Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Still with Nurin on my mind

It is not going away – this feeling of helplessness. My fingers automatically click to Nurin’s blog everytime I am surfing. I scan the news online for developments, for any latest stories. My heart soared at any positive developments and sank again when I read they were leading to nowhere near a solution; an arrest or anything that would put a face to this mindless crime. Cases such as this has always affected me badly. James Bulger, Sarah Payne, ...and Maddie McCanne who is still missing.

The release of the four initial suspects means that the culprit is still out there. This is no ordinary criminal, no ordinary human being who takes pleasure from seeing someone in pain, who challenges authority by openly placing his victim in a public place. He/she needs to be found.

The police are doing all they can in the face of public glare and pressure.

But there’s something more that can be done to prevent this, this terrible crime being repeated. A lot has been said of Amber Alert, here, here and here. Once a child is missing, no time should be wasted in alerting the police, neighbourhood watch, any agencies at all who could help in the search. I believe Minister Sharizat has proposed something, though not to the effect of a Nurin Alert yet. Read about it here. Let us hope she does something.

I was appalled when I read that the police had advised that parents only report a missing child after 12 hours. 12 hours? Imagine what can happen in one hour, let alone 12 hours. One hour to a parent waiting at home or walking the streets scanning for that familiar face is one hell of a long time.

It must have been three Ramadhans ago when I had four hours of hell waiting for my son to come home. He wanted nasi tomato for iftar and I made his favourite lamb in kicap to go with it. Four thirty, when he was due home, came and went. And yet no sight of him. Within half an hour, I had called all his friends. No one had seen him walking home. We called the school. They could only confirm that he was in school that day. By then, it was already two hours when he should have been home. Neighbours suggested we called the hospital, the police. My husband had by then walked the area several times and had stood on the bridge over the motorway and called his name out loud. He came home and calmly asked me to pray and pray for the safe return of our son. By then a crowd of concerned neighbours had arrived. It was six and it was dark. A neighbour drove me to the school and still no luck. I was already in tears by seven o’clock. It was so uncharacteristic of him not to call and not to come home on time.

The words from the teacher rang clear to this day when I told her that my son would not do anything stupid such as not coming home without telling me. She said, Mrs Wan, if I get a pound everytime a parent tells me that, I’d be very rich today. I could have given her a &^^%$!!

Anyway, I came home to find a very sympathetic policewoman sitting in my front room. How do you describe what he was wearing? What jacket was he wearing over his school uniform? How was his haircut? Was he wearing his favourite cap? And his rucksack?What brand was it? I couldnt remember. I couldn’t remember anything. Well, just as well because at that moment, a sheepish looking lad walked in. If not for the presence of the policewoman, I could have strangled him. His teacher was proven right after all. He had gone with his friends to break his fast as it was the last day of school and couldn’t call me because his battery was flat.

The policewoman, doing her duty, had to interview him of course for his reasons for staying out so late. And gave him a piece of advise, pointing to my wretched tear stained face, she said, Look at your mum. Look at how worried she was.

Yes, Alhamdulillah, everything turned out well. But it was a nightmare. A nightmare because I have read too many cases of missing children who never returned, not because they didn't want to return but because some sicko had taken them away.

A few days ago, I met up with our Prime Minister who dropped by for a function, after his address at the UN. I asked, or rather, I blurted out to him about whether we should compile a register of sex offenders, of paedophiles. At least, with a register, we would know who these people are, where they live. So, when a child is missing, the first reference would be the register of offenders in your area. When Sarah Payne was brutally murdered, there was a campaign for Sarah’s Law to name and shame sex offenders. You’d want to know if a child sex offender is living near you, wouldn't you? You’d want to know that the person employed at a nursery of your child’s school isn’t a pervert. Whatever it is, as a parent, you’d want to know.

Yes, said the Prime Minister, a register would be useful. But I agree with him when he said, it has got to be dealt with carefully. In the UK when the name and shame campaign took off, some people decided to take the law into their own hands. At least one sex offender committed suicide, fearing even to go out of his front door.

