What Mount Kinabalu Has Taught Us About Humanity and Parenting

mount kinabalu
Last weekend was supposed to be a celebratory one, with the nation lapping up the euphoria of playing host to the SEA Games. But life, as it is wont to do, never goes according to plan. The nation was rocked by terrible news: A team of Tanjong Katong Primary school children and their teachers were at Mount Kinabalu when Sabah was rocked by it's latest earthquake.
News updates began to trickle in during what must have felt like an eternity to the affected families. The news reports painted a increasingly grim picture with the mounting death toll from the natural disaster. Singapore has lost six students and two teachers in the blink of an eye.
The mood in the country is a somber one. Many Singaporeans have stepping forward to offer condolences for the victims and their families. 
Which makes the small group of opportunists who trying to milk the tragedy for political mileage stick out even more. There's been a group of people who have been baying for MOE, or rather Education Minister Heng Swee Kaet's head, demanding that he resign as a display of accountability for the deaths. 
One inconsiderate individual raised a furore online when he tried to blemish the integrity of the school and teachers by insinuating that this was a paid holiday for teachers. This person only realized his folly and apologized after netizens thoroughly crucified him for his ill conceived candor. 
Insensitive louts like these really grind my gears. The Sabah incident is a natural disaster. It's not something anyone could have foreseen given the seismic history of the region. The TKPS entourage were just at the wrong place at the wrong time. 
But nope. Some people cannot accept that. Some people just want to point the finger at someone whenever disaster strikes. Even more so when you are someone with a stake in taking down the incumbent government. 
Newsflash to wannabe politicians: This might play well with the extreme anti government bunch, but it will turn off any swing voters within earshot of your garbage. So kiss whatever electoral victory dreams you had good bye. Your disgusting behavior ended up making MOE and Minister Heng Swee Keat look all the better thanks to their own compassionate handling of the matter. 
I cannot imagine what all parents in Singapore are thinking right now. But I hope this incident does not frighten them off  of sending their kids out for future excursion trips like this. I really hope this doesn't turn Singapore into a nation of helicopter parents who hover around their kids all the time. We need to remember that we cannot shield our kids from danger all the time. Sometimes we have to let our kids fall, just so they can learn to pick themselves up. Be there to comfort them in their pain but never ever mollycoddle them.
Life is full of danger. To tell your child otherwise, to deprive them the ability to learn skills that will help them maneuver through life's labyrinthine pathways would be doing your children a grave disservice. Your children are stronger than you give them credit for.
Don't ever think of yourself as a bad parent if you are someone who is for teaching your children discipline and survival skills. By doing so you will be raising someone who will be ready to take on life's challenges and be a boon to society. Your child will blossom under your care as you challenge them to grow and become bigger than what they are. 
To the parents of the TKPS kids who perished in Sabah, I would like to say that you are good parents. Please do not let this one natural disaster change that fact about you. Your pain is felt and we as a nation will help you get through this.

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