.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


Bad behaviour

I often meet people in Asia who have never visited a Western country but assume that life in such countries must be better than they have. If quality of life comes purely from material possessions perhaps they are right. But I believe there are many other factors that need to be considered.

One of the delights of teaching in Thailand is the respectful behaviour of the students. Mostly I worked with university students. I have also spent a weekend on English camp with a few hundred high school students. The amount of time their teachers spent on discipline and crowd control was zero. The kids simply got in and did what they had to with no fuss. They all enjoyed themselves and felt no reason to complain. They had fun. They were happy. Having worked with kids in schools and camps over many years in Australia, I can assure my Asian friends that even with hand-picked groups there is always some discipline needed. When I perform for kids in Asian schools the teachers occasionally apologise and say 'I'm sorry they were very naughty.' My response is that the teachers have never experienced really naughty kids.

At this time of the year we in south-east Queensland experience a phenomenon known as 'Schoolies'. This is a celebration by school leavers of the end of their years at school. They spend a week, or perhaps more, letting their hair down before getting on with the business of finding a job or preparing for university. I suspect most do this with due regard to other people but some use this as an opportunity for some really bad behaviour.

A recent issue of the Sunday Mail reported, 'Residents say they are under siege in their own homes after rampaging teenagers smashed up a police car during a third consecutive weekend of wild parties in a Redland Bay street.'

The article goes on, '...a year-12 party spiralled out of control on Friday night and police were called to confront more than 300 teenagers, most of them gatecrashers, who learned of the party by text message.

'As officers attempted to move the teenagers, bottles were thrown at a police car which was damaged in the attack.'

Why, you may ask, do they behave like this? They are simply celebrating because they have finally finished school.

What causes young people to grow up with the belief that such behaviour is acceptable, I do not know. I know that Asian parents are not perfect however raising kids in Asia seems to be quite different from the way it is done in Australia. Children grow up with an attitude of respect for their elders. I'm not sure how this happens. I know, for example, that in Thailand when I meet someone with a baby who can only sit up, it is quite common for the parent to hold the child's hands together in a wai, a sign of respect. When someone gives something to a child, the child will always wai in thanks before taking the gift.

Asian parents don't have all the answers but I think we in Australia could learn a lot from the way you in Asia raise your children. Please don't follow us. We need to learn from you.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?