It’s a valuable lesson not punishment

I’M concerned about how some parents reacted to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s mention of inculcating a culture of humility and care for the community by having students clean their school, including toilets – some parents said the cleaning should be used as a way to punish naughty students.

This just shows the flaws of Malaysian society: we think negatively about cleaning, that only naughty students should be doing it, just as we think a cleaning job deserves only poor pay and those who do the job are treated as “lesser” in society. Yet in Japan, school children clean their own environs. This is done to teach humility, togetherness, compassion, and community spirit.

I call on Anwar to remain steadfast and begin this habit in our schools to help to narrow the growing divide between the haves and have nots. I still remember that when the government implemented national service for teens, the rich were able to get exemptions. Let’s take on this valuable idea of teaching kids humility and responsibility, and let’s begin in the right way, involving ALL students, rich and poor. And not by assigning cleaning to problem students only!


Kuala Lumpur

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