Judging from the comments I read at the Nurinjazlin’s website, especially after the arrest of the four suspects and now the detention of a female foreigner who swallowed her SIM card, I think we still have a long way to go. Commenters are already spelling out what they’d do to these four even though they have yet to be charged. And some of the suggestions are quite horrific. When the matter is already in the hands of the police, it is best that the public allows the police to do their job. We can help by keeping vigilant. When a child is struggling and crying while being dragged away, as was the case of James Bulger, we can show our concern. Had that someone who assumed the two boys who dragged the two year old away were his brothers bothered to stop them and ask, Jamie wouldn't have been left to die at the railway tracks. When a child is screaming, tak nak , tak nak while being dragged into a van, surely there was something wrong.

These are some of the things that kept playing over and over again in my mind. When do we stop to ask and help? When does concern become over reacting and a nuisance?

Let us continue and pray for Nurin, her parents and for the safety of all our children. God bless.

Read the story here and I am pleased that the Star has done a follow up here on Support for Paedophile list.
The NST has also done a follow-up on the registering of sex offenders here.


lady pot pet said...

I truly know the feeling Kak Teh. My 7.5 yr old son went missing for 3 hours yesterday, didn't come back in time from school. He had me all teary eyed and frantically looking for him, just like you went through. Had to bring the police into this and finally he came home with his wee friends and told me he forgot to call me because they were playing outdoor and not indoor, so there was no phone!!!And just that 3 hours of agony has driven me crazy what with parents whose child never did show up at all...Ya Allah , my heart goes out to them and there's no words to describe the feelings.....

Pi Bani said...

Oh, so it was you who asked Pak Lah the question. His answer to the question was shown during the news on TV.

Whatever it is, I surely hope something like Amber Alert will become a reality in Malaysia. I'm trying to be positive about this. Go for it, Kak Ijat!

UglyButAdorable said...

i'm no mother yet kak teh, but losing my niece at the airport send all of us on red alert..panic attack

berdoalah that the killer will get his/her punishment soon...

and that maddie mccanne will soon be with her family

Nazrah Leopolis said...

aishah jumped into an elevator without me once and the door closed. the lift went up 2 floors and came back down to our floor a few looOOOoooong minutes later. i was so scared then, i am still scared now.

i find myself refreshing Encik Jasni's blog many many times in a day for updates. i can't get Nurin off my mind...can't even begin to imagine how her family is coping.

one thing i'd add in my du'a is for the parents to have some private time to grieve. they look so battered and weary.

Salt N Turmeric said...

sedih jugak baca ur experience Kak Teh. I can only imagine how u felt tht day. Im glad things turned out well tho.
I rad thestar yesterday and like Pi said, now i kno who asked him tht question. ;)

Kak Teh said...

lady potpet
I read your entry and yes, i thought it was an eerily familiar experience.
Alhamudlillah everything turned out well for the both of us and i must say for most of us. For the few unfortunate parents whose children never returned - our prayers for them.

pi bani, yes, we were only given a few minutes to ask questions and i really needed to know the PM's feelings about this. I admit that I sort of surprised him with the question as it was not at all related to the event. But I had to do something.

UbA - yes, my sentiments exactly - i hope Maddie is alive and safe somewhere. If only the parents can be assured of this.

Kak Teh said...

nazrah, wow, that was scary. That happened to us in a hotel in Glasgow. Nona phoned from her room to say she was coming down to our room. We waited but she did not appear - called her room, there was no answer. We ran up and down the stairs , looking everywhere and it was a very scary half an hour.

Princessjournals, In the nst today there's another follow-up to the paedophile registry suggestion. Even if one child is saved from my small effort to bring this to the attention of the public, i am happy i have done something. Like I said, i feel so helpless and the least i can do is bring to attention what I know. I hope something positive comes out of this.

Rockybru said...

Ah, so it was you who asked him that question. I honestly thought it was his idea, forgive me.

