Prodigy or Tragedy?

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A few days ago, Malaysians were shocked to hear the news of a local whizkid – Nur Fitri, who was busted by British police for child pornography in one of the most extreme cases ever.

As I try to fathom this incident, I can’t help but to sense a pattern of disturbing behaviours displayed by many prodigies like Nur Fitri.

These are a few cases involving locals and foreigners with exceptional talents:

  • Mohd Shukri Hadafi from Kedah was a young genius who started reading newspapers at the age of 3. He grew up losing interest in studies and became a drug addict.
  • Chiang Ti Ming was accepted to study Physics at a prestigious foreign university at the age of 13. He died not too long after pursuing his doctorate due to depression.
  • Sufiah Yusof went to Oxford to study mathematics at the age of 13. During her second year, she ran away and spent a few years at foster care. At 18, she became a prostitute.
  • James Harries from Cardiff owned an antique business at 10 and wrote a book about his success at 14. At 24, he attempted suicide before having a sex change.
  • William Sidis, a New Yorker, went to Harvard at a young age but had a nervous breakdown as an adult. He died of brain haemorrhage.

What made these brilliant young people with bright future to fallout when they are so close to achieving their dreams? What made them choose the wrong path which led them to self-destruction?

While people who knew Nur Fitri personally are in shock and disbelief, the public has taken upon them to destroy this young boy using social media and news portals as platform.

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The public uproar is due to statements by Minister Shafie Apdal who wish to ‘rescue’ Nur Fitri by appealing for a reduced sentence; GPMS who wish to assist Nur Fitri by recommending him to continue his studies in a local university; and Mara who wish to give the young boy a second chance.

People’s anger is very evident simply by browsing through the comments in various portals –some claim it racially motivated while others are appalled at the level of hypocrisy practiced by the government. Basically Malaysians want the convict to be treated as a convict.

On top of that, many question the logic of releasing a paedophile convict into the society especially in our local education institutes. They ask: ‘Has our minister lost his mind?’

While I believe one has to have a brain first in order to lose their mind, I can’t help but to wonder where is our sense of humanity? Why are we so eager to feed out of someone’s agony just because some dungu are making stupid statements?

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Yes, Nur Fitri has been convicted of an offence. Yes, he is going through his punishment. But will he become a sexual predator once freed? We do not know that.

What we do know is the fact that he is very young. He could have been ruled with an iron fist, pushed to perform, sent for endless tuition classes, punished in order to be motivated.

Contrary to what most people think, being a smart kid is not a garden of roses. Imagine growing up in a different phase than their peers. Imagine bullied for being special. Imagine losing friends. Imagine the expectations, the competitions and the pressure. Certainly all these could have a diverse effect on a child.

Sadly the society doesn’t take all that into consideration before pointing our fingers and screaming ‘Paedophile!’ at Nur Fitri.

Yes, at 23 Nur Fitri is an adult. Yes he should take responsibility for his actions as an adult. But what if, just what if his addiction began when he was a minor? Would that change the way you see this young man? 

“I believe everyone deserves a second chance, that is the purpose of punishment – to provide a platform for repenting the mistakes done and going through a process of rehabilitation. I believe like everyone else, Nur Fitri deserves a second chance to start fresh once he has undergone his rehabilitation. Sadly, I see our society bashing this young sick boy over their anger towards idiots we have as ministers. Having said that, I have no confidence that this boy will ever get his second chance – everyone knows his name and his face, he will have to carry this paedophile tag for as long as he lives. Nur Fitri is a product of our society. But as usual, it is easier to point fingers and find someone to blame instead of seeking the flaws in our own society. I am deeply sad because while we are all concerned about the safety of our children with paedophiles on the loose, we seem to have forgotten that Nur Fitri was once a child too and most probably started his addiction as one.”
-Fa Abdul @ FMT
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I believe it matters no more if Nur Fitri completes his imprisonment in UK or is rehabilitated in psychiatric wards or is enrolled into our local universities – thanks to our media and social networks, everyone has judged him and sentenced him with public shaming.
Thanks to everyone, even after completing his five year imprisonment and going through necessary rehabilitation procedures, Nur Fitri will NEVER get a second chance to start fresh. Everyone will remember his name and his face. His past mistakes will stick to him like a stigma.

Perhaps if he was our brother or son or even a friend, our reaction would have been different.

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Like Sufiah Yusof, some of yesteryears’ prodigies are living life in a hideout, far from the society they were once a part of, trying to pick up the broken pieces of their lives.

Their lives has turned out to be nothing but a tragedy.

I feel Nur Fitri will be no different.

 

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