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Our every action has a trickle-down effect - by M.R.

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Why do you think it is necessary to teach moral values for the all-round development of a person?


'A' level student-inmate from institution TM1

1st Prize


Observing the state of humanity today, it is obvious that all is not well between the two different hemispheres. Quelling of Covid-19 was not as successful as we had hoped to expect. Governments racing to secure vaccines for their nation surfaced concerns of vaccine inequality and the incessant blare of the syncopated thumps and the kaleidoscopic swirls of popular culture adds further to the confusion. Religion mired by controversies have caused many to grapple with the idea of an all-loving and all-encompassing God. Thus, I am with the belief that it is imperative to teach moral values for the holistic development of a person.

 

Children today are exposed to the internet endlessly. Either to study or play, the internet is a crucial tool for their development. Plugged into the ether, the internet represents a parallel universe where thriving online communities and subcultures exist. However, despite all the diversity, there lurks stronger and sinister things in the digital shadows. The internet brims with shocking, tasteless and lewd content such as pornography, violently themed computer games and the presence of shady individuals whose aims are to corrupt the unsuspecting. Pliable minds of children may not have the capacity to contemplate between what is morally acceptable or not. As such, it is important that parents take the time to address and discuss the moral concerns and not just depend entirely on school curriculum and teachers.


A case in point, the recent killing of a 13 year old boy by a fellow 15 year old student from River Valley High School in Singapore exemplifies the chilling effect that the internet has on our young. The tragedy originated from a game of dare that circulated on the internet, with challenges and stunts that are silly, even dangerous. The murder weapon, an axe, was purchased online which makes us ponder on the state of mind of the perpetrator. We need to ask ourselves if such actions would have been prevented if the child had lessons that address the morality of violence on screens, the difference between fact and fiction. Could we have spared the anguish of the victims parents and the widespread panic of the others? We cannot afford similar events to recur, like the innumerable tragedies of the high school shootings in America. The thought of our younglings running around on violent sprees are just too horrifying and unfathomable. Hence, I strongly call for lessons on moral values for the safety and protection of our young and innocent lives.

 

Youths are the future blood of our society. The restless minds of youths seek understanding, pleasure and belongingness. It is a time when conflicting ideas reign and self-expression are acts deemed rebellious. The exploration of sexuality is a key concern at this point and parents, especially in Singapore may not actively participate in the discussion about the birds and the bees. Parents need to understand the sensitivity is required no matter how awkward it may seem because youths, gurgling with raging hormones may not be fully aware of the implications of unprotected sex. A ‘chastity belt’ is not the solution (in fact, it never was) but we simply cannot continue to witness the detonation from neglect. Teenage girls have a future ahead of them such as a good education and a career which may be blunted and destroyed from having an unwanted pregnancy. Boys must know there is a responsibility that comes with their every action.


Even teenage couples who abandon their education at such an early age due to a ‘mishap’ are at risk of not providing enough for their baby due to the inexperience. Hope alone cannot feed the baby, much less a starving Mommy and Daddy. Worse, the struggle and mental stress to put bread on the table may result in further deprivation of essentials, which can lead to dysfunctionality and intergenerational poverty. Although many may argue that sex is not a crime but when it results in a child who will be deprived of a loving family environment and education, it is a crime. Hence, the education of moral values is an important aspect in the self-development of a discerning person that extends beyond the individual to the people around them whom they dearly love.

 

Adults are often seen as the main driving force behind every society. Adults are the ones that make things happen, the keepers and preserver of our ways of life. In an increasingly challenging world, the task of preserving is a Herculean feat that demands strong fundamentals and even stronger ethos. However, adulthood is also a time when perspectives evolve, when values are re-evaluated and prioritised, which differs between individuals. Most of the time, they are conflicting. While some may pursue a more quiet existence, others can be pushy, almost belligerent.


At this juncture, I would like to point out that even as adults, lessons on fundamental moral values are more than relevant. Self-radicalism, micro-aggression, casual racism and cancel culture are obnoxious words trending across all media platforms. We are at the most advanced stages of human civilisation as space travel becomes a commercial business, yet, it seems that our bonds as a human race are lagging behind all the advancements. I believe that it is about time that we look into basic values such as respect, honour and courage because they are crumbling faster than it takes for a purchase on Amazon to reach its destination. Adults today are more self-absorbed than our youths. Take a good look at Donald Trump, take a good look at the situation in Myanmar, Afghanistan and please, tell me what you think of the climate emergency. 

 

Retracing this essay, you might notice that at every start, I addressed our children, followed by our youths. At the heart lies which I cannot emphasise more on the crucial role that adults play. The nexus between all that is living and breathing, must coexist harmoniously in order to flourish. Although a cliché, life is a cycle and the vicious cycle of a skewed morality has to end. Our every action has a trickle-down effect. We reap what we sow, hence, we need to plant the seeds of moral values so that it will benefit all of mankind to ensure its continuity. As the anthropologist Colin Turnbull aptly commented, that humanity can (and must) yet “make decisions in favour of values we can still describe as human.”


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