Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Beware The Faceless Monster

Calls For Nurin alert.

Please read
Princess Journals, Ena Samad, and Tembam.

Nurin's tragic case
had affected me in ways I had never imagined anything could. In my years as a journalist I have covered enough gruesome cases and many had left me reeling with anger and pain. I had spent sleepless nights thinking how the little girl must have suffered before death mercifully took her away, I thought about the anguish of her parents, the what if's and the why's that they must be asking themselves now. And how they must be missing their sweet little girl. It was as if, by feeling just a bit of the pain, I could relieve them of their pain, their sadness and sorrows.

Now, the whole nation, in the wake of the tragedy, is asking for answers and solutions. How do we keep our children safe from these faceless monsters.

I wrote this piece some years ago when Sarah Payne went missing one summer. Needless to say, she was found dead after being sexually abused. Sarah's case caused such a public outrage, not unlike what we are witnessing now.


"SUMMER'S finally here and so is the long awaited summer break. Our little Figos, Zidanes and Beckhams are itching to go to the green and try the feat they had watched their idols perform during the Euro 2000 championship.

Yet nine times out of 10, my own Figo in his dark blue and maroon strip is only allowed to play football on telly with his Play Station even though the sun is finally out and his friends are clamouring at the door.
It is safer that way.

And for the umpteenth time, I've said a firm no to my daughter who wanted to do the newspaper rounds to earn some money. It is safer to collect trays and wash dishes at a restaurant, I said.

The reason for my paranoia is simple. In my 20 years here, I have yet to enjoy a summer without reading stories of little children being snatched just outside their front door or the playground near the house.

Though some are found safe and sound, others were not that fortunate. When news broke out that an eight-year-old schoolgirl had gone missing after playing with her brothers in a cornfield near their grandparents' house, most of us feared the worse. We've read this story before.

Like others, a picture of sweetness and innocence smiles at us from recent school photographs distributed to the media.

In contrast, distraught and tear stained parents struggle before TV cameras to appeal to abductors to release their loved ones. A few days or weeks later, a naked body is found in a ditch or in an undergrowth somewhere, turning a missing person's investigation into a murder hunt. Same storyline. Only the names of the victims and the setting are different.

From Day One of Sarah Payne's disappearance, we shared the agonies and anxieties with her parents we only got to know from watching and listening to their desperate tearful pleas on the telly.

Everytime something like this happens, our own little children are deprived of their freedom because of our fear for their safety. For we know that children like little Sarah went missing not because she wanted space or wanted to join a cult somewhere.

She went missing because there are always some sick monsters looking out for innocent little children enjoying little pleasures in life, like playing in the field.

She went missing because she trusted a kind little stranger who had perhaps offered her a lift home or had asked her for directions.

The sad fact that little Sarah's body was found naked confirmed and in a way narrowed down the search for a culprit whose insatiable lust could only be temporarily satisfied by small defenceless children.

And Britain has a register of 12,000 names of such creatures but many others are still free to reoffend or sometimes unwittingly allowed to work with children.

In the wake of this latest development, a British tabloid recently published a rogues gallery of known perverts with the question, "Does a monster live near you?"

I have never read this tabloid, which is popular for its scantily- attired babes, but the day it published the names and pictures, I couldn't resist scanning through the repulsive faces of those responsible for robbing children of their innocence, not to mention ruining their lives forever.

Like other parents, I wanted to know whether my children are safe playing football in the green or skateboarding down to the shop on their own.

The publication has led to several vigilantes taking the law in their own hands. A man was attacked in his home because he was suspected to be in the list.

Although it was a case of mistaken identity, I suspect other paedophiles must be living in fear. And quite rightly so too.

Because of their very existence, we teach our children fear, suspicion and distrust of everybody. A paedophile does not have his sickening hobbies etched on his forehead. So, how are we to know?

In the meantime, my little Figo implores that he is training to play football organised by the Metropolitan Police. I take comfort that in schools, police are making an effort to gain the trust of children.

Their regular visits to schools are most encouraging. So too are the warning letters from teachers of any unsavoury characters seen loitering at school gates.

Little Sarah's tragedy had affected everyone's lives. Strangers drove from far and wide to leave flowers and toys at the area where she was found.

A sea of flowers 8m deep now lined the narrow lane, the likes of which was only seen outside the gates of Princess Diana's Kensington Palace after her death.

