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Society’s fault in the deaths of Zulfarhan and Nhaveen — Bernard Manickam

JUNE 20 — It is time we wake up, society is sick, and we are all to blame for it.

Recently, Malaysians were shocked by the deaths of Zulfarhan Osman Zulkarnain and T. Nhaveen. Both victims were allegedly bullied and tortured before succumbing to their injuries.

Angered by the events, netizens took to social media, demanding justice for Nhaveen via “trial by media”. Some even went as far as saying that the alleged bullies deserve capital punishment to serve as a stern reminder for potential offenders.

Although it is not wrong to demand justice, I think it is time for Malaysians to stop being in denial and instead tackle the elephant in the room, that is the issue of gangsterism and bullying.

According to Malay Mail Online, city OCPD Assistant Commissioner Anuar Omar referred to the suspects as “the ultimate juvenile delinquents” while Nhaveen’s uncle M. Vincent called them thugs who think that they have a “godfather” to protect them.

But have we ever wondered why such young teenagers are involved with gangsterism, bullying and extortion?

In a recent interview, USM Criminologist Assoc Prof Dr P. Sundramoorthy stated that studies have concluded it is the social environment that pushes an individual to commit crime.

With that said, can we fully put the blame on suspects? Can we confidently say that we as a society have done all we can to provide a nurturing environment for them to grow up to be good men? Or are we just pretending that everything is fine and only waiting to pounce on them and point fingers once something goes wrong?

Poverty, oppression, broken families and constant prejudices by society has led to people swaying off the right path. When they needed attention and acknowledgement, we decided to turn a blind eye. Out of desperation, they turn to gangs to seek comfort. Tell a man that he is bad long enough and one day he might just believe you.

What good could harassing the families of the suspect possibly bring? Fighting fire with fire in this sort of situation will only make things worse, because it will further prove that we are only waiting to tear each other down the first chance we get.

So what if the suspects receive the capital punishment? Is bullying and gangsterism solved? Their deaths will only serve as a short-term solution, only to be forgotten a few months later. How many more will have to lose their lives before society finally realises the bigger picture? That they are also involved in this vicious cycle of breeding bullies and gangsters.

At times like these, everyone one of us needs to chip in and help. If someone is behaving badly, don’t just shove them aside and hope everything would magically fall into place but instead talk to them. Let them know that we are here for them and there is no need to turn to gangs to seek acknowledgement. Give them the benefit of the doubt and they might just surprise you.

Martin Luther King once said: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” We Malaysians are collectively responsible for this, and it is time we admit that and start making a change.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail Online.  

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