Malaysiakini Letter

The 'basikal lajak' is not the real problem

JD Lovrenciear
Published:

LETTER | The nation failed to curb the 'mat rempit' menace. And now we have 'basikal lajak'.

The knee-jerk response by the authorities is that this problem again is because of a lack of parental guidance.

Schools have failed. Religious teachers have failed. Parents are failing. But those with the power to steer the social development of values have not failed.

That seems to be a political diagnosis.

We do not have the courage to face up to the fact that in our maddening dash to develop the country with bricks and mortar and make more money, we have raped the country, and left it devoid of social values that can nurture and groom our young.

We took away the sports fields.

We took away playgrounds.

We took away the numerous patches of easily reachable adventure terrains.

We lost our many rivers and ponds that would have made water sports and humble fishing healthy outlets for the energetic young.

In their place, we now have tuition classes mushrooming everywhere and becoming a must-have need.

We have burdened students with heavy bags of books and learning subjects with token time slots for sporting, creative arts and physical education.

So where do these youngsters release their boundless energy?

The tarred streets outside their homes become the only playground. You certainly do not expect the young to play marbles on the frontages, fly a kite on the street or fish in the drains skirting our tamans.

So, they turn the boring cycling activity into stunt acts from a very age.

When the road frontages outside their concrete dwellings prove too constrictive for more adventure, obviously they hit the highways.

When snooker centres and malls take over healthy outdoor activities, the youths will explore more dangerous avenues to release their vibrating, bursting interests.

In a nutshell, our political-economic engineering these past several decades is the root cause of the ‘mat rempit’ and ‘basikal lajak’ activities.

And this is not going to make our nation a great place on the map of developed nation status, believe me.

So can our policymakers stop their grandiose plans and get back to the drawing board to create a balanced national development?

They can if political power-grabbing, rent-seeking, and wealth hoarding are bled out of the socioeconomic system of this nation.

Return the abundance of playing fields; give back the rivers and mini forests for the young to go exploring, release their pent-up energy and learn discipline.

Return to the young the joy of learning and growing up.

When we stop robbing the young of their time and space to grow up, the nation can eradicate many social ills.


The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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