Growing up in Malacca, I was a very active, creative 12 year-old.
Dancing and singing was a cultural norm in my community and I was always encouraged to perform by my musician father from a very young age.
At school, I trained in athletics, played netball, was a librarian, a Brownie and part of the Legion of Mary prayer group. I was also part of the local catholic church choir.
As a child, I ran around bare-foot with the local children in our seaside village, playing hide and seek, police and thieves and a whole range of children-initiated group activities.
I lost my dad in a car accident when I was seven and was in a family situation where my mum became a single parent and worked shifts to support our family. I was lucky to live in a close-knit community with neighbours, friends and family members child-minding me in my mum’s absence.
As a child, the thought of prison scared me because of what I heard from the village elders about the naughty children being sent away to children’s detention centres.
Now as an adult, I see how imprisoning children as young as 10 can be damaging to such young minds.
I believe children need nurturing and not imprisonment.
I remember how the support I received from school and being part of the local church choir and a strong community, helped keep me grounded and nurtured my spirit.
In today’s world, there are many children who need the support of our community.
With the right nurturing, they can flourish despite adversities. Often children act out when their needs are not being met.
Other times, just being in the wrong company or in the wrong place at the wrong time can get one in trouble.
Children being criminalised doesn’t make any sense to me.
They need to be loved and nurtured in their developmental years and deserve strong family and community support.
This is why I support the Raise the Age campaign.
To read more about the Raise the Age WA campaign, click here.