unfortunate. We don’t have to wait for the government to help these poor souls out, we as a community can do it if we can AGREE to anything. I’m sure theres a lot of good souls out there to help out 🙂 Insyallah…….you may leave a legacy of your own while doing a good deed, which may count big time on your good deeds list.
Remeber, helping out these kids with handouts will only help them temporarily. So if you do really give some s*it about these kids, make sure you’re really prepared to help the whole family, otherwise please refrain from using the word kesian because not everyone has the same fortune as us and these people exist becuase they have to play a role in the world, as how Allah has instructed them to.
Doty N Gman: And i dpt makluman, these families yg anak2 mereka berjaja atu sudah disiasat & pihak berkenaan ada sudah details mereka & these families ada menerima bantuan sudah.. so its clear yg this is about attitude, dgr cerita.. its turun temurun dari neneknya sudah buat cani, now anak then cucu.. kitani usahakanlah supaya ia inda berpusing2 lagi smpi cicitnya..
Zulasmin Noor: Very informative Doty. My question though, adakah attitude ataupun andang kehidupan dorg susah?
Doty N Gman: its my pandangan sja coz since they received bantuan sudah & keselamatan their children inda terjamin.. well.. hard to say mana yg banar.. so its true, lets help them anyway we can.. jgn bagi ikan but bagi kail (Brunei translation) 🙂
Zulasmin Noor: 🙂 thats correct. I have a feeling, org2 kitani treating this issue mcm house pets. Bagi makanan sedikit, ok tia tu bah. In these kids case, just give them some pocket money and they should be alrite. Mean of me to compare them with house pets? Think about it……
The plight of these people is “desperation”, making ends meet by way of any means to…not earn a living…but to have what everyone else have in Brunei. And that is to have fun, spend lavishly, be famous and be arrogant. Thats the sad part.
My personal take on this, we do not need to feel kesian or obliged to give them a helping hand. The thought of being kesian will quickly turn ugly if you know what the real story of the family, and you might just end up being a hater.
Just help out where your heart lies but please please do not support these kids as you will fuel the parents into being greedy and fuel the kids to work extra hard.
Nor Edzaidah Haris: In this world we must help one another – Jean de La Fontaine
Emma Rose: duit zakat atu boleh jua bagi sikit arah drg kali 🙂
Ying Fei: I blogged this topic some time ago 🙂 Still the same, huh? I’m actually concerned about the children’s safety – they are left to cross big roads unsupervised, and it’s gets really dark at night particularly in the Kiulap area.
Also, in response to someone here saying the family may need the money: then why are the parents lurking about only to pounce on people who ask their kids to leave? Surely it is easier for an adult to arrange something less dodgy such as asking for a shopkeeper’s permission or going in him/herself. The children should be in bed at 10pm on a schoolnight, not cavorting around town in their pyjamas. I think the parents are just embarrassed to be seen in public hawking things, and for that reason… I guess they don’t need the money badly enough, do they?
By the way, to those arguing that those with negative views on this situation should instead ask themselves if they would be willing to help – that would be a valid argument under different circumstances. The government has led the charity culture in Brunei for a long time and only recently people are organising their own drives – but then the funds raised are often still meant for these government-founded charities. Private charities like SMARTER and Animal Shelter are still fairly new ideas, and they will surely agree it was a tough fight for their cause. It’s not easy for a private group to legitimately offer help to those in need, just because they’ve identified a cause.
Bambang actually contradicts himself by saying that it is up to the authorities to decide who needs what, and then finding Zul’s views of “do it yourself” and “don’t wait for the government”, and later ” spot on. Get it together, man.
What’s really wrong is the environment for forming charities in Brunei. People should stop turning to the government for help and instead look to their neighbours – and the government should really start making it easier for this to happen.
Bambang: Ying Fei, where did I contradict myself by saying that it is up to the authorities to decide who needs what?
Brunei has a small population, it is easier to managed, why is this is such a big deal…. Other countries have bigger issues than this.
Are you all sure that those are bruneians and not foreigners?
Ying Fei: @Bambang: “Only Authorities can decide on their authenticates or cause….” “Zulasmin, your spot on……” = considering context of both, contradiction. This is a pretty linear argument.
And what you pointed out about Brunei having a small population which should be manageable – this is an obvious theory anyone can point out, but it doesn’t hold true. Why? Maybe because Brunei can’t see the cumulative effect of a number of problems and social by-products such as this one.
Are you asking me if these kids are Bruneians and not foreigners? They _are_ Bruneians. I’ve approached some of them at various locations, and the other commenters should be able to verify this. Foreigners who can afford to have their children over will never need to subject them to this. You could have answered that question yourself.
I’d like to add one more point which just occurred to me as well. My dad was a member of one of those international charities which had a branch in Brunei, eg Rotary Club. Granted it was a good way for people of certain classes to network, but they also did try to give back to the community. Sadly, I have more memories of visiting neighbouring countries with them to provide community aid, such as donating food, clothing and school equipment and refurbishing old schools, than being able to do the same in Brunei. It was just easier to give across the border than at home. That could be your problem right there.