Thursday, May 10, 2007

Have a look at these two pages:
http://tnp.sg/news/story/0,4136,129918,00.html
http://tnp.sg/news/story/0,4136,129925,00.html
(Content included as comments to this post, in case links become outdated.)

I've been a victim of bullying myself in my childhood. It's sad how bullying is getting so nasty now-a-days, and it's even sad that teachers in general are not taking time to educate students about the bad effects of bullying. They only scold the bully and then forget about the whole thing. They don't even care to support the victim emotionally. School should start something like "Anti-Bully Education Programme" which is to promote good friendships and counter the ongoing bullying by properly educating students, especially bullies, about the sufferings of the victims and potential future victims. The bullies should be emotionally put in the victim's shoes so that they will experience bullying as a victim and learn how it feels to be in the other end of the line. This is really the best and probably the only effective way of making an impact.

Cyber-bullying should be included in the programme as well, and the students should be educated to look at the inner personality of a person, rather than his or her outward beauty. It's great to tell an overweight person that he is, and ENCOURAGE him to lose weight by suggesting weight-loss programmes or other ideas. But it's wrong to hurt him by demeaning him, even through the "seemingly harmless" activity of blogging. Students should be educated not to share sensitive information online like passwords, address, handphone number etc.

But the saddest thing is that even after many of the students from Kerala have grown up to be adults and think straight, they still think crooked and continue to bully those younger than themselves. A third year student of Polytechnic who came from Kerala would be average 21 years of age. So mature, yet they are so childish to bully the freshmen (first year students).

I don't know if anybody able to bring what I said to life is going to read this, but if you do, and you decide to start the programme, a big THANK YOU!

2 comments:

  1. World was waging war on me
    Part 2: Report is based on a book written by three NTU students as part of their 3rd-year project
    By Michelle Lee, Sharon See and Mavis Toh
    May 10, 2007


    IT would seem that bullying is not restricted to able-bodied kids.

    A British study done in 1994 showed that students with 'special needs' are two to three times more likely to be bullied in mainstream schools than in special schools.

    Some disabled students here say they, too, have been victims.

    Nat Chan, whose account is found in the book, The Rage in Singapore Schools: Bullying, is one.

    RECESS SPENT ALONE

    Nat spends his recess eating alone.

    'I feel that the whole world is waging war against me,' the 14-year-old said with a frown.

    He may not be easy to get along with, but it's not for lack of trying.

    As a child, he was diagnosed with dyspraxia, a condition that affects his speech, learning abilities and social skills.

    When he communicates with his peers, he sometimes comes across as rude and brash, even though he does not mean to.

    His classmates did not know of his illness, but their reaction to it was to bully him.

    TARGET No 1

    He soon became target number one in primary school and had to endure a slew of insults.

    He said: 'They called me names, and even scolded my family using vulgarities.'

    His father, Mr Chan Ngok Chuin, 47, who works in a shipping company, said: 'He has very poor social skills, and this is part of his handicap.'

    Now a Secondary Three student, Nat says the bullying is worse than ever.

    'It's always the same people - they're always doing nasty things like insulting me and provoking me to fight.'

    When asked what names he was called, he lapsed into an uncomfortable silence.

    'I don't feel I'm too sensitive, but I hate being insulted or humiliated,' he confessed.

    His mother, Mrs Lily Chan, 45, has gone to her son's rescue when she thinks the bullying is getting out of hand.

    'I confronted the bully and told him, 'If you bully him, I'll give you trouble',' she said.

    As for Mr Chan, he manages an e-mail support group where parents of dyspraxic children come together to share their thoughts and experiences.

    EMOTIONAL SUPPORT

    He said: 'Whether you like it or not, there'll still be bullies. If we can provide the emotional support, he'll be able to pull through life.'

    Some researchers, like those in the UK study, believe that students with disabilities are more at risk of being bullied in a normal setting.

    Senior consultant psychiatrist Daniel Fung, who is an expert in child psychiatry at the Institute of Mental Health, agrees.

    He said: 'Students with disabilities are the ones who're odd, out-of-place and more vulnerable, and bullies often look for the vulnerable and weak.'

