Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Who's Watchin the Kids in Amritsar? It Would Appear that No One Is

There are very few places for kids to go in Amritsar. The park areas around the city are not safe during the day because they are taken over by men who are drinking (yes, in public), already drunk men, unruly young men who have no manners, etc. You only see families at the park at certain hours of the evening and the women and kids are rarely unescorted. Playgrounds are almost always empty because, as I mentioned already, everyone says the parks are unsafe during the day.

I've blogged before about kids running the streets here, small children below school age and playing amongst the traffic without a single adult in sight. The kid around the corner from us has went two blocks up before he got scared and came back himself and his sister came looking for him. So for about 15 minutes this 3 year old child was wandering the streets, in traffic, without any adult being concerned for his whereabouts. Discipline doesn't seem to be taught here and he was not even scolded for being out in the streets. The adult "watching" him only called his name when she was looking for him, realized he was about 6 houses away and went back around the corner to their home without calling him back. This is a common sight in this neighborhood.

This isn't the only issue with who's watching the children in Amritsar. Just a few days ago this news article - Pre-primary schools ill-prepared to nurture toddlers  -caught my eye. Anyone who knows an Amritsari has most likely heard how great everything is supposed to be on Ranjit Ave. It's one of the most posh areas of town. My personal opinions aside, it would also seem that no one there is any better. I, unlike many residents in this city who know how lax the standards are here, was not surprised one bit. In the article a father recounts how the school wasn't watching the children and he had to conduct a search on his own and found his daughter, well off school grounds with a complete stranger. No one was watching the children.

This article brought to light how common this kind of thing is because no one is regulating these schools. They have no one to answer to. All these schools want is your money and they won't be spending any extra effort to watch your children just because you were naive enough to expect it. Government run schools have serious issues with teachers not even showing up for class, yet the kids go and are there alone. Private schools don't seem to care how much school your kids miss.

This isn't uncommon here at all. One of the few playground areas for children, located inside of Celebration Mall, is well known not to watch your children while they play there. Sure, they have workers who are supposed to but they do not. Children get hurt and these workers don't even acknowledge it or they just brush off the incident as being no big deal and go back to talking amongst themselves. Parents are prohibited from sitting with their own children at the playground, especially if it's the father. Not that most parents care. They blindly trust these strangers to watch their kids while they leave the area and go shopping. *Yes, westerners do the same but we have strict laws on how children are cared for in these centers and it's rare for the workers to disobey them because that would mean jail time. So when a westerner leaves their child, we KNOW our kids are being watched.

Playgrounds are another source of concern when parents are present. Playgrounds inside of parks here all have fences around them. I think this gives the parents a false sense of thinking their kids are fine and need less supervision. It's not true. Kids abuse each other on the playground, get hurt and no one notices. They put things in their mouths that should never go in their mouth and all the while the adults there with them are too busy talking to other adults to notice or stop them.

It's evident among some of the older children, and I use that term to describe 20+ year old male college students for this example, that they are not taught basic social skills for interacting with others. College students in any country are immature but here in Amritsar you routinely see college students acting like small children year olds act in western countries. I would venture to say, and this is my opinion, that this childish behavior comes from not having adequate supervision as children. The Indian government seems to agree. (That's also included in the article posted above.)


9 comments:

  1. In my old neighbourhood in Bangalore there was a huge joint family of about 20 people (yes that many in a 3 bedroom appartment!) where despite the fact that there were a bzillion adults to supervise were doing fire crackers totally unsupervised for Diwali, and I'm talking about a freaking 4-5 year old kid playing with matches and lighting dangerous crakers!!!!!!
    Here in Mumbai in my residential complex which is a rather posh one we have brats, kids that have been spoiled rotten and just don't know how wo wait and interect at the playground, they are mean, violent and don't even tolerate an adult telling them to knock it off. My daughter has been pushed and hurt several time by these mean kids, the parents are generally nowhere to be found in most case, the maid in charge of supervising are all gathered in one corner of the playground gossiping and not caring one bit. Fortunately there are some parents like me too who actually care enough to enforce discipline, but we are few.
    I would never leave my daughter in one of these malls playground thing, the staff doesn't care, the fences around the area are about 2 feet high max, and I'm sure they would not notice if a kid climbed the fence and ran away :(

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yeah, there seems to be a general consensus that the kids will be fine on their own or a naive assumption that they are just out in the yard. Yet we are constantly told as adults how unsafe things are here. It doesn't match up. Kids need more protection than we do.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Cyn & Kristy, I have also noticed that there is no supervision amongst young children in Amritsar. I see young children wondering around streets and on main roads. Where are the parents I ask myself?  I never let my son 2.5 years out of my sight.

    I supervise him at all times in a play centre as they staff are not qualified, nor held accountable when a child has fallen and been hurt. I know because I have seen it with my own eyes. I have also noticed that people when spend money on their kids, except for a wedding and possibly education.

    In my home country children are watched continuously by adults, not sitting inside gossiping with each other. We take our kids to sporting activities, the movies, sleep overs at others homes, craft groups. You name it we do it!! and we love to spend time with our kids.

    When I visit a play centre here, I don't leave Amriks side and yet I see people dump there kids and virtually run. I wonder to myself don't they want to watch their kids play and ensure there safety.

    Also the kids and teenagers here are very immature. My 16 year old son was living her for 12 months and could not converse with kids the same age here. he needed to make friend with university students around the age of 22. He said the 16 year old's here act like silly little kids and the parents wont give them any money to do recreational activities such as going to the movies, so my husband and I would have to pay for him to take a friend or two and pay for their food while they were out, just so that my son could get out of the house for a little while.

