ST Dec 5, 2008Who is this letter-writer, Mr Wittberger? I had no idea. I googled his name to find out (Google often turns up interesting information that way). I was half-expecting that he might turn out to be a teacher or a youth counsellor.
Death over CCA: Every child's voice should be heard
I AM writing in response to the article, 'Boy leapt to his death over CCA' (Nov 27).
I was appalled and deeply saddened by his actions. Behind his cheerful disposition, no one had any inkling of the turmoil in his mind.
It was a senseless act that led to a loss of life over such a trivial issue as co-curricular activities (CCA). All he wanted was to pursue his interest and for his wish to be respected. He had said 'he had lost inspiration to run and insisted on the switch'. Although this was what was said, there could have been other underlying reasons.
But all that should have mattered was respecting his wish and giving him the necessary support. Every child has a voice that should be heard and his wishes should be respected. I cannot imagine any troubled child wanting to speak to a stranger over the phone about his problems, when those close to him fail to understand his problems.
I hope no other child will resort to such drastic measures. Instead of waiting for troubled children to seek help, help should be sent to them via regular talks at schools by organisations such as the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports.
It turns out that Mr Witterberger is a 12-year-old kid who has just graduated from ACS Junior. Recently he was in the news - something about either being or not being Singapore's top Eurasian PSLE student. However, that's not the point.
My point is that I feel that it's great to see a young chap like Samuel writing to the press to express his view on a matter of public interest. Especially when it's a matter that's so relevant to youths in Singapore.
Too often, too many Singaporeans fail to speak up on important issues, even issues that should concern them directly. They are too stupid; too apathetic; too afraid - we know the usual reasons. But the failure to speak up for what you think is right is ultimately a failure to take a stake in your society and nation ... it's a sign of irresponsibility and immaturity.
Samuel may be only 12, but he demonstrates a different kind of possibility. He sets a good example - if there were many more young Singaporeans like him, then as a society we might yet be saved.
(Interestingly, despite being from ACS Junior, he chose not to go to ACS Independent. Perhaps he wants to do CCAs that actually interest him).