This morning I dropped by at a good friend's house. She was in but unfortunately she couldn't invite us in because there was major renovation work going on at her house. The renovation work has been going on for several weeks now and I had heard from her who some of the construction workers were. Thirteen and fourteen year-old kids.
I was shocked to see for myself this morning children working in construction. They should be in school but because of their own reluctance to go to school and their parents who didn't care if their children were educated or not they were instead working in construction.
It is indeed sad in this modern day and age, in my little home town, children prefer to make a living instead of go to school.
The construction contractor knows he shouldn't be employing children, but from all accounts no one forced the children to work. From the contractor's point of view, it is better that they learn a skill in construction from him than waste their life and maybe even get into vices like drug abuse, theft and breaking and entering into homes.
According to my friend, the contractor is a very nice man, concerned about the neglect the children are experiencing from their parents, and by giving them jobs he is really taking them under his wings. I watched the contractor work along side his young workers. He does look like cares for the children. Some may accuse him of exploiting the children, but I think he has a point when he says, he is providing a form of education for the children.
I don't know the full story about the family life of the children, and I can't pass any judgement on them. They claim one of the reasons they are not in school is that they do not have birth certificates. Without birth certificates, it is impossible for them to be enrolled in any school.
Sad but such is life for some in Malaysia.