Thursday, January 24, 2008

Bullying at school is nothing new

Bullying at school is an age-old problem and many took the "children will be children" attitude towards the problem. Bullying is about one thing: the strong taking unfair advantage of the weak. The problem exists in all schools. And now it seems teachers and principals are turning into bullies too.

MP Lily Neo and chairperson for Government Parliamentary Committee for Education said, " School bullies are increasing and becoming bolder, brainier "

My son Jaymes was a victim of school bullying, from primary to secondary school. He was small in size and meek. When the bullying started in Primary 2, he didn't dare to tell me. My parents-in-law noticed that his shirt was usually scribbled on and dirtied with coloured crayons. At first we thought he did it or he must have done something to deserve it. But words like 'idiot' and 'stupid' were written on the back of his shirt. I then dismissed it as children's pranks. We advised Jaymes to avoid conflicts with his classmates and to keep a low profile. Obviously he listened because nothing serious happened in his remaining primary school years.

Then when he was in secondary school, the bullying came from his classmates, a few teachers and his principal. One incident happened when he was in secondary one where his form teacher together with the school authorities, sided with another student over our loss of S$4. The form teacher told my husband and I in our faces, our son was 'not Express class material', 'a busybody' and 'a liar'. I was livid and complained to the school which until now, choose to do nothing.

When Jaymes was in secondary 2, I was informed by one of his classmates that he fought in the school toilet. I was very angry and confronted my son.

Turned out there was an Indian boy in his class who was always harassing and hitting him and other smaller built boys, for no reason. He told his form teacher and the Disciplinary Mistress but they did nothing. He didn't dare to tell me because like most schoolchildren he was afraid of reprisals and wary of my hot-temper, that I would turn the school upside-down. haha.....

Jaymes endured for a year and then took up Ninjado, a Japanese martial art. When he was ready, he challenged the Indian boy to a fight. He lost but from then on, the bully didn't dare provoke him any more.

I admit it was probably the wrong thing to do — but I’m not sorry my son had to take matters into his own hands. (Like mother, like son... hehe.....). In fact I think he was very brave to face the bully. I'm glad that he could take care of himself. I pity those who dare not stand up to their bullies and despise those who turn a blind eye to what's happening.

Yes, parents and victims of bullying shouldn't be left to feel the pain and anguish.

School bullying is everyone’s business. It is unrealistic to expect it can be totally eliminated. We can’t eradicate the conditions that turn some children into bullies and others into targets.

But if everyone concerned—teachers, school authorities, police, parents and children—is truly committed to zero tolerance, then there is solid evidence that the amount and the severity of bullying can be reduced dramatically.

What MOE Singapore said on bullying - here and here but schools never follow


  1. School bullying is now a pandemic all over the world. It is quite sad to see that nowadays, children are no longer as innocent as they used to be. It is rather scary how evil those little brains can be.

  2. Doreen,
    yalor... so sad hor.

    Bullying is everywhere, at school. at work, at home..... now also got cyber bullying.

  3. That must have been an awful time for your poor son ! and good that he learned to defend himself. I think if somebody is attacked he should repost in the same way ! My son was more lucky because as you say bullying exists in all countries. He always was the tallest from Kindergarten on and now he is 2 m long, lol ! So nobody dared to bully him but he became a bully defender and the only fights he had at school was when he defended his weaker friends. I found that very nice and didn't say anything.

  4. Gattina,
    My son was probably miserable but he didn't show it.

    I wish my son is 2m tall! But since he can defend himself, I'm not too worried about him any more. I just remind him to stay cool and not get into fights unnecessarily as some sickos would use knives and hurt him seriously.

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  6. Sometimes it is very hard to tackle bullying issues. There is a very fine line at times.

    As I work in a school, I hear a lot of things and the decision is difficult.

    When the authorities act on this, the bully's parents storms in with abusive language and the bullied parents will also storm in abusing the authorities for not taking the actions they want.

    Yes, sadly, bullying is increasing.

  7. Judy,
    When the school gets a cry for help from their students, don't they even want to find out what happened? They are supposed to protect their students from harm, not leave them to fend for themselves.

    The bullies get bolder because nobody will do anything.

    It's not that the schools cannot do anything, they just don't want to take up more responsibility or incur the wrath of parents.

    And the police don't want to bother about such minor problems.

    The solution now is to send our children to martial art classes and then let them kill one another in school!

  8. ECL..this subject really touches my heart, for I really fear my son will be a victim. He's small in size...and starting school next week!!!

    Then..also worried he might be the bully pulak!

