Kinabalu – irresponsible to resume school trips anytime soon

Will the minister and his MOE staff, principals and teachers, and those gung-ho parents whose children may or may not have been to Mount Kinabalu, please take a look at the graphic photo of the poor young victims of this tragedy in the Sabah news report link below (advisory, heart-rending graphic):

IMO, MOE should impose an immediate ban/moratorium on trips to Mount Kinabalu indefinitely. Mother Earth is presently going through a period of significant seismic upheavals with the advent of the quake that struck New Zealand and the catastropic Tsunamic waves that struck Indonesia, Japan, Sri Lanka, Thailand etc several years ago. In GEOLOGIC TERMS, the recent past and current periodic and spasmodic upheavals of the earth’s mantle could easily go on for several more years. It is not difficult to reason that each upheaval would give rise to more destabilities in the earth’s crust, local and elsewhere. And this would go on until goodness know when before major earth shifts have been played out and Mother Earth settles down to its next period of relative stability. As for now, does anyone know with any certainty when and where the next quake would strike? I believe, nobody,including seismologists, can with any certainty and accuracy pin-point the time, location or magnitude of the next earth movement. I recall a recent report of a new island or part of an existing island growing out of the seas in Japan. And there are still some existing known major faults, such as the Sans Andreas fault in the US, that has remained relatively ‘quiet’ so far.

Thus, does it make sense, however gung-ho we want our children to be in pursuit of ‘leadership training’ to send them back next season or the next, next, next season to Kinabalu, perhaps in the belief that ‘lightning never strike at the same spot twice’? That in my books would be a really irresponsible stupid folly. For one, sesimic movement of the earth mantle is not like lightning. And I am sure MOE and minister Heng are no fools to tempt fate like that notwithstanding that there are parents of PAST participants who appeared to be goading them on not least because they don’t have to lose any sleep over this since their children are NO LONGER on the line. It reminds me of what the WW2 US servicemen named US General Patton – ‘OLD BLOOD and GUT’. It was his guts but THEIR blood!

There are so many other activities that could easily replace climbing up a mountain in a now manifested known earth quake prone area. As an aside, for that matter, I think MOE needs to review the SOP with particular emphasis on proper due diligence regarding the risks and health ratings before any physically demanding trips are approved anymore. For instance, it can be made compulsory for MOE to send a field team comprising physical training experts, psychologists and physiotheraphists, even doctors, and other relevant specialists, to assess and vet all such outings submitted by schools as part of the approval process. As far as Kinabalu is concerned, it stands to commonsense reasoning to give it a wide berth literally till things have really stabilised. To obstinately insists on returning soon to Kinabalu is an unwise, psychologically unsound and absolutely insensitive decision to make.

There is absolutely NOTHING for any normal 12 years old kid to have to prove on Mount Kinablu at this point in time.

This article first appeared on Thetwophilo's Blog on 10 June 2015. It is reproduced with permission.


Tanjong Katong Primary School has my full support for the Mount Kinabalu Program

The Mount Kinabalu tragedy: what are schoolchildren doing there?

Mountain climbing not for 12 year old kids!