The news of a Malaysian mother abusing her children in Sweden has been heard of before. A Malaysian mother who was jailed in a child abuse case in Sweden is has now resumed her teaching career.
Shalwati Norshal, 46, returned home from Sweden after completing her 14-month sentence handed down by the Solna district court in Sweden in March for gross violation of the integrity of her daughter and eldest son, as well as assault of her two younger sons in 2010. The story goes that the second child reported to the school that they were being abused and seemed help. The teachers in school took action and the parents who were on trial claimed that it was in their culture and that they didn’t want their children to be culture shocked when they return to their homeland from Sweden. The parents claimed that it wasn’t abuse as it was part of their Malaysian culture to discipline children, in that way. When the trial ended, the parents were both charged and fined.
This case is a perfect example of “clash of cultures” and it is still controversial to many people today.Based on our personal opinions, we believe that it is lawfully right for the authorities in Sweden to take action against the parents.Why?Well, they were clearly not abiding Sweden’s law which stated that spanking, slapping, whipping, pinching or even hair-pulling are prohibited because it is a form of child abuse.It may be their custom to discipline the child but if one is in another country he/she should follow the rules and regulations set upon their citizens in order to avoid conflicts and to spread peace. Furthermore, the child should not be physically abused, like being beaten with any objects under any circumstances.Parents in Malaysia find beating and hitting their children the only way to discipline them and have never approached an alternative method which is confronting them.The child may be unaware of his/her fault so it is the parent’s responsibility to advice them verbally and not physically abuse them.There is a fine line between discipline and abuse but most parents are yet still unclear regarding this two subjects.
In our opinion, this case can be explained using the moral theories by relating it to one of the two aspects of moral content, that is, societal rules. Different society practices different cultures and has their own way of bringing up children. In Sweden, parents are not allowed to hit their child. As stated, human beings require rules which place certain restraints on their freedom to act in order that the safety and rights of the others can be protected. From Sweden’s point of view, the Malaysian parents would represent ‘the human beings’ while the children would represent ‘the others’. The action of the parents should be controlled under certain rules and laws so that the children could be protected from physical abuse and their rights are fulfilled. From Chapter 6, Section 1 of the Swedish Children and Parents Code: “Children are entitled to care, security and a good upbringing. Children are to be treated with respect for their person and individuality and may not be subjected to corporal punishment or any other humiliating treatment.” It can be clearly observed that in Sweden society, physical punishment from parents to their child is strictly prohibited. Slapping on their faces, smacking on their backs or pinching their ears are considered a crime that can send one to jail, even when the parents are just trying to discipline their child.
As for Malaysian parents’, their children’s attitude is a very important part when it comes to bringing them up. Unlike Sweden Malaysia law does not punish parents for beating their children but this doesn’t mean that the parents can abuse the children. It is actually a way of punishing the kids and Example of parents punishing their child is a slap for misbehaving in the mall and it is a norm for Malaysian kids. So the next time the child goes to the mall he/she will remember that they were slapped and that they won’t show tantrums. As a Malaysian child who has been through this situation I think slapping and canning the children sometimes is useful in bringing up a disciplined and well-mannered child but there should be a limit as well. Sometimes in some bad we have a lot of good.
In a nutshell, this case gradually became an issue because of the difference in the societal rules for both countries, Sweden and Malaysia. The Malaysian parents are applying their societal rules which is considered inappropriate in Sweden society, when they really should be aware of the law and abide it. Just like how we do not apply our high school rules in our college or university and etc. We must learn how to adapt to a lifestyle we are given and follow the rules and laws that were set by that community, organization or country.