How to deal with rowdy kids? Form a bond

Station Inspector Nornadira Hadi's move to take a softer approach in dealing with a complaint about a group of youngsters paid off.
Station Inspector Nornadira Hadi's move to take a softer approach in dealing with a complaint about a group of youngsters paid off.PHOTO: MUNICIPAL SERVICES OFFICE

In 2015, Station Inspector Nornadira Hadi received complaints about six young people being a nuisance in their Lengkok Bahru housing estate.

They played soccer late at night at the void deck of the rental flats and were noisy. But instead of taking a hard approach, Station Insp Nornadira decided to support them.

The deputy officer-in-charge of Bukit Merah West Neighbourhood Police Centre's community policing unit said that they were between eight and 15 years old. Many had personal issues and by helping them, the boys and girls stopped being rowdy and she said there has not been a complaint about them since.

Yesterday, she was one of 15 individuals and groups to receive awards from Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu at the Municipal Services Awards 2017.

The award by the Municipal Services Office recognises the good delivery of municipal services and inter-agency cooperation.

Station Insp Nornadira, 35, said she believed that it was better to form a bond with thechildren. She did so by working with voluntary welfare organisation Beyond Social Services, and helped to organise projects for them.

A 10-year-old boy stood out because he had caused many problems for his family and would sneak out at night, and skip school. Station Insp Nornadira found out he was angry with his mother for marrying his stepfather. He also had a strained relationship with his two half-siblings, though he got along with his two biological siblings. She visited him five times over four months, for up to 90 minutes each time. Eventually, he started calling her "kakak", Malay for "elder sister".

She said his mother called her in January. "She called me to thank me and said he doesn't go out so often. He is better behaved and even helps out more often at home," she said.

A group led by grassroots volunteers from Kembangan-Chai Chee also received the award. The group was formed in 2011 to help residents who hoard items in their homes.

It has since looked into 200 to 300 complex cases, including residents with poor mental health, cleanliness issues in common areas and hoarding. The members worked with about 15 government agencies and community social organisations to help the residents. Their efforts were recognised under the new "community" category.

The vice-chairman of the Kembangan-Chai Chee Citizens Consultative Committee, Ms Eileen Teo, was a member of the group. She said: "One person in any society is never able to survive and make things work on his own. It's only when the whole kampung comes together that you see things take shape."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 27, 2017, with the headline 'How to deal with rowdy kids? Form a bond'. Print Edition | Subscribe