Friday, June 13, 2008

Playing with fire

I was walking past the void deck towards the starting point of my routine jog today when I witnessed a NTUC trolley containing a piece of debris which was starting to burn. Seeing this, I rushed towards the trolley and fished out a cardboard discarded near the trolley and with some heavy patting, managed to extinguish the fire in its infancy. Then I pushed the trolley away after putting out the fire.

Pondering on who could be the culprit(s) to set the fire, I looked around me and saw a group of 3 kids, playing with matchsticks at the playground. It was obvious who the culprits were and so I confronted them, asking them whether they were the arsonists.

Towering above them and with my stern tone of voice, one of the kids who has the biggest build confessed to the act and I asked them whether they would like me to report to the police. Furthermore, I asked them where their parents were but they had no answers for that; it seems that their parents were not around at the place with them. They were clearly afraid by my confrontation and ‘interrogation’ and to end the matter, I confiscated the matchbox from them and proceeded on.

Unrelentlessly, two of the kids followed me, still feigning ignorance, claiming that they were not the culprits. They begged me to return the matchbox to them. Tears were welling in their eyes. I handed the matchbox to them after letting them off with a stern warning.

Throughout this episode, there were quite a crowd who had gathered to watch the commotion. I was nonetheless perturbed or embarrassed by this crowd who had formed to watch the scene as I was just doing what a normal citizen shall do.

What disturbed me was the fact that when I discovered that the trolley was starting to burn, there were some adults who had obviously seen the same thing, why did they not want to put a end to the fire and chastise the kids or to even prevent the kids from carrying out the arsonist act?

Kids nowadays are really spoilt from what I have observed. In Singapore, both parent are usually working to support their family, leaving the care of their children to their maids. Lack of parental guidance is dangerous; one see from this incident that kids can actually play with fire as a consequence from it; what greater ‘fire’ would they afflict on the society if their character was not tweaked subsequently from proper education and guidance?

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