Another child goes missing.
Rekha Ahamad, 10, left her home in Georgetown, Penang, since Sunday* (or Monday)* night and never returned.
If you see a child matching her description, please inform the police station near you. Or
Rekha was last seen leaving her squatter house in Kampung Kolam near Acheen Street, wearing a white T-shirt with an "Ultraman" character printed on it, and a pair of shorts.
I believe she has short dark hair.
Rekha had wanted to buy a VCD at the nearby pasar malam. She never returned home.
A police report has been lodged.
Read the story here and here.
Rekha, sixth of seven siblings, went out alone that night. It was not the first time that she had gone out of her house alone after dark, according to her stepfather, second hand goods trader Ahamad Omar, 49.
But she always returned home by 8pm or 9pm.
Her mother, Salmah Sellamah Abdullah, 41, was at work at a factory in Bayan Lepas when Rekha went missing.
I know, I know. You must be aghast that the little girl had been allowed to wonder out alone.
But, I wouldn't mercilessly blame the parents. Her mum was out at work. and her step-dad, well, I really don't know the details.
Yeah, it is so easy for us to judge, huh? So let's not.
But listen. That's a tough life they are leading. Rekha must be a tough little girl.
Under the circumstances of her life, she must have been left to her own devices all this while. And she has five older siblings who are probably also left to their own devices, caring for their younger ones or helping daddy at the store.
I don't know. What I do know is that, again, life must be tough for the family.
Well...welcome to the real world which is not always rosy and nice as we all want it to be.
My point is -- yes, we have to start educating families on the importance of protecting their children because imbibing values and a change in mindset will not be overnight.
Perhaps, that's our contribution. But what can we do, right now, to ease the burden of people like Norazian (Nurin's mum) or Salmah?
Not very much.
So why don't we do what we can?
The hard truth is that there are scores of families, like Ahamad's or Jazimin's who lead a pretty hard life eking out a living.
So, chide these "negligent" parents all you want.
Meanwhile, children, like Rekha, living in the type of neighbourhood she lives in, will go missing. And for many reasons. Because this is not a perfect world we live in.
The police have said that they are taking a very serious view of the case. I hope they are going about it in the most effective way to ensure that she can be safely returned to her family in the soonest possible time, before she is harmed, or (Heaven forbids!) killed.
Let's also hope that the broadcast and print media do their part in publicising her disappearance.
I pray that Rekha is safe somewhere, and that she is not now held captive by some sex maniac/s, intent on assaulting and murdering her or, by evil and sinister people who want to traffick or smuggle her (out) for the flesh trade.
Yesterday, it was Nurin.
Yes, we can pray that Rekha will not be another Nurin.
We prayed for Nurin, remember?
Sometimes, prayers are not enough.
Because, when we have it in our power to do something, we should be doing that.
Now, do you not think that we need a Nurin Alert?
*NST says went missing since Monday while the Star says, since Sunday.