Monday, May 9, 2011

Barber Bullies

Scissors in hand, they offered her a free hair cut.
And together they laughed like barking mutts.

The victim
Recently, a video posted on Youtube showed a girl from SMK Raja Abdullah being bullied by her schoolmates.Her hair was cut, she was slapped, jeered at, laughed at - all the while crying for the perpetrators of this bullying to stop. The video was posted by the bully herself, who even had the cheek to put in a song and sound effects, and also asked people to like it if they approved of the video.

They jeered, slapped, and with rope they choked:
A tightening noose closing on a crying throat.

The Facebook community responded with a huge uproar, many kind souls reaching out to console the victim, with even more condemning the actions of the victims. From all races and religions; from all backgrounds and ages- Malaysians have spoken out to attack this injustice, proving that there are plenty who still care.

The others, who stood silent, who simply laughed
They, and the barbers- all playing the same part.

But I must put this question to you: Why are we so surprised?

After the incidents reported at the Rawang school last year- where cases of rape, gang fights, alcoholism, death threats to teachers happened on a frequent basis; after all the bullying that goes on in Malaysian school, including the beating up of a girl using chairs; we choose to make all the sound and fury in the world.

When the aforementioned incidents happened a year ago, people became outraged, complained, and in the end- forgot about it. Will we forget this terrible incident once more, like so many in the past? Will nothing be done, and despite all the hue and cry, will we forget? 

Sure, the girl will no doubt be expelled. Yes, the public will succeed in its demand for justice to be meted out. And then slowly, news of other things will take over, of the latest JPA scholarships, of the new project, of the new government initiative- and we will complain about these too, and forget. At least, until the next video appears.

Then, news spread out, defend her we said!
Justice! The perpetrators deserve to be slayed.

I visited the perpetrators' Facebook profiles, and saw all the comments. I want to kill all of you, said one. Another said that they deserved to be raped. And even amongst my own friends, I see them threatening death, murder- calling them sluts and bitches- telling them that they don't deserve to live.

To all of you: I admire your sense of justice. I admire your use of the same language and inconsideration and unrestrained hate that the bullies have shown. I admire the maturity of your vow to protect the innocent- even as you threaten death to the young and immature. 

An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth- Two wrongs make a right;
Leaving us all sinners, toothless and deprived of our sight.

The public has demanded that justice be served- and many have demanded that they be expelled.
To where? 
Expelling them will simply transfer them to another school. Or even worse, deprive them of the education that they need NOW, of all times, to correct their attitudes and misbehavior. Depriving them of an education will not only entrench them in their present attitudes and state of mind, it will also destroy their future prospects, which as much as we want justice; we have to recognise they are still young and immature.Expelling indisciplined students is akin to sitting on a rocking chair- you seem to be moving, but you never really get anywhere. 

A virus
And so, we have to treat this problem at its roots. It's like treating a flu- don't just treat the symptoms- kill the virus. To do that, we have to find out what are they like, we must understand why do they behave the way they do, and think the way they do. Only by understanding the bullies- will we be able to help them become better people and be truly repentant of their actions.

After all, most bullies act the way they do, because very often, they too, are being bullied or oppressed in some way. Humans are not born evil. Perhaps it may be an abusive father at home, or traumatic childhood experiences that compel them to act the way they do so that they may feel in control. To that end, child psychology experts should be called in to counsel the bullies and find out the root of the problem, and heal the virus at its very essence.The Ministry of Education should set up a committee to find out the root causes of bullying, and of teenage delinquency for that matter- and restructure our Education System to address the issues. 

And whoever it is that keeps removing the video by calling it hate speech, trying to cover up a scandal on the internet is like trying to stay away from the toilet indefinitely- one way or another, all that crap is bound to come out. 


  1. Very nice post, and indeed... The crap will stink up this town of ours...

  2. well said Kar Jing, I'm glad we were friends.