Say No to Alcohol by MHS

February 8th, 2010 by poobalan | View blog reactions Leave a reply »
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Few other groups are doing what they can to highlight dangers of alcohol. Its a good idea for MHS to work together with many other NGOs, Health Ministry and schools.

The packaging and positioning of alcoholic drinks in colorful, fizzy-like covers mislead people. The bombarding advertisements in newspapers, billboards, and cinema is also a major concern. I think a total ban on advertisement is needed.

The sales of samsu and illegal alcohol is also another problem. Cheaper means more accessible. And once you are hooked, its not easy to let go.

I think the acceptance of alcohol in social events and daily life is also a reason for rampant and indiscrete consumption. In the west, the dietary pattern and climate is not same as here. Thus, we have less reason to follow the alcohol use, especially on the pretext of “health”.  There’s more than one way to skin a cat, and if one is looking for better memory power, or improved blood circulation or living longer, then alcohol is not the only avenue. There are many other food and activities that can provide equal benefits sans the damage.

Alcohol’s damage far outweighs its benefits, especially in the long run, as many research indicates. While we are young, we have to energy to push our bodies and to sustain the impact of alcohol. But later in life? Can we live with damaged kidneys, damaged liver, weakening eyesights, offspring with physical/mental problems,  etc.?

Its critical to fight the menace of alcohol from health and social impact angle, instead of religion.  What entertainment idols, parents and adults do are what children imitate. The couldn’t care less attitude of youths and adults, in the name of freedom, equal rights, anti-establishment, business, stress, and so on, for me, is just excuses to consume alcohol, nothing more, nothing less. Its a pity when idea of a good time for us means a bottle of alcohol among others.

Alcohol also contributes towards accidents and vandalism especially among youths and young adults. This involves loss of life and increased maintenance cost. While totally banning alcohol is not possible, a more forceful education campaign is needed. Alcohol companies must be roped in to contribute some cash for education of alcohol impact and also on responsible consumption. This must cover fertile areas like colleges, housing areas, restaurants etc.

I always ask alcohol consumers if they can live without alcohol for a period of time, like a month or two. If you consume alcohol, and think that you are not addicted to it (in fact, you may even swear to it!), then try to abstain for one or two months. See if you can live without it. If you have to fight the temptation to consume alcohol daily during that abstaining period, then need to reexamine your lifestyle.

Anyway, good luck to MHS on their initiative:

Malaysia Hindu Sangam has declared war on alcoholism among the younger generation with the first move being adopting a dual approach to exorcize this particular devil through legislation and enforcement.

“We want to make under-aged drinking an offence punishable by being locked up for two days, “said its youth leader Arun Doraisamy today.

He said this at MHS’s consultation forum entitled Alcohol Laws in Malaysia 2010: National Review of Alcohol Laws, Policies and Programs.

In addition there are also suggestion to raise the age limit for drinking from 18 to 21.

He also suggested that a tier based taxation be adopted based on alcohol content instead of the standard 10% .

In the long term Arun called for the establishment of a research centre – tentatively named Malaysian Alcohol Prevention, Research and Rehabilitation Centre

These were among the 12 legislative proposals put forward today.

Need holistic approach

In addition to the proposals, participants at the session also called for a holistic approach to resolve the issue.

A Gunapathy of Yayasan Strategik Sosial suggested that MHS should concentrate more on families in high risk areas.

Vice president of Education Welfare Research Foundation (EWRF) T Rajasegaran who has been working with Indian children, aged between 12-14, said that the root of the problem lies with the fathers who do not play their role in bringing up their offspring, hence the urgent need for a change in the mind set.

Maria Chin Abdullah of Empower and Ahmad Safarudin Yusof of Malaysian Muslim Youth Organisation (ABIM) along with a host of 20 Indian NGOs attended the discussion session.

Both were supportive of the program.

Ahmad told the participants that ABIM would be conducting a program on alcohol abuse soon.

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