T AN Sri Lee Lam Thye raised a disturbing question, "Has a culture of violence emerged in our nation?" (New Sunday Times, July 8).
As vice-president of the Malaysia Crime Prevention Foundation, he must have been much concerned when he said, "I can't help but ask this question as I read about violent crime in newspapers".
He called on the media to redouble efforts to carry out "responsible reporting in order to create awareness and make the public more safety-conscious".
Recently, it was reported that three Form Six students in Nilai were attacked by gang members, who barged into the school compound in broad daylight without fear. It followed a complaint by a Form Three student to his elder brother that one of the Form Six prefects had reprimanded him during the school assembly.
We cannot fault Lee for questioning the values and morals of society, especially among the youth, as the country moves towards becoming a developed nation.
Everyone has a role to play in moulding responsible citizens. Of course, parents have a pivotal role. As the saying goes, the house is not necessarily a home and what a child really needs is a home and not a house.
The "home alone" child usually feels neglected because of a lack of parental love. He or she becomes irritated and problematic in school. Being placed in the last class, he socialises with students who have no interest in studies.
He starts playing truant, tormenting other students and even collecting "protection money".
Going to school is just an excuse to get out of the house. The student cannot wait to sit for the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia examination -- not because he wants to score and go to Harvard or Oxford University -- but to break free from the "bondage" of schooling.
While waiting for results, he will be up to no good and lepak (loiter around) with his wayward friends. Soon, one thing will lead to another.
Before he realises it, he will find his name appearing in the newspapers for the wrong reasons, unlike his schoolmates who have cored a string of As and are looking forward to become useful citizens of society. He will perhaps regret his actions as he spends time in one of the nation's correctional institutions.
Therefore, it is important that moral values in youth are inculcated from young by both parents and teachers.
Hassan Talib, Kuala Lumpur