- Published on Thursday, 03 July 2014 06:36
- Written by Des Iskandar
Taking the bull by its horn: Student Bullying issue in Malaysia.
The increase in the case of bullying amongst school students has been on the increase of late. Bully, is roughly translated as an coarse or an aggressive act by someone on a another person who are seemed to be weaker just to prove the agressor’s power or strength.
An act of bullying has a wide-ranging meaning, which can be physical (pushing, or any other violent behaviour by the aggressor) or mental in terms of emotionally taunting the victim by the act of belittling or attacking through other forms of sensitive disparagement that may affect the latter’s sensitivity.
The issue on bullying and gangsterism have created a very unsafe environment especially in educational institutions thee days, as the whole world have been facing this predicament every day.
Bullying cases in the past
In Malaysia, the bullying goes across various communities, folks of many degrees of financial standing, and it doesn't matter which race or religion they are in. This has been a grave concern amongst parents about treatments their children are subjected to in school for a long time. In fact, the parents themselves may have been a victim of bullies in the past, to further propound the anxiety.
This has, in fact, been reported by various newspapers and online portals, as well as international media (bullying is indeed a global issue) that highlighted the issue with regards to aggressive attitudes of the students.
One such case include a student, Sherman Mohd Jaafar, 14, who received injuries in the neck after beaten up by five of his seniors in a school hostel under a secondary school in Tumpat, Kelantan.
This was followed by a case concerning student Mohd Rizuan Mohd Hashim, 15, who was bullied by five students of his own age till he incurred injuries in several parts of his body (Berita Harian, 23rd , August, 2005)
On 21st February, the nation was shocked by the news of the death of a student, Mohd Hadzrin Mohamad, who was in in coma for 8 days after being beaten by a group of youth near a school in Cheras, unfortunately, due to issues involving relationship.
Where did it go wrong?
People would say that those who are in their teens are susceptible to attempt wrongdoings. But has there been pondering on what are the factors that made them commit crimes such as theft, murder, rape, sodomy and others that are not acceptable in this nation?
The truth is, most youth are sent to juvenile schools are not because they are very negative in character as society believes, but are victims of consequences of the surrounding that are not quite perfect.
There are some who came from the background of families that are not harmonic in nature, families that are broken, that spawned children who are neglected and never got the attention they are needed. Their activities, however good or bad they are, were totally neglected by the parents, to the point that they (the children) took upon themselves to do what they are pleased to do without thinking of the long term effect as the youth is more is concerned about the current pleasures than future benefits.
It should be noted that in the 21st century, we have gone beyond the usual father bringing in the salary and mother taking care of the children phase, no thanks to the rising inflation and costs of bringing up a family.
Neglected children who are often victims of bully are often affected by their own lack of conversational gift that was supposed to be inherited from a caring pair of parents. This was affirmed by famed celebrity Sharnaaz Ahmad Basir, who pointed out the importance in the value of good conversation among the family members.
Lack of communication with family members, drives the children to seek communicative shelter with friends who may influence them into a more negative form of interaction, said Sharnaaz who talked to Malaysian Digest amidst his busy schedule shooting for a Teledrama (Teleraya) to be broadcast during Hari Raya this year.
What is the solution? Is the juvenile school relevant these days?
To quote the official portal of a juvenile school, Sekolah Tunas Bakti Sg. Besi Kuala Lumpur, one who is involved in juvenile wrongdoing and received orders from the court according to Seksyen 91 Akta kanak-kanak 2001 (Section 91 Child Act 2001), these children involved should go through a schooling session in juvenile school.
Apart from that. there is also a procedure that these children believed to be suitable for such school, can be admitted to the discerning schools voluntarily according to Section 46, Child Act 2001.
It is believed that the process is as simple as sending the children to the juvenile school is as good as cleaning the kids of their wrong ways and getting back to the society.
Often, these children find themselves in comfort in company of those other juveniles who are looking at mending their ways. And they find themselves to be very faithful to these schools and their new found friends who share similar regretful past.
In fact, the conducive nature of these schools cement the reason why these students are not keen to move on.
Did you know that these schools offer sorts of activities that are never offered in a conventional schools that are far more intriguing and pro-active?
Among them include vocational activities involving mechanical vocations, as well as carpentry, all sorts of hand made craft, plumbing, painting, electrical servicing as well as agricultural skills, alongside religious classes.
Therefore, there are indeed students who are so involved with these activities that they cannot stand the day that they have to be on their own without the school’s support.
This is indeed a blessing in disguise as many feel that these individuals have learned to find the right part and have quickly jumped in to making themselves a useful citizens.
This, indeed, proved that current juvenile school have actually merited their points by creating students that are bright and are nation contributors with the support from the society surrounding them.
All the same, Sharnaaz feel it may not be an entirely good plan altogether.
“Just imagine, if all those with problems are brought in together under one roof; this can be a danger considering that quite a number of them have criminal records,” he said, though he noted that he does not deny the benefit that these juvenile school can still help with those children with problems. As of now, it is the right move, he says.
An actor’s perspective
As for Sharnaaz himself, he had done plenty of action roles, as well as juvenile student characters that are taking to the subject discussed here and he admitted that the latter was something tremendously deep a subject and had to be dealt delicately.
“To be honest, I picked the character straight through my own experience, as I used to be a ‘problematic’ student myself, though have not reached the criminal level,” he said.
“In fact, my mother is one of the director’s of National Population and Family Development Board in Pulau Pinang, where they take in problematic students and enroll them in rehabilitation camps and motivation sessions.”
“Inevitably, I too joined the camp and I mixed around with various types of folks and that was where I managed to bring out the “juvenile” role,” he said.
Is there sunshine awaiting the former juvenile students?
The Malaysian society generally have false, albeit, negative, impression on those who have once been an ex-prisoner/convict or with juvenile crime records.
The question remains whether these individuals will find themselves back in the competitive workforce with the questionable past on their back.
According to a spokesperson in Jobstreet.com, a job portal, Hasmah Marhaban, job opportunities for those with criminal records are very limited, as it is natural that employers tend to be suspicious and thorough when it comes to investigating their future job candidate’s potential.
“In Jobstreet, job seekers are mostly online, so we had to create filters to identify their true potential,” she said.
“So far, I have never seen those who revealed their records involving their stay in juvenile school. This is perhaps, they think we are only looking at the part that can match with the qualification needed,” Hasmah noted.
Perceptional change: Juvenile students are not useless contributors in the workforce.
Everyone makes mistake; nobody is perfect. And these mistakes makes us learn more and make us stronger character-wise. At the same times, we need support from others as these juvenile students who perhaps never had a proper foundation to begin with. With the society’s help these individuals can be a great contributor to our race, religion, and ultimately our beloved nation.
Let us hope that the society do not look at these former juveniles negatively; especially when they are ready to be among the society and contribute further to the future. They are not criminals; they are also human being like the rest of us, willing to take us further in our commitment to build a greater nation, a fully developed country, a harmonious society, and ultimately make Malaysia the greatest country in the world.
Remember, these bullied students may be mere human beings, with regretful past behind them….
But they are the greatest potential contributors to this great nation in the nearest future.