    Joshua (not his real name) is mildly autistic and dyslexic and finds it difficult to make friends. The mild-mannered 11-year-old is usually shy and rarely looks others in the eye.

    His more observant classmates, sensing that he had a slightly different demeanour, asked their teacher about him. Their teacher merely replied that Joshua was 'special'.

    When he was in Primary 3, his classmate Peter (not his real name) would tell their classmates not to lend Joshua any stationery - be it a pencil or stapler - whenever he asked.

    'I got angry that nobody wanted to share things with me,' Joshua said, adding that he usually controls the urge to scream when he gets angry.

    Joshua did not confide in his parents or teachers as he did not want to trouble them with 'just a small matter'.

    With nobody paying any attention to the problem, the bullying escalated to a point where Peter punched Joshua in the eye. Peter's reason: Joshua had told the teacher about him destroying a project display in class.

    Recalls Joshua: 'It was very painful and swollen.'

    Joshua's mother lodged a complaint with the school, and disciplinary action was taken against Peter. The bullying finally stopped after that.

    While there are no known reported figures on the number of disabled children being bullied here, the figures are likely to be low.

    Many disabled children are beginning to integrate successfully in normal schools through a five-year Government masterplan for the disabled.

    According to a report in The Straits Times on 6 Sep last year, several voluntary welfare organisations and disability experts said they backed the idea of 'integrated' education programmes.

    As of 2004, about 750 blind, deaf and physically disabled children were attending mainstream schools.

    [Text Quoted from http://tnp.sg/news/story/0,4136,129918,00.html ]
    [Copyright © 2005 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Co. Regn. No. 198402868E. All rights reserved.]

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  2. Cyber bullies strike and hide, but they can land in trouble
    May 10, 2007

    CYBER-BULLYING may soon become another area of grave concern.

    Ms Masamah Ruah, a full-time counsellor at a convent secondary school, recalled the case of a 14-year old girl who was a victim of such bullying.

    Besides being ostracised by her classmates, Rina (not her real name) had to deal with being the talk of cyberspace.

    At the height of bullying, almost all her classmates' blogs criticised everything about her - her weight, looks and even race.

    Desperate for acceptance, she resorted to changing her image by trying to lose weight. However, it only made her classmates post more nasty remarks online.

    Ms Masamah said: 'I told her 'just stop reading them if it makes you upset', but she said she just could not. She had to know what they were passing around to each other.'

    Ms Tan Bee Joo, head of Singapore Children's Society's Student Service Hub, said the Internet may soon become a significant dimension where students encounter harassment from peers.

    'This might be an increasing trend as they become more tech-savvy, and it's definitely something to follow up on,' she said.

    The Singapore Children's Society conducted a survey on bullying among secondary school students last year.

    Although the survey did not include cyber-bullying, many students recounted their own brushes with cyber-bullies.

    She defined cyber-bullying as bullying via the Internet or phone text messages. This includes flaming, which means insulting or criticising someone online.

    Ms Tan added: 'Cyberbullying is even more intrusive than traditional bullying, because you cannot run away from the bullies who can strike 24/7, even when you're at home.'

    A survey was conducted by a non-profit Coalition against Bullying for Children and Youth among 3,380 students from March to May last year.

    It revealed that almost 40 per cent of those who said they were victims of cyber-bullying said they didn't know who their perpetrators are, The Straits Times reported.

    About the same percentage said that being bullied online was as bad as being bullied in real life.

    Take the case of 10-year-old Cynthia (not her real name).

    CHANGED PASSWORD

    She thought she could trust five of her friends with her blog password. But one of them changed the password a few days later - effectively locking her out of her own blog - and made lurid claims in her name that she had slept with many boyfriends.

    Until today, she does not know who the culprit is. Now, she shuns the blogging world for fear of the incident repeating itself.

    Mr Muzafar Muneer, a social worker at the Moral Family Service Centre, cautioned: 'Many students are not aware that they can be held legally responsible for defaming someone online.'

    He added: 'They should always think twice before posting critical remarks about their friends, or they could get into serious trouble.'

    [Text Quoted from http://tnp.sg/news/story/0,4136,129925,00.html ]
    [Copyright © 2005 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Co. Regn. No. 198402868E. All rights reserved.]

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