Meanwhile, the hunt for Sarah's killer goes on. Unfortunately, even if he is caught and thrown into jail, we can be sure that there are many others like him out there as we can be sure of another summer, another innocent child and another nightmare for parents. "

Sarah in Britain, Nurin in Malaysia and many more have been victims of these faceless monsters. Something must be done to protect our children. And yes, we must not forget little Madeleine MacCanne, who is still missing. Please keep her away from these monsters and return her to her parents.


wonda said...

We are living in a perverted generation where horrendous cases and heinous acts are becoming more rampant day by day. Over here, recently, a sick teenage boy mutilated his mother's head and brought it to the police station when he surrendered himself, another teenage girl hacked his dad's head with a hatchet while he was asleep, parents murdered their own children, and cases I have not heard of in my younger days.

Hi&Lo said...

Aunty Choc,

I was equally devastated cos Nurin could be anybody's child. She was very much in my mind.

Zawi said...

The adult Altantuya didnt suffer this much when she was killed by gunshot. Her death must have been fast and thus was much painless.
The pain must be unbearable for Nurin such that her facial feature was didtorted. Even adults couldnt take take kind of torture.

Hi&Lo said...

Aunty Choc,

As you said the beast has no label on his forehead. Frightening, he looks like any normal human being and may even appears to be very decent.

Queen Of The House said...

Kak Teh, police have picked up a suspect. If he is indeed the beast, I hope he gets what he deserves .... slowly and painfully.

mumsgather said...

Its so sad Kak Teh. So sad that there are beasts like that running around. Its sad too that there are some who exploit this situation for other purposes. I mean it looks a bit like a media circus and is even becoming a political showcase for some.

Ordinary Superhero said...

KakTeh, I agree entirely with what you had written. These monsters, beasts or maniacs in disguise are mostly, on the surface, ordinary guys but with sick minds.

We could only be careful and pray that Allah will protect us and our family members.

LifeBloom said...

Sometimes I feel frustrated over the imprtance media/authority places at this very sensitive time for Nurin's parents...Instead of playing the blame game and discussing possibilities whether her parents should be sued - energies at all levels should be concentrated in finding this deranged monster and looking at how we could profile these sort of perpetrators to better protect our children....

I am hugging my niece and nephew a little tighter these days....

Fauziah Ismail said...

Salam Kak Teh
I'm still having sleepless nights over the incident, having to handle the news aspect of it since it happened during my watch on the desk.
Can you ever get over it? I don't know.

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Kak Teh,

We humans have become monsters...

Rest in peace Nurin, Sarah, and I pray Madeleine comes home, safe, and alive...

Hi&Lo said...

Aunty Choc,

As a battle-scarred journalist, your heart is not hardened by events. This is a very amazing quality about you. Most people would be desensitised as a mechanism to avoid pain.

Each encounter is new to you evoking strong passions in you. This makes you all the more human. You are not afraid to feel vulnerable. This takes a lot of courage.

You rub on me. I cry as easily as I laugh. And get angry too when an injustice is done.

Manal said...

It pained me too much to talk or even write or even to look at almarhumah's face. Such was the agony that made me weep almost instantly.

I remembered teledera in the early 90s and thought benda2 keji mcm nih wud slowly be a thing in the past. But i was totally wrong and we have some even greater evil out there who have lost the sense of perikemanusiaan and are actually enjoying buat all those tortures and hideous sadomasochistic acts. May he or she be severely punished soon. Karma knows no boundaries if it's a dua from orang yang teraniaya.

khairah said...



Theta said...

It's a crazy world out there and it's difficult having to keep your guard of people in general, even those who were just being genuinely friendly.

I want to take my kid to the playgrounds (and other public spaces) without this gnawing fear in my head.

Unless we exile all these monsters/sexual deviants to a faraway, maximum-security island, we will always have to be (needlessly) extra-cautious and -vigilant when faced with a stranger/possible perpetrator that in our mind fits certain moulds and profiles.

Take care.

NJ said...

Salam Kak Teh,

I recall seeing most of my female office mates in tears when it was confirmed that the child was the Nurin, Kak Teh.

This monster, if ever finally identified, should not be even trialed, bcoz there's no court for animals! Grrr..

