The silence of the little lambs


Children should be seen and not heard. It’s an adage that has shaped attitudes through numerous generations but, in this frustratingly silly era of political correctness, many adults want to tilt the balance in favour of the tiny tots. We ought to shove a dummy in their mouths, I say. And I mean the adults, not the babies.

I hasten to add that dummies can be a very useful tool from time to time but my wise wife never favoured them and our children were usually spared this over-used pacifier. In honesty, I must add that I wanted to wring the necks of our twins quite frequently when they gave voice to their various ailments but I successfully resisted the temptation and they remain alive today. Greater love hath no man?

What gave rise to these thoughts is the decision by a low-cost airline, AirAsia X, to establish no-cry zones in their Economy sections where children under 12 would be banished to the back stalls. Bloody ripper!

Is there anything worse than dragging your weary rear-end into the dungeon-like confines of modern aircraft and finding you have to suffer the wailing cacophony of any number of distressed toddlers for hour after hour after hour of ever-increasing frustration that renders normal human beings into near-psychotic rage machines

There may well be numerous airlines around the world offering this innovation but I have not previously had the pleasure. And it can be yours for a mere $15 surcharge. Cheap at half the price, I say.

But, as always, not everyone’s pleased. A proseletyser for the Australian Family Association says it’s another example of children being treated as an inconvenience to the enjoyment of adults. Excuse me, what? Since when were children supposed to hold the whip hand?

In a sop to adult sensitivities that the AFA probably does not even realise is patronising in the extreme, this spokesperson said she did not want to be critical of adults because sitting next to a crying a baby on a place can be a trying experience.

A trying experience! Now there’s serious understatement for you.

And this sweet little darling went on to say that frustrated adults are making a society less tolerant of children. Oh dear, what a pity, never mind!

The shame of it is that namby-pamby do-gooders like this scare other airlines who have rushed to say they will not follow suit. Australia’s major carriers, Qantas and Virgin, would rather inflict this peculiar punishment on the vast majority of their passengers just so they can claim they are family-friendly.

But why does this have to be such a black or white issue? That’s what I don’t get. Because crying children are annoying does not (necessarily) mean that adults hate the littl’uns. It’s just that a few degrees of separation can be a wonderful thing.

Adults are allowed to have rights, too, aren’t we? Or has the world gone completely mad?


Acknowldcdgement: Jeremy Pierce, The Courier-Mail