    By Australian Standards the parents here have a lot to learn about the responsibility of raising children correctly. I have also found that kids here have no manners. They don't say please or thank you, or excuse me and they have no idea about privacy and not to touch other people's belongings. This used to upset my son immensely, unfortunately he had to learn to get tough and tell them not to touch and to come back and see him later at an exceptable time.

    ReplyDelete
  4.  Yeah and what gets me is that the Swiss standards are the same as the one in Australia, but yet Indians will swear people in a the west can't take care of kids and aren't family oriented. Sigh, if discipline and boundaries are evil then be it, the way kids behave here is crazy.
    Oh and I tutored 5 girls who were 17 for a French board exam at one point, they acted more like I would have acted at age 12, based on how they looked and their mentality I thought their age was 14 but geesh nope 17 and graduating from what would be called highschool in my country!
    At age 22 I was living on my own, working and paying my own bills, I was an apprentice decorator paid an apprentice salary, so tight budgeting had to be done, those who are in college at age 22 in Switzerland are also working on the side of their studies, because campuses accomodations do not exist, so yup they are more mature than any college kids I've seen here who still have no idea what the cost of life is like, or what responsibilities are like as well

    ReplyDelete
  5. Nicky I agree the situation is bad in amritsar, but what abt these incidents which happened in your own country

    a) Where a child was found wandering in a busy market place outside the childcare centre and the staff had no clue about his whereabouts
    http://www.theage.com.au/news/National/New-ABC-childcare-centre-probed/2005/03/12/1110567748780.html
    b) Some more incidents
    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/more-news/day-care-abuse-shock-for-parents/story-e6frf7kx-1111115645384

    I have no intentions to compare countries but my point is that such incidents are happening every where and I have seen how childcare staff deals here in melbourne as well when they have 20 kids to look after.  

    ReplyDelete
  6. Kristy, What about these incidents that happened in the US(& Rest of the western world), may be just one offs you would reckon :

    Day Care Sex Abuse Hysteria http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Day-care_sex-abuse_hysteria
    Little Rascals day care sexual abuse trial http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Rascals_day_care_sexual_abuse_trial

    US Worst in Child Abusehttp://news.discovery.com/human/us-worst-child-abuse-111023.html

    In Amsterdam
    Massive child abuse at Amsterdam day care centres
    http://www.rnw.nl/english/article/massive-child-abuse-amsterdam-day-care-centres


    In Australia
    a) Where a child was found wandering in a busy market place outside the childcare centre and the staff had no clue about his whereabouts
    http://www.theage.com.au/news/National/New-ABC-childcare-centre-probed/2005/03/12/1110567748780.html
    b)Day Care abuse shocks parents
    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/more-news/day-care-abuse-shock-for-parents/story-e6frf7kx-1111115645384


    To these articles you would hit back mentioning that you have written that in your blog :
    "Yes, westerners do the same but we have strict laws on how children are cared for in these centers and it's rare(is it ?? )  for the workers to disobey them because that would mean jail time. So when a westerner leaves their child, we KNOW our kids are being watched"....AND GETTING ABUSED , BUT WE HAVE A SYSTEM IN PLACE WHERE THE OFFENDER GETS JAIL TIME SO WHAT IF OUR CHILDREN GET ABUSED.

    So Mrs Private Investigator do your homework before blogging, to which you will say -- This is my blog, I write here what i see here in amritsar ...........but let me tell you the western world is more sick when it comes to child abuse.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Ok indians don't know anything about safety standards when it comes to running child care centres but atleast children don't get raped or abused or locked overnight in the centre as these incidents from the western world report :

    Massive child abuse at Amsterdam day care centreshttp://www.rnw.nl/english/article/massive-child-abuse-amsterdam-day-care-centres 

    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/more-news/day-care-abuse-shock-for-parents/story-e6frf7kx-1111115645384
    http://www.theage.com.au/news/National/New-ABC-childcare-centre-probed/2005/03/12/1110567748780.html
    US Worst in Child Abusehttp://news.discovery.com/human/us-worst-child-abuse-111023.html
    Day Care Sex Abuse Hysteria http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Day-care_sex-abuse_hysteria
    Little Rascals day care sexual abuse trial http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Rascals_day_care_sexual_abuse_trial

    ReplyDelete
  8. You're right, we do have trouble sometimes in the US. However, we expose it and destroy the offenders professionally, personally and criminally. Your comment about this happening more in the west is subjective at best. In India people cover things up, lie about them and deny them on the basis of not causing shame. Girls are repeatedly refused the right to report crimes to the police of this nature. It happens a hell of a lot more in Amritsar than anywhere I've lived in the US, but no one goes forward to the police. I've done my research on both countries. I have a degree in US criminal justice. I've studied a whole lot more than you realize.

    If you want to get on the topic of abuse, we could have a serious debate about what happens to Indian kids. They are routinely abused by teachers in schools, parents, family members and more. I can even show you newspaper articles and research from the Indian government to prove it.

    And instead of spending your time trying to tell me what I'm going to say, you should devote some of that energy to better child protection laws in India where there virtually are NONE. Then foreigners like me couldn't complain out of the sheer shock they feel for the lack of protection of children here.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Let me rephrase one thing. You said the US is more sick than India, not worse as I mentioned in my last reply. However, that's still inaccurate. Read your paper here and compare it to incidents in the US. People are the same everywhere. There are sick individuals in both countries. Just recently I blogged about an Indian man raping a 10 month old girl because he missed his family. This is SICK but no different than the sicko's in any other country who rape children. The problem here in India is that people like that man (and specifically that man) are let free, or they get their prison time reduced if they miss their family. So the child's suffering doesn't seem to matter much to the legal system. In the US the same man would have been put away for a long time, then likely killed shortly after incarceration. We simply don't tolerate suck sick behavior, much less reward them for being sad and lonely.

    ReplyDelete