Btw, I agree with his view that it has to be dealt with carefully. You have to be careful when you cross the road, too, don't you? Everything we do would have to be dealt with carefully, more so if it's something as important as starting a register of sex offenders and pedophiles.

But we can't to so careful that we become afraid to take any action. It's been 17 days since they found her body. And it was September (20) when she was taken from her emak and ayah.

The cops brought in the FBI, arrested and released some suspects, published photofits of two fresh suspects -- all AFTER they had found Nurin's body.

Minister Shahrizat says she is GOING to meet some quarters to discuss the next course of action.

Isn't it sad that the most significant thing that has happened since Nurin is the PM saying sure, a register would be useful but it must be dealt with carefully?

You would have gone to Nuraina's blog and Princessjournals and Tembam. I hear some parents are going to meet and discuss what they should and could do to prevent another child and another parent going through what a lot of us are still suffering from now.

Kak Teh said...

Rocky, the problem with doinga register of sex offenders is that, vigilantes might take the law into their own hands. It has happened here and many sex offenders were driven underground and that could be more dangerous - not knowing where they are. There was a case where a sex offender was so scared that he committed suicide.
What we need to do is still compile a register of sex offenders and this is only made availabe to the police, local authorities, schools etc. Their whereabouts and movements must be monitored.

I had to ask the question, Rocky, because I need to do something. I am feeling so helpless here.

Look at the increasing number of rape cases - start compiling the names of these perverts now - put them on a database which can be accessible online by certain quarters only.

I am getting very disheartened at the pace of developments. Knowing how sensitive the SIM card is, why wasn't it forced out of the woman as soon as she swallowed it?

There are so many questions, so many!

Hi&Lo said...

Aunty Choc,

We can smell a gangster miles away by his looks and gait. But for sex predators, they are too elusive and defy profiling.

Usually, they are very charming, caring and very decent. They could even be held as role models. Impressionable young women fall into their trap for want of attention and affection.

I know of two who got away scots free. Instead of being repentant, they brag abt their victims.

Kak Teh said...

hi&lo, that's the sad thing. Children tend to trust these people because they are just like aunts and uncles and friends. They gain the trust of the children before unmasking their evil face.

Anonymous said...


unfortunately we do not need any more rules. why? because we can never enforce them. we have simple rules that we do not enforce, so no more additional rules. just keep an eye on our children and hold their hands until they are big enough, tu aje.



Kak Teh said...

dudaesimboyo, we can try. We must never give up hope for the sake of our children. Yes, I still hold my children's hands and they are already big! hehe!

Anonymous said...

Kak Teh,

I've been back to London for a few weeks already. :-)

Met Ruby. She is lovely!

Kak Teh said...

laaa, ms istanbul, dah balik? I thought you were going to raya there. Welcome back! Yes, ruby is lovely. Hope to meet up with her again this december. Insyaallah!

wonda said...

Like you, everyday I keep track of any news of the capture of the pervert. Any video clips of your interview with the PM?

Kak Teh said...

alice,i aske dthe question during a press conference and it was already aired on RTM and TV3. Also in nst and the star. look at the link in my blog.

Theta said...

Now that I have a kid of my own, I can really, truly relate to your feelings of helplessness if such a scenario were, God forbid, to happen.

I'd so like this Malaysian version of Amber Alert to get off the ground. And alongside it, a change in our 'apathethic' mindsets.

Take care.

wonda said...

Kak Teh,
I have already read the interview when I read your post and the news online earlier. I just wanted to see the interview in action on RTM news but there is problem with my RTM link.

wonda said...

Kak Teh,
I have seen your photos but not heard your voice yet.

Kak Teh said...

theta, whether it is malaysia or here - we can never be sure and take it for granted. I am one paranoid mum.

wonda - well, i dont know whether they have it in archives and anyway,the interview was edited just to get his answer. But the whole news was packaged and voiced by me. Next one and i will let you know. OR better still i will send you dvd of some special programmes that I have done.

LifeBloom said...

