Today is the last day of school examinations for both my children.
Last night, my son Nicholas asked me, “Mommy, tomorrow, after school, can I go out with a few friends for lunch and a movie at Times Square?”
“Yes, you can.”
“Thank you, Mommy!” he said happily.
On hearing this, his younger sister Alexandra followed suit with a similar question, “Mommy, this coming Saturday, can I go out with a few friends for lunch and a movie at Times Square?”
“No, you cannot!”
“Oh, why brother can, but I cannot, that’s not fair!” my daughter protested.
“Because you’re a girl, that’s why!”
I know I sounded very biased but really, I can’t help it.
She put on a sour face and pouted her lips to show her unhappiness.
“A boy won’t get kidnapped, got raped and pushed into vice but all these can happen to a girl,” I told her matter of fact.
Then I reminded her how four secondary school-girls in Kuala Lumpur decided to let their hair down after their examinations two years ago. They got into a taxi to go shopping and a movie but the taxi-driver did not take them to their destination. Instead he drove them to a seclude place in Ampang, raped them and forced them into prostitution for a year. All this happened without their parents’ knowledge. Everyday, he would wait outside their school and when school dismissed, they would get into his taxi. He then sent each of them to their respective clients. This vile monster lived off the girls’ immoral earnings. After a year, they could not take this indignity anymore and lodged a police report. The pimp cum taxi-driver was caught.
“Next life, I want to be born as a boy and not a girl; a girl does not have as much freedom as a boy,” Alexandra complained bitterly after hearing my story.
The recent case of a 15 years-old girl killed in a rape attempt is still very fresh in my mind. I can’t help blaming freedom for her death. Too much freedom for a teenage girl could be her bane.
If she had stayed home after her PMR examinations instead of going to that man’s house last Monday, perhaps she could still be alive today.
“Other girls’ parents allowed them to go but you’re the only one so strict,” she was trying to play with my decision, hoping I will have a change of heart.
Well, I did not give in to her at all. To me, yes means yes and no means no even if this will make me very unpopular with her friends.
“Different parents viewed their children’ safety differently. I cannot tell other parents what to do but I viewed your safety very seriously and I knew what I ought to do to keep you safe,” I patiently explained to her.
I remember when I was her age, my father was very strict with me. I could not simply go out without his permission and for a valid reason. In those days, it was still safe compared to now and Ipoh was a small town.
The fact that crime rate is getting out of hand these days and we are living in big bad Kuala Lumpur reinforces my resolute to keep my daughter within the allowed perimeter.
“You’re not afraid my friends will say you’re old-fashioned, you’re not in or you’re not cool?” she tried to test my determination further.
“No, I’m not afraid what others said as long as I knew I’ve made the best decision for you,” I told her.
If you have a teenage daughter like I have, would you allow her freedom to go anywhere with other girls her age?