Wow! 7th Grader Kidnapped & Released, CONTINUES TO WALK TO SCHOOL!

Readers — Maybe it’s Malaysia that is the land of the free and the home of the brave. This 7th grade boy, Nayati, sure embodies all that — along with a shining optimism.

The story (as far as I know) is this: Nayati was recently kidnapped by two men and held for six days, then somehow (I have no idea how) returned to his home and his community. His school called a special assembly and unveiled the surprise guests to the kids: The boy and his parents! Then, according to the blog Global  Anni, run by an ex-pat teacher in Kuala Lumpur:

Well the standing ovations and tears would not stop! He came down off the stage and walked up the theater steps into the audience and hugged all his classmates, teachers and parents. He then walked down the row of seats where the 7thgraders were sitting and took a seat among his peers. Many of us have still not stopped sobbing.

When the assembly was dismissed, Nayati walked to our breezeway and continued to hug and thank everyone. His father tweeted that Nayati had decided to walk home from school. Holding his friends’ hands he walked right past the place he had been abducted 6 days earlier and went home to hang out with his buddies.

I’m cheering, too. What a boy, what an outlook. And what  a great school that allows him to continue being a confident kid! — L.

Nayati and friends.

26 Responses

  1. What a kid. And family, community and school. He will grow into a strong and confident man, not one who hides behind the curtains when thunder rolls. What sort of men and women are we developing?

  2. Four words: Holding his friends’ hands.

  3. That’s fantastic! What a very brave kid!

    Would be interesting to know a bit more about it, why he was kidnapped and what happened during.., etc. And how he was found, or whether he escaped himself.

    Will get hubby to look it up on the Bahasa websites. In the meantime what a wonderul outcome!

  4. This is what the aftermath of a crime against a child looks like in a neighborhood where people don’t irrationally assume that bad people spontaneously appear in every square meter of the outdoors like monsters spawning in a computer game.

  5. Good for him! Whenever my kids have a scary/painful mishap of any kind, I insist that they do again whatever they were doing at the time (assuming it was an acceptable thing to do). I tell them that they need to finish an activity doing it the right way, so they’ll remember the right way for the future. My real reason is that I recall being irrationally afraid to return to activities after an accident. At some point (as a kid) I taught myself to shake off the handicap of fear (which actually makes activities more dangerous).

  6. @Selby – sorry, probably missing your humour, but both boys and girls in various Asian countries hold hands with their same-sex friends – this is very normal. In Malaysia, depending on where you live, it can be dangerous to hold hands with someone of the opposite sex.

  7. “This is what the aftermath of a crime against a child looks like in a neighborhood where people don’t irrationally assume that bad people spontaneously appear in every square meter of the outdoors like monsters spawning in a computer game.”

    Right on, Jenny Islander!!!

  8. His parents paid the ransom. I’ll go look for a link to post.

  9. Hmm…they seem to have retracted that report regarding the ransom. I distinctly remember reading it.

    This is the link now:

  10. If this happened in the US he’d promptly been suspended for hugging his teachers and continuing to walk to and from school probably would’ve been impossible. I’m glad Asian schools still have their sanity.

  11. Another thing I find interesting is that it sounds as though he wasn’t immediately taken for counselling, signed off school for weeks to recover from the trauma and so on. His own psychological resilience was respected, as was the support from his friends and family, not paid professionals. No one can know if and how much trauma he may feel from the kidnapping, but it sounds very much as though the support from those around him will be enough for him to move on from it, as he should. Whereas it too often seems in the Western world that there’s an emphasis on remaining a traumatised victim for the rest of your life when anything unpleasant happens.

  12. Wow! What a strong kid, and what great friends!

  13. Hineata: there was no snide humor in that comment nor any homophobic focus on same-sex hand holding and I regret if it came across that way. What I meant was that the beauty of this story comes down to four words: holding his friends’ hands. I was referring to the importance of kids “holding hands”, staying with their friends, supporting each other, safety in numbers….the solidarity they are showing their friend…


  14. I was also moved by the “holding his friends’ hands” part, that his friends surrounded him and supported him when he walked past the place where he was kidnapped. Not parents or administrators. His buddies. Kids looking after each other.

