Wai! As the evening comes, the youths emerge from their recluse as the ants do from the anthills. And when the night matures they are seen in every bar and drayang, more than sufficiently drunk. They are no longer our school children or adolescents deserving of affection but brats of the meanest order. For no apparent reason they begin spewing earth-shattering tantrums as if to test the vulgarity of a language. They are the hooligans.
Girls aren’t behind either. Possibly they have heard about gender equality. Often a gang of boys is followed by a bunch of girls from whose manners one can conclude that they are not sober. They too have learnt to breathe out fumes of vulgarity that could send an average man reeling on his knees.
What follows, more often than not, is fights, vandalism, rape and everything we like to connect to when the youths go awry. Whose responsibility is it to bring them back in line?
For once, let us not blame our education system, teachers and police who have seemingly endured our countless infuriated blows. Every individual parent must be accountable for the upbringing of the child. If our children go astray it’s mainly due to the lack of parental guidance.
We have taken solace in the thought that most wayward youths are the product of broken families and as the broken pieces cannot be reassembled the youth problem cannot be fixed. What a wrong logic, indeed! Who said divorced parents must not take care of their children?
More than the correctives measures offered to these youths by organisations like VAST, RENEW and PYP, all our parents must be given lessons and counselling on parenting on a regular basis. Other than a few intellectuals, we have seen that workshops and seminars conducted to address youth issues rarely engage our parents. This may sound a little offbeat for it will cost our coffers dear. But therein lies the solution. Parents must take the lead.