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Where is the compassion?

By Zarina Jaffar

Like any other loving mummy, my heart bleeds reading the death of young Benjamin and the event surrounding it before he decided to take his life in a spur of a moment. In a confused state, in a daze and shame...

I don't want to politicize this matter except to highlights the severity of not handling a susceptible young person wisely. The policemen, The school, The counselor all now need to reflect and ask themselves if this matters could have been handled better?

I just had a talk with my son, 18 years old who told me whether guilty or not if he has to be taken away by five plainclothes policemen; he definitely would be scared. Imagine the fear of a 14-year-old boy?

Suddenly taken out of his school compound without being accompanied by a familiar face. How frightened must he have been? To be with five stranger namely the Policeman and that must have strike fear in him.

“You say I am guilty, I’m guilty then.”......Doesn't all this sound too familiar? Put under pressure how do you expect a 14-year-old boy feeling lost and helpless to react? He is resigned to his fate. He must have been felt threatened and could not think properly.

The only time he needs his mummy by his side he was denied that right by the investigator. I perfectly understand that his parents should not be sitting with him during investigations, but definitely, a familiar face like a teacher or counsellor could have at least accompanied him till the Police Station.

To the investigators, hello you are not a psychiatrist and what makes u think the boy is fine and that he never show any symptoms of distress?

To add salt to injury, the school had the cheeks to call up the boy and told him not to attend the camp which he so much looking forward to it.

Why wasn't he allowed to attend camp? Has he already been judged by the school?

Shouldn't the school make an attempt to clarify with Benjamin himself and give him an assurance of the school support? This is the right thing for an educator to do. The school refusal to let Benjamin attend the camp may have made him feel all hope is lost and that he has been judged guilty even without a trial. Where is the professionalism, the ethics?

Benjamin already feeling the pressure of the earlier incidents may have felt helpless and intimidated at that moment that no one is going to believe in him, that his future looks bleak, that he has let everyone down. He is not in a position to handle such major crises in his life and yet no one seems to be there for him when he needs a listening ears. One can only imagine what is going trough his young mind when he took that drastic actions to end his life.

To Benjamin's parents, no words are enough to release you from your pain. Your boy is a good son. Society, rules and order are cruel towards him. May Benjamin soul rest in peace.

To the Policemen, Principal, Vice Principal, Counsellor, what you fail to do when Benjamin is alive, put it right in his death. His parents need closure. There is no need to give excuses and get defensive. A wrong can never be right if it is wrong. Give the much-needed closure that Benjamin's parents now and the answer they are seeking. That is the most honourable things you guys can do now, but the burden of guilt will always be yours to deal with.

To the Ministry of Education, please take a personal interest in this case and assist Benjamin parents to come to terms with their loss.

To the society, let's show our love and support to Benjamin parents in their hours of needs especially with the upcoming Chinese New year. I similarly lost a loved one eight years ago. But the pain of what Benjamin parents is going trough, none of us will ever understand.