My sis went missing in the subang airport when she was 5 years old...dok leka tengok airplane at the open air observation deck and she got jostled in the crowd and we lost her - this was more than 20 years ago...My mother dah nak pengsan2x panic and even though I was also a kid at that time I remembered feeling utterly helpless whilst a search party looked for her...Somehow or rather she ended up in the VIP lounge and was entertaining Datuk Paduka Aishah Ghani with the story of how she got lost when we found her!!

I recall my mum telling me how she wanted to peluk and rotan my sis at the same time!!! But that was a MAJOR scare for all in the family...

Kak Teh said...

Lifebloom, I remember one other incident. We were shopping when someone stole our bag full of documents. While we were searching everywhere, making police reports etc, we decided to split ways. I balik with the youngest - my husband went on to continue the search.

Balik rumah -i couldnt remember whether my girlw as supposed to be with me or her father. It was those days before the existence of handphones. It was such an agony waiting for my husband to come home and when he did, thank God, our daughter was with him!
yEs , I know the feeling very well. But what a story - your sister can actually write abt her storytelling to a well known politician!!

Anonymous said...

Salam Aunty Z,

I know the feeling too. Once, we were in KLCC playground, Aziz was about 3 yo then. We sort of lost him for about half an hour (felt like ages) due to the wide area, many people and children. I was in panic mode. Luckily hubby was calm enough to scan the place and found him in tears but safe.

This reminds me when I was a little girl (many years ago :-) ). I was famous for going "missing" too. The 1st time, I was 7 yo. The uncle who was supposed to pick me up was late. The school compound was getting quiter and quiter and I panicked. So started walking home as I know the direction. But i was crying. An "abang" saw me and asked me where I was going. He took me on a bus and we got down near Central market. He then called up my Dad (luckily I knew our house no) who came immediately. I couldn't imagine how my parents felt at that time, but I guess I was really LUCKY I wasn't harmed in anyway. A second time, also same case walking home from school, a Pakcik on a motor send me home ... and yes, a third time ... two gentlemen send me home in a car. I guess those days are sooo safe and people are sooo honest and good.

Not any more, I'm afraid. I'm all for the Amber alert. Still have that ache in the heart whenever I think of Nurin ...

Anonymous said...

Kak Teh, I'm still stuck on the Amber Alert. Do you know why Malaysia still has not adopted it? I dah search for facts and find so many references ncluding the first Child Rescue Alert activated in Sussex in 2002. As Malaysia tends to look towards the UK rather than the US for models, how come the Child Rescue Alert was never adopted nor reported in our local media? Not even after Nurul Huda? No one saw any merit in it ke? The media is silent over the Amber Alert even up till now. Kenapa ya Kak Teh? I wonder why Shahrizat still makes no mention of it in the Child Protection Policy. Here we are trying to promote this Nurin Alert when it is supposed to be a system for the Police to help them do their job better. Don't they need our help? Still puzzled as to why the media is silent on this issue. They should push for it shouldn't they?

Sorry lah Kak Teh, being a new blogger this is a whole new world to me. Sedih at media reaction.

Congrats to Mr and Mrs Awang Gondeng for your new baby - I mean the book, the book 'Growing Up in Terengganu'!!!

Anonymous said...

Correction, please change to Awang Goneng. Tsk,tsk,tsk nampak benar bukang orang Ganu.

wmw said...

Sigh...and see what The Sunday Mail highlighted on when they went undercover :o(

Anonymous said...

Kak Teh, good news. Shahrizat supports the idea for Nurin Alert. Read more in Jasni's blog. Let's do this Kak Teh. Go Nurin Alert!

Anonymous said...

Hi Kak Teh.

Just spotted this blog entry. Good post. I can imagine your fear and indignance. I'm just glad that your son's ok. I've been too busy with studies so I don't really have a clue on what's going on with the Nurin Alert proposal. Hope it's coming through, though yes, you're right about it requiring a careful prior assessment. These wannabe vigilantes are more worrying than anything else and can cause obstruction of justice.

Anyway, next time I come down to London, hope that we can meet. My last visit was a little too eventful (long story), so hopefully the next one won't be anything like that ha ha.