NOW that the election is over, life is slowly beginning to return to normal. Gone are the intense campaigning and lobbying. Our newsfeeds are suddenly being flooded by either congratulatory or consolation messages, depending on how everyone’s respective chosen candidates had fared.

No matter which side has won, their job is just beginning. Winning a state or parliamentary seat isn’t a privilege, but a responsibility.

James Freeman Clarke, an American author once said: “A politician thinks of the next election. A statesman, of the next generation.” As such, our hope is that the politicians will put their differences aside so that they can start focusing on building a better future for the new generations.

They need to be aware of the many challenges facing our young today. For example, cases of bullying are still rampant, alive and kicking — no pun intended.

Just last week, there was a video that was circulated on social media about a bunch of young teenagers cornering a helpless fellow student and punching and kicking him around.

Usually I would not be able to bring myself to watch such things, let alone share such videos. But something came over me and I forced myself to watch it. As expected, I felt very angry with the perpetrators and incredibly sorry for the victim.

This is something that we can no longer brush aside in the hope that it will solve itself. It has reached a chronic stage. There are far too many of such cases, most of which we have been privy to through these online videos.

LOOK OUT FOR THE YOUNG

As we all know, bullying is a serious societal concern that affects everyone, especially children. It affects those getting bullied, those doing it and those standing around just watching.

It’s further characterised by the bullies repeatedly using their higher social status, which they have over the victim, to exert power and to hurt the victim.

While parents need to continue to work hard to prevent their children from becoming a bully or victim, the newly-elected politicians too should look into this issue and treat it as a critical case. I’m hoping for a strong message from the lawmakers to these perpetrators and their parents. Enough is enough.

While we’re busy criticising acts of terrorism in other parts of the world, we sometimes forget about the young “terrorists” brewing at home. They wouldn’t think twice about punching, kicking and tormenting their defenceless victims.

We need to come up with urgent but effective action plans and the newly-elected politicians must lead the way. Let’s put aside our political differences for a while and focus on the future generation.

We, parents, promise to support your plans if they’re not for selfish reasons. We want you to stop being politicians and become statesmen instead. It’s only then that our children can look forward to a safer, productive and brighter future.

Zaid Mohamad coaches and trains parents to experience happier homes and more productive workplaces. Reach him at zaid@smartparents.com.my

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