Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Crime and Youth

Though Singapore is considered one of the safest cities on earth, murders and other crimes occasionally do still hog the headlines of newspapers.

Just one or two days ago, it was reported that an Indian teenage lady aged 18 was murdered in a horrific manner near a PUB substation at Ang Mo Kio. The wall next to where she was found was splattered with red blood, which has since dried. The police has apprehended a suspect for interrogation swiftly. Two weeks ago, a NUS undergraduate was sexually assaulted near a construction worksite in the vicinity of the university. A week ago, opposition candidate Tan Lead Shake’s wife slaughtered his sister-in-law and injured his brother and mother.

In peaceful Singapore when such egregious crimes occur, these would inevidently become the top of the town. Capping such crimes would be the security lapses, which have been manifesting themselves this year: 1) the lapse which led to the walking out of a military camp by National Serviceman Dave Teo with a M16 rifle to cause carnage 2) the lapse which led to the escape of JI leader Mas Selamat 3) the lapse which led to the breaking free of 2 convicts during a court proceeding 4) the lapse at checkpoint which led to a man being able to exit from the country with his son’s passport. The island is abuzz with discussion about the recent lapses and explanations from the government for the lapses are aplenty and forthcoming.

The murder cases and the security lapses mentioned above are rare and in some cases, ‘isolated cases’ for Singapore. Singapore still possesses a credible security team to ensure the high quality of safety in Singapore is constantly upkept. There is however a regular dose of reporting about crimes committed by youth that are regular fixtures in the dailies.

The basic building blocks of societies are families; societal problems often arise from family problems. Children who are neglected, abused, not showered any love or attention by their parents during their upbringing would often stray and dabble into crimes. Teen crimes, teen gangs and the notorious ‘Dave Teo’ incident are hallmarks of such a thwarted family upbringing.

In Singapore, due to the cost of living, most families, especially the younger ones are dual-income. Spending a majority of their time in their work, both parents should still spend some quality time, never mind how small this amount would be, with their children, to inculcate in them correct values and rectitude. Maids shall never become the substitutes for parents.

Many a times, I have witnessed scores of teenagers loitering in void decks, practically doing nothing constructive and seeming to attempt to commit offences. They look belligerent and stares are prominent features of their anger-written faces.

Apart from the problem kids, today’s youth of the millennium are no longer the youth of yesterdays. Lapping up the ever-changing technology, they are far more complicated in thoughts and behavior. They remain an enigma to the government, which is trying to reconnect with them in the ways of the internet, example via social networking platform, Facebook and the P65 website (

A new ‘youthscape’ of Singapore has emerged and bring with it a host of challenges to the society. These youth will continue to grow up into mature adults, form the majority of the population and change the face of Singapore.

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