Happy New Year. We Have Achieved A New Record for Children.

When we ring in 2019, we will have hit a record for children all over the world. And it is not a good record. According to Save The Children, more children than ever before are living in conflict areas and are at risk of death and violence. We will start the year with at least 357 million children suffering in conflict areas or roughly 1-in-6 children in our world. Most of the conflict areas are in Africa and Middle East.

I do not want to throw a wet blanket on your new year festivities. This is not an appeal for money for the many charities that help these children wherever they can. This is not a political statement about government or politics and to tell you who is to blame. And I am not going to show you in this article the heart wrenching pictures of children starved to death, injured by weapons of war or simply killed by indiscriminate bombings.

As seniors living in Singapore, I hope this short article will help achieve the following:

  • Realise how lucky we are in Singapore and take a moment to give thanks for all the blessings of peace, prosperity and hope for our kids. At the same time, we cannot take this for granted and we have to work hard to preserve and protect these blessings for our children — in 2019 and beyond. Stay vigilant and engaged in anyway you can by being politically active and serving in your community, church/temple/mosque or charity that you care about.
  • Be angry and shocked. How can this happen? We live in a time of unprecedented global economic growth and technological advancements – and yet we have hit a new record in the number of children suffering and trapped in conflict areas throughout the world. Many call this a lost generation because the consequences of over 350 million kids whose lives are wrecked by conflict and war will continue to haunt humanity for at least a generation to come.
  • When we are confronted with such ominous global statistics, we do not believe there is anything that we can do to make a difference. BUT PLEASE DO SOMETHING. Doing nothing will only make you a willing bystander to this tragedy. If you have money to give, there are many organizations that can help – a notable one is Save The Children but there are many others. If not, help raise awareness. Learn more about what is happening to children in these conflict areas. Read this report from UNICEF: “World has failed to protect children in conflict in 2018”. Share what you have learnt with your friends on social media, church, charity, etc.

The quote from Edmund Burke sums this up quite eloquently –
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing” .  Happy New Year.

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