Pregnant teen shelter regrets 'lewd' Form 4 literature text
A shelter for pregnant teenagers is unhappy with the selection of the novel ‘Pantai Kasih’ as compulsory reading for Form 4 students, claiming it has “lewd” content.
“We assist teenagers who fall pregnant out of wedlock at the Darul Wardah Selangor shelter and rehabilitation centre.
“We feel it is unreasonable that ‘Pantai Kasih’, which has lewd elements, is used as a secondary school textbook,” Petubuhan Kebajikan Darul Wardah (Darwa) chairperson Hazlina Abd Razak said.
Hazlina said the teens Darwa counsels say that they learn of sex at school from their peers or through watching pornographic videos on their mobile telephones at the back of the classroom, when the teacher is not in.
So having books that allude to sexual relations as part of the syllabus does not help, and should be retracted from the syllabus, she said.
“Education should set us on the right path. We urge the selection panel to be more careful and aware of their responsibilities,” Hazlina added.
The novel ‘Pantai Kasih’ by Azmah Nordin revolves around the lives of wealthy doctors and nurses, and includes a scene where a doctor is described as “not being able to contain his desires”.
“Raiha became the victim of his rapacity. It was unplanned and without Raiha’s permission, that special genetic cell belonging to Dr Sadiz entered Raiha’s body.
“Dr Sadiz continued in his glee, completing an autopsy on Raiha’s body, trapped on the lift floor,” a translation of the excerpt of the Bahasa Malaysia novel reads.
This excerpt has been lambasted by netizens as lewd content unsuitable for 16-year-olds.
According to Berita Harian yesterday, deputy education minister P Kamalanathan was reported to have said that the ministry will meet its novel selection panel to obtain a justification as to why the novel in question was chosen.
'Teens are in love, anyway'
However, Parent Action Group for Education (Page) chairperson Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim said such novels could be an effective way to educate teenagers about such issues.
Noor Azimah said teenagers today were already facing such situations in their own lives.
Introducing such novels would make it easier for teenagers to discuss such topics with their teachers and for teachers to educate them on this, she said.
“Such a novel is suitable because many at that age are falling in love,” Noor Azimah told Malaysiakini .
Popular writer Raiha Bahaudin ( photo ) questioned the textbook selection panel, but for different reasons.
Raiha urged the ministry to consider more quality literature, which do not portray women in such demeaning light.
“Maybe some will say I feel slighted because the main character in that steamy scene shares my name. Maybe. But please. Be more judicious in your writing.
“The fact is, those who write such stories that place women in demeaning positions are mostly women themselves,” she said in an open letter, in which she signed off as a ‘worried mother and writer’.
Raiha said while saucy “romance” novels are a dime a dozen in book stores, none of these are endorsed by the Education Ministry.
Even if the intention is to use pop fiction to attract young readers, quality should not be compromised, she said.
“This is not a battle between literature and pop fiction, and we know that not all literary works are suitable for children, and vice-versa.
“But we have seen how Western pop fiction, like 'The Hunger Games' and 'The Maze Runner', tell stories of determination and struggle against corruption,” she said.
'Little to teach young readers'
Similarly, teacher Faeiz Ali in a Facebook post lamented how 'Pantai Kasih' teaches little to young readers.
"There is a doctor who drives a Porsche, a doctor who drives a Volvo 960. A doctor who lives in a hotel-like condominium.
"A randy doctor who likes to flirt with nurses. A psychotic and arrogant doctor. A doctor who has mental illness and is delusional.
"A doctor in love with a doctor and a doctor in love with a nurse. Why is this even in our syllabus?" Faiez asked.
Faiez, who has since been called up by the ministry on the matter, said the novel pales in comparison with the English literature text for Form Five, 'Sing to The Dawn'.
'Sing to The Dawn' tells of the class struggle between farmers and capitalists, he said.
"Just look at the quality of Bahasa writing lately. It is very sad."
Malaysiakini has contacted the book's writer Azmah for comments.