Indeed, it typically takes nine months to a year before most can take their first steps, independent of a loving caregiver’s guidance. And it’s not been without restless repetition and retention of our special abilities and skills that we’ve come to cement our position at the top of the food chain, something we often take for granted.
The news of 3-year-old toddler Nong DJ, who went missing from in front of his south Phuket home this past week, is a firm reminder of just how delicate the human condition is. When Nong DJ was finally found, we all sighed with relief and couldn’t help but to think of what could have been. Nong Dear – the 7-year-old who went missing from her south Phuket home in December 2013, and whose remains were found in undergrowth months later – comes to mind.
The difference between life and death in the crucial developmental stages of human growth can be minutes if not seconds. The caregivers of Nong Dear and Nong DJ had to learn the hard way, and hopefully fewer will have to repeat the lesson. Yet, there are still tens of thousands of youths in Phuket who have lacked, and continue to lack, sufficient oversight and guidance from trained and responsible adults, a deficiency which carries on well into the teen years and eventually adulthood.
We see it daily in Phuket: 14-year-olds zooming down the street, illegally and recklessly, on a motorbike their parents or grandparents bought; 10-year-olds who’ve never learned to swim properly, splashing around in risky waters, unsupervised; kids as young as six lighting firecrackers on the roadside, not a single responsible adult in sight; seat belts, crash helmets – the list goes on.
As we experience our own growth and development, Phuket itself is like an unsupervised toddler, in serious need of guidance before it becomes a reckless teen… adult. If future disasters and tragedies are to be prevented, serious oversight is needed at all levels.