Wednesday, 19 April 2006

A Necessary Evil

I came back yesterday to a house buzzing with news that R was mugged. She was on the way home when she received a text message. She stopped to check her message and before she could read it, the phone was snatched from her hand by a hooded teenager on a bike. My R is not one to be messed around with. She gave chase and even challenged the guy to a fight. Failing that she called the police. She was fuming, but I am just glad that she is alright.

Last week, I wrote the article below which was published in our local newspaper. What happened to R yesterday just goes to show how dangerous it is to be carrying a mobile phone.

"Like most parents I was under the false impression that giving mobile phones to the children was a way to ensure their safety; that they could call in the hopefully unlikely event of a problem. But sadly, the very gadget that is supposed to reassure both parents and children alike, is now increasingly becoming the source of the problem. Almost daily we hear of children being mugged and assaulted while they answer or make phone calls on their way home from school.

My own son was accosted as he walked home from school, by a boy not much older than him. He was asked to surrender his phone but luckily, he stood his grounds and challenged the budding mugger to take it off him. It wasn’t as if he exhibited it for all to see. His sister was less lucky. She answered my phone call as she got off the bus and within minutes it was already in the hands of a teenager who cycled passed her and snatched the phone away. Both incidents left me shaken for I now have to think twice before calling them up to ask them whether they are okay. Just answering a call will attract attention, and certainly trouble.

Mr Patel, our newsagent down the road, reported the latest tragedy in our small town that is fast becoming not a very safe place to live in. A young girl walking to the tube station was kicked and punched by four boys on bicycles. Needless to say, they were just after her phone. By the time Mr Patel got to her, she could hardly stand.

With mobile phones getting fancier and more sophisticated with cameras and video recording devices, they are very much in demand, especially by those who can’t afford them but would like to own them. The mischief and crime related to phone cameras and phone videos have spiralled beyond belief. This includes a sickening fad called happy slapping, the ritual of sadistic members of youth cults whose idea of entertainment is inflicting pain. A victim is slapped, sometimes using the phone as a weapon and then filmed as he or she is continuously assaulted and attacked. This footage is then circulated among members of the group as a source of entertainment.

Quite recently, a happy slap gang, headed by a fifteen year old girl was convicted of manslaughter when they were found guilty of killing a 37 year old man they randomly picked to star in their sordid production.

The girl told members of her gang that she was making a documentary on happy slapping and after a night of drinking, they picked their victim, punched and kicked him while the whole sordid attack was being filmed. They left the victim to die while they went home to watch the recording on the mobile phone.

A 14 year old schoolboy was arrested when staff saw mobile phone footage of a rape attack on an eleven year old girl. And there are many more sickening attacks in what is fast becoming the cult’s own reality TV show. And this trend is spreading across Europe with chilling similarities in what has become a thirst for inflicting pain for entertainment. And all these by the very young members of the community.
Walking home from work yesterday, my youngest after a lot of deliberation phoned to warn me that a group of boys had been seen roaming the place. I could detect the worry in his voice. While he wanted me to go on speaking to him and reassure him that I was alright, he knew that the very sight of the phone would bring the gang straight over to me.


It is certainly not a happy situation but the mobile phone has become an evil necessity."
.

34 comments:

simah said...

yes...it is a pity that all these are happening...as a mom...i fear for all of these to happen to my kids..Simpang malaikat 44...

the happy slapping also reflects the degredation of mind of our youths..their morality is going down the drain...no matter what nationality they r..shouldnt something be done about it?

maR said...

Kak teh,
I watched in terror these slap happy on TV. And people inflicting them were not adults, they were kids!
I hope your daughter is OK...

X-Eyed Jules said...

happy slappers get their come uppance:

video 1

video 2

Padan muka!

Ordinary Superhero said...

MasyaAllah...apa nak jadi pun tak tahu. Back home, we are worried with news about snatch thieves getting bolder by the day.

bergen said...

It's gonna get worse. Things are gonna get uglier. They are gonna get bolder. Watch your back.

You too, ma'am. Stay safe. I know how lame this sounds but it's the best I can say to you and your family.

Kak Lady said...

Entah apalah nak jadi dengan remaja zaman sekarang ni...agaknya inilah harga yang perlu kita korbankan untuk sebuah kemajuan...kak teh...bukan sahaja di bumi asing...di sini pun ade juga anak2 remaja yang banyak terlibat dengan keganasan...

Nasib baiklah kerajaan telah menarik semula kebenaran untuk membawa telefon bimbit ke sekolah...kalau tak rasanya lebih ramai kanak2 yang menjadi mangsa ragut dan sebagainya

Ely said...

maybe we could solve the phone snatching trend by putting the phone in the bag and answer the phone with a headset? susah betul kan?

pu1pu3 said...

Extreme betul these kids. so dangerous. takut betul.that's y people are paranoid now. always kena be on the look out. Expect the unexpected.
Hope your daughter is not too shaken about it.
Nasib baik she's alright.
Take care.

Anonymous said...

kak teh, now ada audio messaging pulak, bleh antar as sms, cun!

be safe! glad that I'm here.

elisa

bisutulibuta said...

tawakal lillah hitaala.jangan lalai and be on alert at all times.especially at tube stations and bustops. People alighting form busses and trains are at the most risk of being snatched because the mind is always focussing on getting on another train, crossing the road, looking for friends or getting home. That is why snatch crimes happened most in this 2 places.

k.d said...

that's scary k teh. but well put..it is an evil necessity

RedKebaya said...