And to think that the most hideous crime can even take place in the holy month!

AlFatihah to Adik Nurin!

Hi&Lo said...

Aunty Choc,

Firstly, am very saddened that more than half of comments in the blog dedicated to Nurin's memory did more harm than good. They are either condescending or exploiting the tragedy to serve their private agendas. Worst, they come under the guise of expressing sympathies.

Secondly, as pointed by you earlier of insensitive reporters. It happened again today as the father was asked how he felt losing his daughter.

Pak Tuo said...

salam Kak Teh,

Will human being tepent Kak Teh?
Penyedaran yang Hakiki?
I'm worried too about my children,children's saftey.

Mior Azhar said...

Kak Teh,
The world's gone mad, really. Now my wife and I dah jadi macam phobia la pulak. I'm sure most other parents are like us too. Latest news is that Nurin's might be victims of paedophile ring. Lagi lar kami panic.

Kak Teh said...

wonda, you are right - it is indeed a perverted society that we are living in. The crimes just get worse everyday. When we thought it couldnt get worse, it did.

Hi&lo, Little Nurin in death has touched everyone. No one would have known of Nurin before this but it had taken a tragedy of this magnitude to catapult her to the nations headlines. Let her death and suffering be not in vain. Letr something positive come out of this - something we can do to help other children.

zawi, i cant bear to think about the pain she went through..once again - get those bastards.

Kak Teh said...

hi&lo, yes, if only we can tell , alas we cant. Thus we have to be extra vigilant.

QOTH, the first one must have been a mistake - i really am interested to get to the bottom of that. I thought the story in Bernama was too detailed . And now five detained - I hope the police do their job well and get the evidence.

mumsgather - media circus is indeed the right word. I wish the parents can be given some peace.

OSH, yes, ultimately, only HE can protect us.

Kak Teh said...

lifebloom, what can I say? I do feel frustrated too - especially reading the latest - when the reporter kept calling to ask the parents,"How do you feel?" How do you think they feel? It is so obvious., and the TV reporting describing the tears when you can see the tears and the sadness - all stating the obvious.

fauziah, i can imagine how you feel - being in the midst of it all. Take care.

daphne dear, in an ideal world, we can say, let Nurin be the last - alas that will not be the case. We can only try and prevent another loss.

Kak Teh said...

manal, the internet, dvd's and all these trash that's freely available are to be blamed too. It makes such acts acceptable to some wicked minded people.

khairah, terima kasih kerana sudi menjenguk blog kak teh.

theta, we need another pair of eyes at the back of our head. But it is sad that we have to tell our children to be suspicious of people, even people close to them.

Kak Teh said...

nj, i read in the newspapers this month - there have been a lot of such crimes happening. Sad, very sad.

hi&lo. re: comments in nurin's blog. yes, I know what you mean. It has gone down a path I will not tread. Yes, the suspects have been detained. But now, let the police do their investigation. I dont want the accuse to turn around and say that the comments in the blog will influence the jury. There's a danger that that will happen. As it is, they are still suspects.

Pak Tuo, yes, we are all worried about the safety of our children. we can only pray and be extra vigilant.

Kak Teh said...

mior, yes, i understand how you feel. Walaupun kak teh dok jauh, kak teh rasa gitu juga ingatkan anak-anak saudara dok berbasikal sekeliling kawasan perumahan. Itu pun merbahaya kalau tak ada orang dok jaga.

PrincessJournals said...

Kak Teh, we must keep the heat on until the IGP and Shahrizat do something. if they dont then we can call for them to step down.
thanks kak Teh for the link to my blog.

Tembam said...

Kak Teh, last night on NTV7 Shahrizat did say she will be meeting with the Police and all those bodies under her Ministry's umbrella to discuss a new system for protecting children. Although she did not specifically say an Amber Alert like system, this is close enough.

Jom Kak Teh, send her a message of support for the Nurin Alert. I put her email on my blog. (Thank for the link Kak Teh). By the way, the email is on her Ministry's website. Tell her how you feel.

D.N.A.S said...

It's about time to label these monsters on their foreheads. Or at least, there is a suggestion to publicize the faces and names of 'dangerous' ex-convicts and most wanted persons in the country. I hope this will happen ASAP.
If we need to take desperate measures, let's plant some microchips in their bodies or use the RFID technology to identify ex-cons.