Like my previous post, I’ll be
writing an essay presenting on another position again. This time around, on another 2 different stories namely “The Merry Maid” written by our very own Dr. Jayakaran Mukundan and “A Great Injustice” by Hweah Chwee Sian. I shall keep this short; and hopefully sweet.
Very briefly, the first story tells of Lakshmi, an Indian lady and her daughter who she gave away to a Malay family at a very young age. After years of separation, Lakshmi worked her way to meet her daughter, now Sakinah. She had wanted to kidnap her away from her current home but decided it wasn’t the right thing to do and gave up. The second story on the other hand, highlights the issue of abortion. Ah Nya who was pregnant with Steven’s kid was ostracized by the community she lived with. Steven refused to marry her and caused her a lot of shame. In the end, she had her baby killed via abortion.
Honestly, it was pretty hard to come to a conclusion on a common issue in both stories. From my group’s perspective, abortion isn’t the core issue. Instead, it is about the innocent child born out of wedlock, or in Ah Nya’s case, still-born. A major part of the story revolves around the fate of the child and the consequences of having one. Therefore, we decided upon this position:
“Modern Malaysian Society still holds Harsh Judgment towards Pre-marital Sex Resulting in the Birth of a Love Child”
Unlike the modern society of today, those in the past clearly reject the idea of pre-marital sex. It is only now that society is beginning to be more open to this notion as a way of practising individual freedom. However, it doesn’t seem to be so in the Malaysian context. Harsh judgments are still passed around rampantly without constraint. So the question is, why? We are a considerable modern society already. Yet, we are not allowing our people to practise their rights. Bringing the 2 stories into picture, the reasons are as follows.
1. Importance of marriage
Marriage, as we know it, is a rite of passage that all must go through before moving on to the next stage of life. It is a duty, with all due respect to religion, that must be carried out for a righteous path to the continuation of life. As the law of Malaysia states, the father of a child born before marriage would not be recognized. In other words, it is legally not accepted to have a child before one is married. Hence, when Ah Nya found out she was pregnant, her very first thought was marriage. Likewise, Lakshmi who already had made a mistake of having a child before her marriage, was eager to get married first the second time around before she conceives her second child.
Family pride and dignity
Malaysian society deems pride and dignity a family issue more than that of an individual’s. It relates heavily to a family’s status, upbringing and education background. Therefore, what one does would eventually be related to these issues; be it good or bad. Both Ah Nya and Lakshmi knew what they have done would bring great shame to their family. Thus, the former decided to abort her baby while the latter, gave it away.
Both couples in the mentioned stories are very young and immature at the time their love child was conceived. Being at such a tender age, the society believes them to be too immature to handle heavy responsibilities of building a family. They were not working and hence still dependent on their families in many areas of their lives; one of which is financial support. If they had taken unto their own to continue building heir families, it would perhaps result in the ruins of the following generation – the lack of education, emotional maturity, and financial support.
Nature of Society
As much as we all are a part of the big society of the world, the nature of each individually diverse society differs. While cultures of the majority part of the globe practices individual freedom, our Malaysian society observes a collectivist nature. Modernism exhibits individualism as rights of every human to exercise freedom of speech, act among the many. However, here in Malaysia, we are still very much at the mercy of society’s perception; and because we are, all that we do is expected to fall in line with that of the majority public. When we fail to do so, we are ridiculed – like Ah Nya and compelled to conform – like Lakshmi.
It is very interesting to note the differences between our own country and the major parts of the world in this issue of pre-marital sex and love child. Though still conservative by nature, I’m proud to say we are a country with a firm stand on what we believe to be right.