A Sikh temple priest is upset with the National Service authorities for permitting trainees to carry sharp objects into camp after his 18-year-old son had his unshorn hair cut off in a prank on Sunday.
Surinderpal Singh told reporters in Ipoh that his son, Basant Singh, was sleeping in his dormitory at Kem Seri Impian in Sungai Bakap, Kedah, when his hair was cut off, allegedly by his fellow trainees.
Basant, he said, only made the discovery when he woke up at 6.30am on Sunday and was about to tie his hair.
“He was sleeping in a dormitory with 10 other boys at the time. When he woke up, about 60cm of his hair had been cut off.
“We do not know who did it but we believe it was a prank by the other trainees,” he said.
He added that Basant shared the dormitory with six Malays, three Chinese and one Indian.
“I spoke to the camp commandant and all the camp officials told me that it was impossible to find out who did it as it could have been any of the students in the camp,” said Surinderpal.
The priest, who is attached to the Gurdwara Sahib in front of the Sungai Pari flats here, toldThe Malaysian Insider later that the incident was serious as it showed a lack of understanding from among youths on the significance of the unshorn hair in the Sikh religion.
He added that the incident also reflected the lax security at National Service camps, pointing out that the trainees should not be allowed to carry sharp objects with them.
“What I want to know is how these boys are allowed to bring in these objects and why they are allowed to sleep in the presence of these objects,” he said.
He added that his son was “traumatised” by the incident and has refused to return to the camp, which started on January 4 and ends on March 13.
“He does not want to return because he fears for his safety. If this can happen to him, anything else can happen.
“We want the authorities to investigate,” he said.
Surinderpal also expressed disappointment at the lack of respect shown by the other trainees in the camp, pointing out that while they were youths, they should have been educated on the significance of the long hair in the Sikh religion.
“I am not blaming the students specifically but I feel that this is a disgrace to our religion. Additionally, security should be tighter,” he said.
In the Sikh faith, men keep their hair uncut and do not shave their facial hair in a practice is known as “Kesh”. - Malaysian Insider