I don’t know how to translate the Malay word lepak to English and do it some justice.
In the mid 90’s, Malaysia underwent a drastic socio economic change..From TV satu ( crappiest tv station) to Astro ( satellite TV). From tiny shop lots to twin towers and not to forget the Felda settlers that became millionaires overnight
The changes in the cities also brought a massive rural urban migration. All of a sudden the malls in KL were full of youth who were just Lepaking..( hanging around and doing nothing) because they had no skills to be employed and whiled away their time doing nothing.
Restless youth is detrimental to any dictator and soon there was a propaganda against Lepaking..Editorials started to appear in the newspaper and I began to notice the youth hanging around in the malls in groups. Teenage son of my staff nurse even coined a new meaning for the acronym LRT ( light rail transit). He said life is all about LRT,Lepak, Rehat and Tidur ( hanging around, rest and sleep)
And I felt, Lepaking is a waste of time and most importantly, I will never let my children Lepak. After all what is the fun is going to mall and do nothing all day? That is how children got in to drugs/alcohol etc etc
This morning my son woke up at 5 AM. If you are wondering why that is news, Yesterday he woke up at 1.30 PM, the same the day before and the day before…. Even on school days it was difficult to get him out of bed before 7 and he is the reason why I am late for work most of the time!
He got up early because he and a few of his friends are taking the bus and going to the mall, watch a movie and grab a bite. He will be leaving at 8.30 and coming back home at 5pm.
He did ask my permission..and remember the part about never letting my children Lepak?? The truth is, I didn’t even think about it. All I asked was who is he going out with, what movie are they watching? Is he willing to cook a healthy dinner for the family for every 10$ that he takes from me and spend.
I also reminded him about what happened to his uncle G..
Uncle G was a very naughty boy and one day he and his friends decided to be a bit more naughty that the usual because they were all in their teens and the world owed them everything, They went to the corner shop near home and shop lifted. The shop owner caught uncle G and because his mother shops at that place all the time, instead of calling the cops, the shop owner called the mother to let her know that her son has been caught shop lifting. Have you called the cops? Asked the mother. She insisted that the shop owner should call the cops because that is what he would have done if it had been someone else’s child. Uncle G wasn’t going to get any preferential treatment because of his mother and to this day he hasn’t forgotten the lesson of being interrogated by a cop. ( He is a vice president of the one of the biggest pharmaceutical company now). I have told my kids from the time they were little that if they break a law, I will be first one to dob them to the cops and because of what their grandmother did to their uncle, my children are pretty convinced that I will do the same.
Still, I will be spending the rest of my day worrying..for it is a mad world out there..