Sat, Jul 07, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Video of youths mocking recycler sparks backlash

By Hsiao Su-mei  /  STAFF REPORTER

A man who was mocked in a video shot by high school students in Taichung County collects recyclables on Thursday. He said that he forgave the students.

PHOTO: HSIAO SU-MEI, TAIPEI TIMES

An Internet video of former high school students in Taichung County throwing around trash to mock a 66-year-old man collecting recycling has angered Web surfers and provoked a debate on the state of morality among Taiwan's younger generation.

The man, who collects recycling with his wife as their source of income, said he had asked the students several times to separate recycling from trash. Instead, the students started flinging garbage as the man tried to gather bottles and cans. The video showed the man chasing the students as they run away laughing.

At the time of the incident, the man's wife was not with him because she was in the hospital.

The video produced a backlash after being posted on a Web site.

Administrators at Ta Ming Senior High School have said that the students in the video are from the school. They said the school handled the incident when it happened at the end of last year, adding that the students had graduated last month. They said the students did not realize the severity of their actions and had already apologized to the man.

Chang Pi-hua (張碧華) of the Humanistic Education Foundation said the incident showed the need for better education in ethics for students, adding that parents and educators should be tolerant when teaching about right and wrong.

Neurologist Wang Chih-chung (王志中) said that high school students long to be accepted by their peers and to draw attention to themselves. He suggested parents and teachers get troublemakers to imagine themselves in the shoes of the person they have humiliated.

When approached by reporters for comment on Thursday, the man said he had forgiven the students and hoped people would give them another chance.

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