Three days ago, on August 30, I coincided a kid crossing borders alone. It was an 11-year-old boy, traveling all the way from Kuala Lumpur (KL) to Singapore alone. Yes, alone.
According to the Distance Calculator, the flying distance between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur is 316 kilometers (197 miles), while driving distance is 369 kilometers (230 miles).
Danial (not his real name) is a Malaysian kid, and travelling that far to visit his grandmother, who is also a Malaysian but lives in Singapore.
Since I started my postgraduate studies for years ago, I have travelled between Singapore and KL dozens of times. But this is the first time I’m seeing a boy of this age traveling alone. I call him the journey alone kid… 🙂
Seeing this for the first time in the period of four years shows it’s not a norm. In fact, it’s an exceptional case. In fact, not many 15 years ‘kids’ would have the courage it takes to make such a trip, alone. Let alone 11 years old.
When I shared the story of Daniel with my wife and two kids (10-years (boy) and 6-years-old (girl)), the first thing my son said was, “I wouldn’t do that!” The conversation continued, but that’s not our discussion here…
This was the third time Danial was crossing borders alone. In his first time, he travelled by air, and by land in the subsequent times.
Although he looked small in size and short in length (11-year-old Asian boy, you know), his actions represented maturity and self-confidence.
Danial and Fear
I only spoke to Danial when we reached the Singapore Customs. It was safe to do so then. And no one will have the reason be suspicious.
Halfway through our conversation, I asked him if he’s not afraid. With no hesitation, Danial said he has ‘a little fear,’ sometimes. And “that’s why, sometimes, he avoids talking to others,” he added.
I seized that opportunity to tell him, “in that case, I think, it will be a good idea that you don’t put on that sunglasses and, perhaps, that cap when you’re crossing borders alone.” I added, “this is because, with them on, you can draw more attention to you.”
The Grownup Danial I Foresee
With the proper guidance, I see Danial will grow up be a good adventurous. He can be a calculated risk taker. Moreover, he can be a good leader. He has already developed the courage it takes to do all that at 11. He seems comfortable at taking risks.
Danial admits he has ever watched the Home Alone movie. But he can’t remember what exactly the lesson has learned from the movie is.
In my opinion, the boy in ‘Home Alone’ was acting according to the instructions of the film’s producer. But as for Danial, I believe, he is living a reality beyond cartoon films and acting.
Role of Parents in This
They say, ‘character begins at home.’ No matter how courageous Danial looks, the parental guidance he receives at home plays a bigger role in this. This is to say, unnecessarily protective parents will never allow their kids to go for such an adventure or take such a calculated risk. Thus, kids of protective parents usually demonstrate low self-esteem.
Considering the fact, that Danial is the only child of his parents, I have to applaud his parents for helping their child to grow with confidence while been mindful of whom he interacts with when alone.
Having said that, if a parent decides to allow his or her 11-year-boy to travel such a distance, please ensure he takes the safest bus service provider. Only allow your boy, if you have to.
Never allow your daughter at such age to travel alone. There’re a lot you can rest assured about a boy, at that age traveling that distance alone. But there’s very little to take for granted when it comes to girls.
As a parent or educator, what’s your take? Would you allow your 10-year-old boy or girl travel that distance alone? If yes, why? If not, why? Please join the discussion on Facebook, or message me on Twitter. To receive monthly updates from 1BabaSalam delivered to your inbox, please click here.