Monday, August 16, 2010

Unwanted Babies

How do you curb baby-dumping in Malaysia?

"Let them marry young," someone says. And by 'young' he means after the girls hit puberty. So it's 13? 14?

"Death by hanging if the baby dies," another one says. Only the girl is condemned. No one seems to criticize the role played by the male in making Girl pregnant.

Let's give Girl a face. When you read the following, imagine that Girl is your sister, your cousin, your young aunt, even your daughter... a member of your family.

Girl has been with a boy she's crazy about and wants to be with him happily ever after. Then surprise: she misses one period! She doesn't care at first because she doesn't know any better. Then she misses the next one... and the third.

Who should she tell? Her parents? Are you crazy? They'll kick her out of the house after telling her how dare she shames and humiliates the family 'you good-for-nothing blahblahblah'!

She won't get any sympathy from her brother and sister either. They'll tell her, "We told you not to kawan jantan tu. Look, this is all your fault. Buat keluarga malu ja. Tak malu punya pompuan!"

If you were Girl, who will you tell? Your teacher? Your grandmother? Her grandma is dead, OK?

She tells the boy.

"What?" says Boy, his eyes popping out. "Get rid of it! It's not mine! I'm out of here!"

Can you imagine how Girl feels? She can't tell a single soul. She can't trust even her best friend.

Her body is changing. She can't hold down her food. Certain smells make her sick. Her body is growing... and growing. Her baju is getting tighter. She tries to make her tummy small. But she can't tell anyone. She's so terrified her secret is discovered that she can't sleep at night and she cries into her pillow.

If her mama and papa notice any change in her, they keep quiet. They don't like bad news. They love Girl, although they don't show it, and hope she works hard in school, gets a good job and marries someone they admire. (Like Kakak whose husband is a successful entreprenuer.)

Now, Boy doesn't even want to look at her. When they bump into each other, he turns his face to look the other way.

From the time she knows a baby is growing in her, Girl suffers alone, betrayed by Boy anf fearful that her family will disown her. What will she do? What can she do? She's only 15 and still needs her mama.

Then one day the pain comes. Such terrible pain and Girl thinks she's going to die. Still, she can't share her dreadful secret. The baby comes out. Is Girl alone at the birth? How does she cut the cord? Is someone there with her to take a sarong... a bag... some old newspaper to wrap the baby? Is there no one there to help... to give a word of comfort?

Abandoning a baby is wrong. But punishing the girl alone will not solve the problem.

Walk in Girl's shoes for nine months and then judge her and tell her she deserves to die.

Just remember to let 'those without sin cast the first stone'.


  1. hi there
    got your book and eagerly read it. interesting details you put in there. congratulations

  2. Hi kukuanga.. thanks for stopping by. Thanks for getting the book!