Earlier this evening, when I went to pick up Lynn at her school around 6.30pm (school over at 6.20pm), I overheard a mother talking to the 2 teachers in-charge there telling them her child has gone missing. According to her, her child usually will wait for her inside the school but today her child was not there. She borrowed the hand phone from one of the teacher to call her husband to come over help to find the child.
Honestly I'm getting worry upon hearing that. It was just 10minutes after school hours and there were still about 40% students left waiting to be picked up. Usually there are 2 teachers staying around to make sure all children have gone home. And most of the time class teachers from Standard one will be around too but they won't stay till very late. They would be gone when most of the students from their class have gone home.
From very first day of school, I have been telling Lynn that never ever follow anyone going home. She must stay inside the school compound and wait for me to come. She can follow me only and not any other person. If raining days I may be late depending on the traffic but no matter how late she still have to wait for me inside the school. And never follow any other person, regardless she knows them or not. If I can't pick her up, I will tell her in advance who will pick her up and only follow that person and no one else. I told Lynn about the child missing incident I overheard just now and reminded her again that she must follow no one except me. Earlier I also have taught her how to make phone calls using public phone in case she needs to reach me. I gave her some coins for making phone calls and told her only call when necessary. There were twice that I reached her school very late, almost 7pm. First time I was stuck in an unexpected traffic jam and the other time I was very sick and overslept after taking the medicine despite I had set the alarm. Both times she was sitting in front of the guard house waiting for me, together with few other students and one teacher. While I was surprised there were still students around but I was glad she's not alone and not the last one.
I know I should not trust the guards fully, but I still would like to have some faith with the school. The school has a very strict rules allowing parents and even students entering the school. All parents entering the school must register with the security guard and then report to the school office before proceeding to whatever matters they need to be inside the school. Even students entering the school much earlier than normal school hours also have to register with the security guard. There are total about 4 security guards if not mistaken, all are local Chinese. I do not see any foreign worker which I'm glad of. But all guards are in their 50s and above. And I have been seeing them guarding the school since at least 4-5 years back. The school is just next to the shop area where we visit frequently so we always pass by the school entrance.
With the increase of social crime rate at the parking lot of shopping complex, nowadays I dare not bring Lynn and Hao to shopping malls without one other adult accompanying us. If I really need to go, I will get hb to come along or I go alone. One good thing is me and hb do not like window shopping and we do not have the habit going to the malls every weekend. So we only go when necessary. The only public area I dare bring Lynn and Hao with me alone is during weekdays picking up Lynn after school. Normally I park near the shops and walk about 100m across the shop lots to school to avoid stuck at the long queue in front of the school. We have been going to the few eatery shops there every week for the past 8 years so I'm quite comfortable look after the kids by myself there. But I won't eat at the shop with the kids alone. If hb is not with us I would just buy back home. Ever since the kids can walk by themselves, me and hb have insisted the kids must hold our hand when going out. And we are still keeping this rule. Both Lynn and Hao are not afraid of strangers and thus I always paranoid bring them out. Those of you that have met Lynn and Hao before will know what I mean. We have been telling them and from time to time reminding them not to talk to strangers. And I always make sure they are within my vicinity. Since we are not staying with the parents and hb always come home very late from work, I have no choice but to bring them with me whenever I go. I limit my grocery shopping to only few places and since I always go there we are quite familiar with the shop people there. I usually only buy what I need which I already know beforehand and thus my shopping usually is very fast. Once a while, I will go supermarket alone and get the things like butter spread, cheese, muesli etc that are not available from the normal grocery store.
The kids have to learn that this world is not safe. While I try my very best to protect them, they have to learn to protect themselves too. As for the mother i saw from the school earlier, I really hope that she can manage to find her child. Just hope maybe the child has the urgent to go to the toilet right before the mother was there.
The Perfect Match by Kristan Higgins - *From Goodreads: -* *What if the perfect match is a perfect surprise? * Honor Holland has just been unceremoniously rejected by her lifelong crush. And ...