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When School Violence has Gone Out of Control Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by A. Tsang, New Zealand Mar 19, 2006
Child & Youth Rights , Education , Human Rights   Opinions


I was continually sexually abused and physically attacked by a syndicate of a youth gang for a year in Hong Kong. It was the year 1990. The abuse was started because I reported that I was verbally abused by someone to a teacher. The syndicate avenged my report. I ended up seeing a psychiatrist and changing schools. Those bad memories still haunt me. I still remember those evil smiles on the faces of my attackers. They seemed to take pleasure from abusing me.

After 16 years, the situation seems not to have gone away but just gets worse. Yesterday on an online forum, a young male student from Hong Kong also reported that he was sexually abused and physically attacked by a syndicate of a youth gang. The student even showed his physical injuries, but the school told him there was a lack of evidence to rectify the problem.

You would be shocked to find out how soft Hong Kong schools and teachers are to youth gangs and bullies. The only thing tough in Hong Kong schools is their curriculum, which pressures students to memorize a lot of stuff within their heads within such a short time. Everyone is complaining about the school system in Hong Kong, spending a lot of time debating something besides addressing the problem of school violence.

I do not want to blame Hong Kong teachers. I think they can also be considered victims. Recently, a Hong Kong teacher's suicide rang the alarm bell that teachers in the country are over-stressed. There are enough battles (personal and within the work place) for Hong Kong teachers to fight. Without a good system backed-up by the police force, I don’t think Hong Kong teachers would dare to declare war on school violence and youth gangs. On the other hand, I see some Hong Kong school gangs that seem born to be intimidators. They know how to intimidate students and teachers not to report their devious acts to the police.

Many Hong Kong schools do not want to report these school violence acts to the Police because they do not want any bad news spreading within the commmunity that could damage their reputations. They think that they can tackle the problem by themselves, or they believe that they can cover-up it up. As I remember, Hong Kong Schools were divided into five bands (I don’t know if there has been any change to this system). “Band 1” refers to the best schools, and “Band 5” refers to the worst. I want to tell everyone that my attack in 1990 was within a Band 1 school. A Band 1 Hong Kong school is not immune from school violence.

It is a totally different story in Auckland, New Zealand. County Manukau (South Auckland) police have imposed an "always-arrest" policy for anyone caught carrying weapons or committing acts of violence, in the wake of escalating gang feuds. Within a few weeks, police have arrested more than 50 people for committing violent offences or carrying weapons. If Hong Kong police could perform this kind of action, Hong Kong School Violence would be history.

An Auckland high school teacher actually had a physical fight with a school gang and then called the police. The news reported the story, but the school had no shame about it, claiming they act strong and tough towards youth gangs. I wonder if any Hong Kong school has this kind of courage and bravery to perform this kind of feat?

Free pornography is spreading around on the net worldwide. There exists pornography portraying sexual & physical abuse, and promoting those kinds of acts as fun to perform. The story of the young male Hong Kong student sounded familiar somewhat to those acts depicted in free Japanese pornography. The Asian style of school violence is different from the American guns and bullets style. Asian bullies like to work within syndicates. The young student mentioned that there are young females involved in the bullying and sexual harassment. I see the trend of younger females starting to join these gangs, harassing and bullying other people as well.

I admire Oprah Winfrey’s courage to speak up about how she was sexually molested during her adolescent. As she has now become a media celebrity in US, she is setting up a reward for who can catch the child molester. Unfortunately, I am not as influential as her, but don’t forget that our child are our future. If Hong Kong schools cannot provide a safe environment for students to learn and study, is there any future for the city?

Finally, if anyone is intimidated by young gangsters, please stand strong together, fight the battle, and report their evil acts to the police as well as the local media. Justice needs to prevail. Your silence means you are approving their acts.



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Writer Profile
A. Tsang

I was born in Hong Kong, China in the year 1975. I'm a born Catholic and educated in English and Chinese since kindergarten. I arrived in Auckland in 1993 as an overseas student at Sacred Heart College. A year later, I followed my parents, migrating to New Zealand in investment categories.

I tried to get a degree at AUT and Auckland Uni but never made it. I earned a Diploma of Language and Culture at Auckland Institute of Studies. I was working in a gas station and as a caregiver in 2 healthcare organizations, but had no employment for longer than 1 year.

During my unemployment, I worked with my dad with some freelance interpreting, cleaning, lawn mowing for my dad's property and as a 24-7 sole caregiver to my pregnant wife. I am also an active volunteer and trustee of a Chinese Mental Health Family Support Group based in the Eastern Suburbs of Auckland. During my 12 year stay in Auckland, I flew back to Hong Kong 6 times, with one trip to Tianjin City, China (a city close to Beijing).

Cherrie Kong | May 20th, 2006
even if they are arresting youth in New Zealand, it doesn't mean the problem is solved. they are released again very quickly without successful rehabilitation. in saying that, I'm not condoning Hong Kong's methods of handling abuse. I think abuse needs to be handled by a whole network of support systems for schools, communities, with police intervention as a last resort. Thanks for raising this issue. :) I didn't realise it was such a problem in Hong Kong.

Alex Matthews | Jan 19th, 2007
I concur with Cherrie. Thanks for being so revealing and insightful. Rehabilitation, or rather, INSPIRATION, should always come first. Authoroterianism, intimidation, and conflict should always be viewed as shameful last resorts. It scares me how much our education systems promote work-ethic and repition, and how little they rate life experience and happiness. I don't think I ever heard any of my teachers talking about achieving creativity, happiness, adventure, or harmony in life; yet arguably these are the most important things to live for. Our idea of education is skewed towards production - perhaps thats what it should be called, the 'Pre-Production system'. It definitely is not the gateway to social harmony. At least it isn't yet. I think everyone recognises the potential of education to achieve idealism in society.

Education in Hong Kong
Spencer Leung | Apr 24th, 2007
I just wonder how come parents did not do anything about this after the incident. There is no perfect system in the world but one of the beauty of Hong Kong is that we have the right for free speech and the press are relatively free in voicing outrageous wrong doings. We need to be brave in leveraging the power of the press to change things which we do not believe are right. Yes. The education system in Hong Kong is for producing obedient servants however we are so lucky to have technologies on our side now to aid us in collaboration and mutual sharing. Please remember you are not the only one out there fighting the system.

School Violence in Hong Kong
Laura | Mar 5th, 2009
I am currently researching stories for a documentary about school violence around the world, I am specifically looking to speak to people who have been subject to it in Hong Kong or China. I would be very interested to talk to you to find out a bit more about your story. In my research so far I have found that although there is a lot of school violence occuring in Hong Kong the majority of it is covered up by the schools and police so that the reputation of the school remains in tact, it is therefore very difficult to find people who have been victim to it or who have experiences of it. Any help you could give me would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks.

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