Saying no to bullying
The issue of school bullying has recently attracted a great deal of media attention and been the subject of a seemingly endless number of debates, the consensus being that the situation has grown worse. Not only students, but also teachers can suffer from bullying (“Getting to the root of school bullying,” Dec. 31, page 8). For this reason, the Executive Yuan has established an inter-ministerial platform to address student discipline problems. It is imperative that active measures be taken to nip this in the bud now. How to curb bullying should be everyone’s business.
As to causes, we should understand that there is no one reason that young students misbehave. The main cause is that morality and ethics are largely ignored by an education system that is entirely examination-oriented.
According to news reports, about 10 percent of students have suffered from bullying and about 30 percent choose to ignore it.
As a society this is an issue we must approach with a great deal of care. There are so many students with different personalities and family backgrounds. School teachers perhaps understand them best, whereas school principals and heads of student affairs are likely to only recognize the outstanding and the most mischievous. If a student creates problems, all they can do is ask the homeroom teacher for advice. As such, the relationship between the homeroom teacher and students is very close and can affect the attitude of the whole class. Homeroom teachers have a direct impact on students.
Schools are a place where teachers, students and parents interact, but many parents have convinced themselves that it is the schools that are to blame for children’s behavior. This ignores the fact that students with problems at home are more likely to become troublemakers at school. Given this relationship, homeroom teachers should play the role of communicator between the school, students and parents.
Increasingly easy access to all kinds of information can make it difficult for students to distinguish between right and wrong, and this is one of the reasons behind a discernible change in student attitudes in recent years.
Clearly, bullying at school needs to be deterred, and where that fails, severely punished, For this reason, schools should perhaps teach law-related courses, to ensure students have a grasp of the rule of law and its implications. In the meantime, teenagers need to learn to take responsibility for their actions.
Furthermore, parents and teachers should work more closely together to ensure children are supervised at all times, so than any indication of bullying can be dealt with immediately. Parents must also take their share of the blame for the bullying that plagues our school system.
Lost in translation
I went to McDonald’s near Nanjing E Road MRT Station today and instead of being asked for my name when placing my order, the member of staff chose to write waiguo ren (foreigner, 外國人) on my receipt.
That individual then chose to cover the word with a ketchup sachet so other staff members would not notice.
I went back later in the day to complain about the incident, but no apology was offered and the manager of the restaurant seemed to find nothing wrong with what had happened.
Rather than get caught up in my own frustrations with racial discrimination in Taiwan, let’s explore the impact and consequences that this sort of behavior can have on a country as a whole.
Racism and prejudice are rife in Taiwan and many foreigners living here find themselves discriminated against on a daily basis, being walked past in lines, shouted at by passers-by, stared and glared at on the street and even spat at.
How does Taiwan as a nation expect to be accepted by the international community as a serious political and economic stakeholder if even politicians are allowed to express discriminatory views against foreigners without being challenged by the political opposition?
If Taiwan really wants to make progress it must seek to eradicate this social prejudice.
Taiwanese have what amounts to an obsession with visa-waiver programs and the desire to live/work/study abroad. With this in mind, perhaps people should examine how they expect to be treated abroad, and compare that to the treatment they give to foreigners in their homeland.
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