Bully culture is real, stop looking the other way

Written by: Razman F | 16 Jun 2017 13:15
T Nhaveen is another tragic victim of the growing bully culture in Malaysia
Written by:
16 Jun 2017 13:15

Who knows what Zulfarhan Osman Zulkarnain and T Nhaveen could have gone on to achieve in life.

Only weeks ago, these fine young men, 21 and 18 respectively, had almost everything laid out in front of them.

One was seeking education in the hope to serve his country with pride; the other was looking forward to mould his future in college next month.

One minute, they had plans and dreams to look forward to, and the next, all snuffed out with their untimely deaths. 

Their young lives came to a sudden and unwanted halt not through an unfortunate accident, not by illness, not even because they themselves had given up on life.

Sadly, bullies ended their promising lives, and what would have been.

The fact that two fatal cases involving bullies occurred within just a matter of weeks speak volumes.

You can sweep it under the carpet all you want, but the truth still hurts. Malaysia has a serious and persistent bully problem, and what is more worrying is that Malaysians, including the authorities, are not doing much to address it as a ‘clear and present’ problem.

Over the years, we have heard, read, maybe even witnessed some form of bullying or another in our midst.

Our own family members could have been victims. Our neighbours, our relatives, our friends.

Now and then, a child would have come home from school with stories of how schoolmates were being bullied.

From time to time, we would have watched in horror, and maybe even shared bullying video clips circulating in social media.

And when things die down, that would have been the end of the issue and discussion. Until the next gossip from school, the next video, the next news story.

And therein lies the problem.

We do not address the elephant in the room.
We talk about bullying and violence until the cows come home but we do not see it as a ‘real’ problem.
We sympathise, yes, but because it’s not OUR problem, it’s not a ‘real’ problem. 

And that is where Malaysians seem to have failed.
Until and unless we educate ourselves, our family and society that bullying and violence is a sickening disease that is not going to resolve problems, we will continue to hear more horrifying bully cases in the news, and sadly more deaths.

In fact, for every bully case that is made public, there are more out there that we do not know about, that is happening and that is real.


Educate our family members.
Raise our child, our brothers and sisters that it is not okay to bully.
Teach them that violence is not the way to resolve issues and problems.
Inculcate values that drive home the importance of mutual respect and healthy discussion.
And that includes beliefs, culture, religion, differences and orientation.


Our schools and teachers have and are trying their best to provide the best learning experience and care with whatever little they have.
We know for a fact that teaching these days is a stressful vocation.
Their roles have definitely changed from yesteryears.
They not only teach, they seem to have taken unsolicited additional roles as administrators, clerks, caretakers and even financiers to some poor students. 
But with so many bully cases in our educational institutions over the years, questions are raised as to whether our educators are being trained to look out and address bullying in their midst.
Recently, Malaysia Crime Prevention Foundation senior vice-chairman Lee Lam Thye drove home why it was essential for the Education ministry, with the assistance of teachers and counsellors, to identify students prone to violence.

He was quoted as saying that this would allow an intensive counselling programme to be carried out to help such individuals before they destroyed their own lives or that of others.

The social activist said bullying and violence among students and teenagers should be kept in check as the culture is gaining a foothold in local society.

In the case of Zulfarhan and Nhaveen, a keen eye on what’s happening around the school or college environment and actually caring enough to do something about it could have made a difference.


It seems to be happening everywhere.
One or two victims, outpowered, outnumbered by a larger group of people bent on displaying aggressiveness.
This strength in numbers culture has taken such a stronghold in Malaysian society that it seems to have been accepted as a norm.
No one talks it out anymore.
If we don’t agree, we gather groups and we intimidate and threaten the other with physical aggressiveness.
The rule of law is set aside and gang culture and mob justice championed as the way to go and ‘to teach offenders a lesson’. 
How often have we heard of these so-called vigilantes being punished by law despite overwhelming evidence presented for everyone to see?
Just maybe, when swift and tough penalties are meted out to make them realise that it’s not within their rights to take the law into their own hands, we may see a stop to this.

Ignorance may be bliss.
But not if Zulfarhan, Nhaveen and countless of others who have and will most likely fall victim to the growing local bully culture were still alive to have their say amidst screams of torture and pain.



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