How serious is the problem of bullying in our schools?

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Over a period of three months in 2017, three students died from being beaten. Other children were also being assaulted at school, in their hostels, or outside the school premises. So what is happening where children bully other children freely? Has education failed these children? Has a poor upbringing also failed them?

T Nhaveen

The murder trial of T Nhaveen has finally started at the High Court in Penang. In 2017, he was abducted while buying burgers at Bukit Gelugor, in Penang. His abductors were his former schoolmates.

Nhaveen had been hit with crash helmets, burnt and sodomised with a blunt object. A few weeks before his assault, he would have started college life in Kuala Lumpur, to study music.

Nhaveen had been bullied at school, and at the end of his shift work, his former school bullies assaulted him, for being “effeminate”.

Bullying takes many forms, and you need not be effeminate to be beaten. If you are by nature quiet and reserved, it is enough for some bullies to target you, perhaps because you are perceived to lack the gumption to fight back.

Zulfarhan Osman Zulkarnain

A week before Nhaveen’s death, another student, 21-year-old navy cadet Zulfarhan Osman Zulkarnain from the Malaysian National Defence University (UPNM) also died from a beating.

After they had tortured him, Zulfarhan’s university friends took him to a clinic in Bangi to seek treatment on two occasions. It was only when his condition worsened that his bullies took him to hospital, where he died.

Why didn’t the doctor at the clinic notice that Zulfarhan had been scalded with a steam iron, and also beaten? As he had been bound, there must have been weals on his skin. Are our doctors as blind as our politicians? Didn’t they enquire into the cause of his injuries? A post mortem showed that eighty percent of Zulfarhan’s body had been scalded and bruised.

In Malaysia, bullying comes in many guises. You wouldn’t expect a teacher to bully someone much younger, but from the various stories on social media, it is more common that we think, and is under-reported.

Mohd Thaqif Amin Mohd Gaddafi

The month before, 11-year-old Mohd Thaqif Amin Mohd Gaddafi died after a beating by a staff member at his tahfiz school. The suspect was released on police bail, but it was alleged that this man had used to pick on Thaqif for the most minor of reasons.

Why are our authorities afraid of prosecuting religious school teachers? Are they afraid of a public backlash? Are they afraid the religious teachers will damn their souls to hell , and they are unable to enter heaven when they die?

Thaqif’s body was exhumed for a second post mortem. The results took a long time to be released, but we needn’t have bothered waiting. Taqif’s death was blamed on rats. They claimed that Thaqif had picked up leptospiroriss. Poor Thaqif. Justice was denied him and his family. Poor rat was blamed on infecting Thaqif.

So why wasn’t the school or the hospital fumigated or cleared of vermin? Contracting the rat borne disease proves the deplorable standards of hygiene in the school or hospital. This was one eye-wash that tops the bill. Cover-up extraordinaire! Even rats are not immune to Umno-Baru and religious bigotry cover-ups.

Why did Thaqif’s parents have to go through another round of heartache? Why were the parents being bullied in this fashion?

We lurch from one disgraceful episode to the next. We have barely got over the shock of reading about one victim, when the next victim makes the headlines. Have we become immune to the evil in our midst?

Nation of bullies

Bullying is not just between students and students, or teachers and pupils.

Some of us bully our elders; bully them into babysitting and house sitting, or financing our businesses and expensive luxuries. Then, when we tire of them, we just dump them by a road, with their possessions stuffed into a plastic carrier bag. We bully our maids, and those whom we perceive to be of a lower social standing.

Malaysia is a nation of bullies and their victims.

Conservative religious people bully the other 97 percent of the ordinary Malaysian rakyat, to wear, eat, and conform to the bigots’ notion of life.

If you are of a different faith and race, and if you support the opposition, expect to be bullied by politicians in the following fashion: The police will lock you up for insubordination. Immigration will ban you from travelling abroad. Public services will be denied to your community. Scholarships will be withheld. Teachers, and people in the armed forces, will be refused promotion. Felda settlers are denied their bonuses.

These are all forms of bullying, and until you recognise that you, and only you, can stand up for your rights, be prepared for the authorities to trample over you.

If the government were serious about bullying, would they allow bail for Thaqif’s alleged killer? Why are Zulfarhan’s alleged bullies allowed to attend college? Why are corrupt cronies still running GLCs? Why are corrupt politicians still ruling the nation?

And last week, why were non-Muslims forced to accept the bullying by the authorities.

The AGC was unwilling to prosecute Perlis-based preacher Zamri Vinoth Kalimuthu and Multiracial Reverted Muslims founder and president Firdaus Wong Wai Hung as police had classified their cases as “no further action (NFA).”

They insulted non-Islamic religions, especially Hinduism via Facebook and YouTube. 

Looks like no-one can insult Islam but it is a free for all, for Malays/Muslims/Muslim converts to insult non-Islamic faiths.

We have been warned that we must mind our language on social media and refrain from discussing religion, or royalty.

That is the ultimate bully tactic, and I will not be silenced.

Rebuilding Malaysia

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