  15. Talk about jumping to worst-case thinking….

  16. And the fact that the adults in the situation understood the high importance of letting him be with his friends despite the “risks.”

  17. The kids is from South Africa, they build them tough here!

  18. Selby, I totally got your meaning the first time, and loved that part of the story too.

  19. @Jenny Islander, thank you very much for your comment. I live in a quaint, affluent small town that has had more than its share of violent crime recently (a random brutal murder, an arson, and a few rapes—all very unusual), and people are FREAKING OUT. They blame the police and want “more” done, but the reactionary nature of it is driving me nuts. Thank you for a breath of fresh, sane air.

  20. @Selby, sorry about that! As I attempted poorly to put across, I thought I probably hadn’t got your point the first time…..Comes from growing up in a bit of a homophobic culture, I guess. Found it quite difficult myself when my first Singaporean flatmate wanted to hold hands when we all went shopping in downtown Palmerston North (ultra provincial, small-town mentality, uni town), and found it really weird when my husband didn’t want to hold hands with me in public, LOL! Especially as he would hold his friends’ hands….

    Anyway, wish my boy and his friends were a bit more into that, instead of shoving each other and bruising shoulders when they meet!

  21. As a community, all of us at M’KIS were devastated by the horror of this event. However instead of hiding our children away, we took them out in public far and wide to hang posters and rally for the return of our student! It was so heartwarming to see families coming together to support Nayati’s family and the community. Our outlook and hope for our children’s future has not been brought down by the kidnappers. In Nayati’s own words, ‘I was kidnapped on my way to school, and now I’m walking home from school. Those kidnappers can’t beat me.”

    We will not be ruled by fear, but by common sense and compassion. As an educator and a parent, I am so happy to be raising my own two children in this multi- cultural community!

  22. It’s not in the same league but it reminds me of a story about my nephew. He was diagnosed with Aspergers when he was about 5. My sister used to ride the bike to school with him all through primary/elementary. But the day he started highschool, she sent him off to school on his own. It wasn’t just a couple of blocks on a quiet road either, it was a decent trip and in a busy city. A few weeks into first term, my nephew mis-read some traffic lights and his bike got hit by a car. Fortunately he only got some scratches from falling. The car hit his front wheel. And as soon as they managed to get his bike fixed, they sent him off again on his bike to school. Alone. I remember my sister talking about how much courage that took and I have always found it such a strong example of selfless parenting. My nephew is 18 now and despite his Aspergers, is very capable of looking after himself.

  23. Hi Lenore: I read this article with great interest. I grew up in what people considered a “safe” suburban neighborhood on Long Island. I had two encounters with strangers when I was a child. The first one happened when I was about 8. A stranger (acting strangely before it happened) tried to pick me up and carry me away (don’t know what he was thinking) and in the other I was about 13, a car slowly drove past me as I was walking to a friends house, after passing me, he stopped his car and began to back up. Immediately, I went to the door of a house nearby and when someone answered he drove away. Although nothing happened to me (thankfully) in either situation. Each scared the heck out of me! For me, however, these scary encounters have not stopped me from trying to raise free range kids. Instead, they have prompted me to have many, many talks with my children, in age appropriate ways over the years, about situations that could happen with strangers. I have also shared my stories with my children in an effort to educate them and let them know that things like this can happen in the world and they need to trust their instincts. In each of the two situations that happened to me my warning bells were ringing loud and clear. In my first instance — I ignored my uneasy feelings when there were things I could have done to avoid giving the stranger the opportunity to grab me. The second time I immediately took action and I did not ignore my six sense that something was wrong and I was in potential danger. Kudos to this family and this brave boy.

  24. From what I heard he is South-African, but grew up partly in Holland. Here we send our kids to school on their bikes. In any weather, without a helmet or elbowpads. My son is none years old and he travels alone these days. Tough, selfreliant kids are not born that way; you have to work to get there.

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