    I always wondered how to advice my kids. I think sending them for self-defence class would help?


  9. mott,
    Better play safe, send him for martial art classes. Prepare him so he can defend or help himself when in need.

    It is parents' responsibility to teach their kids not to bully others and that they can only use their skill to defend themselves and protect the weak.

    Nowadays, people are so selfish, they only look out for themselves. So we have to look out for our own kids also. Be prepared is better than be sorry.

  10. There's also the 'Principal the Bully'? If I were the parent of those girls... la la la I'll be sooo armed with a baseball bat *evil.mode.on*

  11. napaboaniya,
    Yes, I'll not let that principal off lightly too. That's not the way for an educator to treat her students.
    I have too many such cases to quote.

  12. Wah... who so dare-dare bully Jaymes??!!

    Last time I also kena bully in primary school... ppl ask to borrow $$, I just give give give... -_-'''

  13. I was a little more fortunate. I was neither a bully, nor bullied upon in my years at school. Middle of the road thing. Bullying has to be treated as harshly as racism or bigotry or stealing or lying or smoking or cheating or raping. Yeah?

  14. Bullies are people with personal issues who don't know how to control themselves......

    ......I say beat the he11 out of all of them and teach them a little control! hee hee

  15. Sounds like you took the right action. :)

  16. all parents are afraid of that, except for the ones who are bullies themselves. i am already worrying about that becoz my son is soft compared to kids in kinder, along with the head-lice and worms situations, hahhaaha!

  17. There's a anti-bullying campaign in Singapore:

    I am also aware of this anti-bullying resource available online:

    Hope the above may be of use to those who wish to know more about what they can do to stop bullying, because putting a stop to bullying requires the community's effort.

  18. bullies are not a problem children...these are the children with proper guidance we can lead them to proper path.

    how are you sis? just doin my rounds.....

  19. I am so proud of your son Jaymes. I am the non-conventional guy and I will definitely take the law and order in my own hand if I can.

    Love the determination of your son. I am sure he will turn out to be a better, stronger man.

    Bravo Jaymes!

  20. Wow ECL, you really know how to train your son to be ECL No 2! hehehe

    The thing is, why people bully others, esp. children? In fact, if people try to be nice (even pretend to be nice), people will like you more. *sigh*

  21. I feel for your son. I was also bullied at school, from the age of 5. It was a horrid experience. The only good thing to come of it is that I'm now a pretty assertive person and won't take sh*t off anyone. Your response to it was commendable, because you gave your son the means with which to resolve the situation, when his teachers wouldn't help. It must have boosted his self esteem so much.

  22. yup, definitely... bullying should be stopped

  23. like ah ah..i think have to start sending my girls to martial art class b4 they go to primary one. ;)

    so far, i never got bullied b4. maybe i was a tomboy so the other girls scared to bully me. hehe

  24. Glad your son learned to defend himself! My personal experience was when a of louts tried to "rag" us on orientation day. My friend and I took on a fighting stance, arms raised and poised to attack, and the assholes ran off in a hurry with their tails behind their legs. Sometimes the only way to strike down the bullies is to make your position clear. As for the teachers, get their names and tell them they will be hearing from your lawyers. That's more effective than complaining to the MOE, they are all part of the mafia.

  25. Glad he can help himself now.

    And come on people, get real.
    It has been bad enough 20 years ago.
    As bad as it is now, we just didn't hear of it as much.

    I know one thing, if the boys tried to bully me, I kicked their butt...

  26. I understand. Perhaps it worthwhile considering self defense classes / they're cheap, you will find them aplenty in the local CC and it's good way of empowering kids with the skills to sort out their own problems instead of resorting to adults to sort out their problems.

    I just don't think, it's very efficient to police bullying. Darkness 2008

  27. My angel,
    They borrow money from you...., yet you so generous... give money to them!? ..... and give give give some more!

    I want to borrow money from you!

  28. LB,
    I doubt any one would dare bully you. I saw your childhood photo, you look like pai kia (gangster). kakaka.....

    Bullies ought to be castrated, skinned, roasted, cut up.....

  29. Mike,
    Yeah, let them have a taste of their own medicine. Where the law can't touch them, we will take the law into our own hands.

  30. sweetpea,
    Yes, your son do look soft and easy to bully. kakaka....

    Let him take up self-defence.

  31. oceanskies,
    Thanks for the info. Some parents would need that.

  32. ellen,
    Sorry, I can't find your blog url. Please drop me your blog address.

  33. wilfrid,
    Kids these days are not as well brought up as in the old days. We have to teach them survival skills in this jungle.