Betul tu KT, semakin canggih semakin susah. kids here byk yg kena 'pau' hp diorang and now u have to think twice about getting the hp of ur dreamz, silap2 bawa bala. osso another thing i worry about is public toilets n restrooms, since hp now comes with cams silap2 kiter lak yg jadi 'porn star' overnite!!! sheesh!!

tee said...

i sendiri pun agak paranoid bila keluar lunch. mata asyik pandang kiri pandang kanan...kena bersedia sentiasa...

Nazrah said...

gosh! keep safe ok? the head set is a good idea.

just last week a good friend of mine was in the nursing room changing her baby's diaper, and poof! somebody snatched her handphone from her bag! what nerve!

Aridewa said...

An evil luxury you mean? Just like the internet and its techie shortcomings.

Lydia Teh said...

That's terrible. I hope this happy-slapping phenomenon doesn't creep into our shores.

sya said...

Kak Teh... Scary bila membaca yr n3 this time, it bring shivers.

U and yr family do take care so that I can meet up with u in May.

AuntyN said...

Stay safe Kak Teh. I have to remind my girls not to sms so much as well. esp when they are in the bus or in the mall.
Thanks for the entry.

maya said...

hi kak teh
got good remarks from blogger fren to visit. its a pleasure being here..:)

Anonymous said...

thanks kak teh, for enlighting me dgn the latest news. Hoho.. tak de tv. Tu yg tak tahu. I hope u've made a police report or crime report, nanti they will increase the patrol. The higher reports the better. On the other notes... scarynyer... which part of london r u in? nak tahu jugak.

ailin...in aalborg said...

something like this almost happened to Imad. Fortunately for him, he was carrying a dinosaur phone, so the muggers turned to another chinese lady next to him who had a much fancier phone.

I don't think I will ever give my kid a handphone. Rather, I'd teach him how to use the PUBLIC phone, and give him a phone card, or sew coins in his pockets.

atenah said...

am glad R is ok

Count Byron said...

Sad kan Kak Teh, a saviour gadget of communication is now reduced to an 'evil necessity'. Whatever happened to the society steeped in culture and chivalry. Sad ( may even translate to.. be extremely cautious! )

maklang said...

Hope u and your kids are ok after what has happened. Take care, Kak Teh....

Kak Teh said...

salam semua, thank you so much for all your comments and well wishes. I have not been able to come online due to some technical problems. Yes, the mobile phone has become an unnecessary evil - it is not just the area where you live in because i hear the same stories every where. We just need to be extra careful. Once again - thank you.

sue said...

kak teh,
take care and hope everything gonna be safe..

Lollies said...

man. glad to read this because I have never heard of it. this happy slapper. I don't think using the word happy is anywhere appropriate.. I am sticking to old big phones

~ahni~ said...

ish gerunnya kak teh, anak saya kecik lagi sekarang, nanti bila dia dah besag tak tau la jenayah/kejahatan yang macam manalah pulak akan berlaku nanti

Ms.B said...

What will they think of next for entertainment? The moral decay of society - it's really happening now. And it's all spiralling too fast for us to do anything but to be on the lookout. Take good care, KT. And tell your kids to always always be alert to their surroundings and the people around them.

Kak Teh said...

salam all - i am back with the internet again! phew!! Yes, are dabngerous times. I was waiting at the station yesteray, two boys in hoods and on bicycle cyclced passed looking at everyone using phones. and now I am more conscious of the fact that people do walk and talk on the phone all the time - thus they are not aware who'd be behind them!

Ms.B said...

Kak Teh, why not look for phone that can use bluetooth headset? That way the phone can be tucked away safely and you just have the headset tucked behind on ear?

Noni said...

Kak Teh, thanks for this. I have come across the phrase 'happy slapping' before but I had no idea that it is a social syndrome. My niece is enrolling in Middlesex come September. She has always been sheltered and I fear for her ability to cope in a foreign land. I copied ur blog entry and emailed it to her and several other links on happy slapping. I wanted her to be forewarned and forearmed.

Even here in Malaysia where snatch-thefts are rampant, we can never be careful enough, what more in a foreign surrounding where things are all new and strange, u can never expect that a total stranger might snatch ur phone right from ur hands or beat u up at random. I think its a waste to live ur life by having to be wary of everyone u come across. But what choice would my niece have?

noni the paranoid auntie

Kak Teh said...

Blabs, recently, while standing in front of the station waiting for the car, two such hooded boys cycled past and they brazenly stared and looked for what we were carrying - so, even bluetooth would be enticing for them.
Noni, Ask her to be careful - and of course - give her my number - aunty kak teh will put on er cape and fly to her rescue. But seriousl, pls pls pls, no walking and chatting at the same time. My daughter is always doing that. In UK, there are posters all over the place warning us not to display our phones - no matter how canggih!
one paranoid mama!

5xmom ~chanlilian.net~ said...

Kak Teh....Albeit a bit sad on the mugging, I am glad you shared this cos our Education Minister here beria-ia wanted to allow handphones in school and I was dead against it. Lucky, the decision was taken off after the parents fumed over them cos this is what I foresee. Here, he is talking about primary school children, age 7 yrs and above.