    And with hypocritical educators at school teaching them the wrong things, it's no wonder the kids have turned into problems themselves.

  34. windy,
    I didn't teach my son to use violence! He was probably pushed into a corner. I was very angry with him for fighting and scolded him for doing that.

    After hearing what actually happened, I became really mad at the school for not taking action.

    So.... in fact, in my heart I was shouting,"You go, son! Well-done!" hahaha.....

  35. awwww siani.
    It must be a terrible experience for you.

    My son is a gentle and kind-hearted boy. Although he was bullied in school by his schoolmates and teachers, .... and also bullied at home by my older foreign students, he chose not to tell me about the bullying. I was really mad when I found out.

    It was my son who told me to forgive and forget and not to look up those bullies.

    It really pains me as a mother to hear the things that were done to my son. I'll never forgive nor forget and I'll pursue all these.

  36. giddy tigress,
    haha... yes. Jaymes is going to be a chef who knows Ninjado.

  37. Hi miche!
    Long time no hear from you!

    Must send your girls for martial art class. Let them learn self-defence is a good precaution. My son has decided to send his future kids for martial art class already. hehe....

    I was not bullied when I was in school too. I was the teachers' pet, so nobody dare to touch me. hahaha.....

  38. sandy,
    Whoa ho! Like me you refer to MOE as the mafia! You must have run into problems with them too. Come to think of it, who in Singapore doesn't!?

    The Education Ministers are all figure heads, and because they change every few years.... the actual chiefs are the old-never-die (老不死)so-called talents in the ministry. And now they are very capable.... because our education industry is worth billions every year.... they have established lots of connections and leave back roads (后路) for their retirement.

  39. nicole,
    Bullying at school is not new.... the teachers, principals and MOE know... but they choose to close both eyes and look away.

    There are guidelines to handle it but no one bothers to follow them when it is calm and peaceful. Only when VIPs' kids get bullied and they make a hooha out of it, then it gets noticed.

    The form teacher, Disciplinary Mistress and even the principal of Bedok South Secondary School didn't want to face the bullying problems.

    Firstly, my son was already blacklisted because I complained too often. Secondly, such problem is too common, it happens everyday. They probably think it's a good idea to let the kids fight and kill one another. haha....

  40. Darkness 2008,
    My son learnt Ninjado from the class at Marine Parade CC. It's cheap and the coach is patient and responsible.

    My son was the one who checked out all self defence classes available, decide on NInjado and asked me for money to join it. I asked him why not Chinese Kung-fu? He said he wants to learn it for self-defence not to fight. I didn't know his purpose for learning self-defence then.

    With my temperament, if I heard that he was bullied in school, I would have settled it for him immediately.

    Yet he has the patience and determination to learn and face his problem. I have to respect him for that though.

  41. I understand. That's commendable. One of the things that I do is teach Kendo to kids twice a week. So I know a bit abt conflict, sometimes the hardest thing for me to do is to stand to one side and do absolutely nothing -to believe that things will eventually sort themselves out - I believe there is wisdom there -there is a time to make things happen and a time to let it happen.

    You have to decide which it is. I wish you luck. Darkness 2008

  42. This happened about two years ago. A boy staying in a boarding school at Dover Road was studying quietly by himself when he was taunted and picked on by a classmate. Since it was one time too many, he struck back by swinging a chair at his tormentor. Latter got hit on the ear by accident, and suffered temporary deafness. Bully's parents complained to the principal when their precious darling came home crying and bruised. The real victim ended being caned in front of the whole school. His parents swallowed the injustice quietly because they didn't want their son to lose his place in a "premier school." What would you have done?

  43. Darkness 2008,
    Oh, you teach Kendo. That's interesting. I believe in preparing kids on how to take care of themselves in dire situations.

    Using the experiences of my son, I let people know what is happening in school and to be prepared for it.

    I'm not one to stand aside and do nothing. I'm a kaypoh and a nuisance when it comes to asserting my rights.

    Thanks for sharing your views.

  44. Josephine,
    That school is notorious for its mischievous students and the way they handle conflicts. It's after all a school for the rich and powerful.

    My sympathy to the poor boy. It's unfortunate the boy who was first bullied, got caned. But he did retaliate and cause temporary deafness to the bully. I see such injustice often, it seems there is nothing the victim can do due to our laws. Even if this goes to court, he would still be punished.

    But if the victim wants to do something, he still can, if he dares and doesn't care about the consequences.

    I always tell those who taunt me with 'what can you do?' - It's not about what I can or cannot do, it's whether I want to do or not. I will take the law into my own hands if things go too far.

    In this boy's case, I will accept the punishment because he did hurt the other party physically. He's unlucky but I hope he would learn to hold his temper and plot revenge secretly. haha...

  45. That's rich from the man who takes no prisoners in his regular Kendo bouts. Very rich indeed. And look how he treated Dotty, just picked her up and threw her like rubbish, the same way he did with the IS.

  46. My younger brother once had a so called friendly bout with darkness. He humiliated him in front on everyone like a dog. After that he gave it up completely. Just because he was a bit cheeky, that is no reason to go over board. Bastard!

  47. ninjado... fantastic!!
    im glad jaymes-chan could solve it by himself.
    remembering that my friends were bullying a beautiful girl at school. just becoz she looked so gorgeous.
    maybe that indian boy was same. he was envy becoz jaymes-chan is handsome!

  48. wow, cant believe this is happening! it's so sad...

    if kids dont know what is the right things to do, the school should be an example!

  49. good for jaymes. he is going to be a great father one day too.

  50. While conclusions are difficult at this time I feel this lawsuit is a disgusting representation of just what is wrong in our society today. As a parent of a 9 year old boy who is very compassionate and empathic I make it my priority to know what is going on in his life and how he is effected by it. Obviously that is not what Kim Myers did as her statement "If he had got the help he needed, he would still be alive." clearly proves.

    What so many parents these days utterly fail to realize is that they are the primary source of help for their children. If she knew her child was being bullied in school and that nothing was being done about it why wasn't she in the principal's office on a daily basis demanding that something be done about it. Why did she not take her son to see a therapist who would have helped him deal with the bullying.

    There are so many steps that Kim should have taken yet from all accounts had not so for her to now dump the blame on the school is disgusting and just re-enforces the sentiment that there is no need for real parents because the state is responsible.

    And the belief that "bullying is no a pandemic" has got to be just about one of the dumbest things that I have ever heard. Bullying is no more prevalent now than it was 10, 20, 30 or 50 years ago.

    The only difference now is that people somehow think that they have no right to be offended. The worst thing is that most of the liberals will take a completely harmless action like a little boy saying a girl is ugly and calling that bullying. I'm sick with all the social programming the left is tying to force down our throats.

    As a father I cannot begin to imagine the hurt and loss that Kim Myers must be feeling right now. No parent should ever outlive their child. That is just not natural. Also, I under stand her desire to want someone to pay for her loss but in all honesty the buck has to stop somewhere and as the parent it needs to stop with her.

    If she could not have noticed that her child was upset then she does not deserve to be a parent.

  51. "Firstly, my son was already blacklisted because I complained too often. Secondly, such problem is too common, it happens everyday. They probably think it's a good idea to let the kids fight and kill one another. haha...."

    Yepp, sadly enough when stuff like that really happens they are all like "Oh, I didn't know....."


  52. Sheesh, when will school bullies ever quit? Me and my younger brother were also harassed when we were schooling too. Without thought, we also took matters into our own hands. For me, I "bragged" that I knew a few gangsters from so-and-so gangs and those bullies simply stopped harassing me. As for my brother, he endured it whenever this girl in his class hurled vulgarities at him (the CB, LJ's and stuff, if you know what I mean..) until one fine day, that girl was harassing him with the "C*** B**" taunt when he suddenly without warning shot back at her with a "You don't have one, is it?". That school girl was so stunned at this rebute she simply left him alone.

    True that such things are nothing to be bragged about. But when the going gets tough, you'll have to get a little creative for the school bullies to stop their nonsense. Besides, the usual mantra of "If you don't mess with them, they'll leave you alone" doesn't necessarily work anymore. Instead, it might seem as if you are to meek to fight back and invite more taunting and bullying instead. But still, I am proud of what I did to make them stop giving me shit.

    And teacher and principals in school nowadays are just simply "bo-chap" because, like what you mentioned, bullying is just kids stuff and they'll stop sooner or later. How I wish teachers and principals were like the good old days. Whenever something "funny" happened, they turn over every rock and stone to find out what in the world happened to provoke the bullying.

  53. Hello ECL,

    Thank you for such a uplifting read. Glad to see that Jaymes shares your fighting spirit.

    I'm writing a report on online bullying among teens, and am in the process of researching.

    I wonder if you know any teen who was bullied online quite "brutally", and if the parents would be willing to share his story?

    I'm quite new into this subject, so am hoping for some guidance. Really great links from your readers!

    You can reach me at Thank you!