Youth Violence and Gangsterism: one reason why

Let me tell you why teachers generally are not surprised by the horrific and deadly youth violence that erupted in recent days. 

Dealing with thuggish and aggressive youths every day in school, they tell me that the root of the problem lies partly in the soft approach towards school discipline advocated by the Education Ministry. 

School principals are fearful of disciplinary problems backfiring on them. Serious cases are covered up as it is a poor reflection on them if their schools are perceived to be plagued with  disciplinary problems. 

Teachers who try to be strict and discipline their charges with punishment are looked on with disfavor by the school management. 

Everybody knows the system is not working but pretends it is. Students sent for counseling swagger back to class with a smile, grateful for
the brief respite from lesson. 

Hard core cases are merely palmed off to the next level with teachers delighted to be rid of them.

What’s is even more appalling, my informants divulge, is that students exhibit disciplinary problems as early as in primary one!

When students realize that teachers and principals do nothing more but talk and talk to them, they become empowered and gradually become aggressive, rude, disrespectful and even thuggish. 

If MOE does not reverse course, youth violence will escalate not only in public places but, worse, in the classroom.  


9 Responses to “Youth Violence and Gangsterism: one reason why”

  1. roger, when i read about the slashings and assaults by these wayward youth, my first reaction was: the root or rot has started in the schools. these young people are growing up thinking that the authorities are impotent and that they can get away with anything. hardly any caning. no expulsion. counselling.

    • Yes, that is why we have a generation of spoilt brats. Pity the teachers- their hands are tied. In the old days our teachers enforced school discipline but now they look the other way. Including school heads believe me!

  2. To say that it is the lax discipline in schools alone is little over blaming. Indeed, if we are to consider that from kindergarten onwards, a child is considered in school to the day he/she finishes ‘O Level’, ITE, the child would have spent no less than 12 years in school(3 in pre-primary, 6 in primary and four or 3 years in secondary or ITE- Secondary is deemed to be the most common here). Below the age of 15, most children are likely to pick up or learn most of the fundamental knowledges, reads most important, of understandings their surroundings, societal conditions and values other than Science and Intellectual Matters.
    With much of their time spend in school and homeworks, the school has significant influences in imparting knowledges and values(discipline/behaviour/upbringing) to our young, school has a duty to fulfill its’ role. However, that does not mean a good school will produce good students in knowledge and discipline.

    The HOME(family) is an important, the MOST IMPORTANT in my view, starting point for the upbringing of our youngs. Children who grow up in happy family with LOVING PARENTS/ grandparents who are themselves good role models are likely to grow up well behaved. Good school will reinforce and build on to better them, poor school may have a little effect but unlikely to make children from good homes from veering too far off into wayward direction.

    Our SOCIETY has just as important a role in the upbringings of our people, from the very young to the elderly. A society that tells the people that gambling(casino, stock,,investments and Singapore Pool Services of 4D, toto ,car races and football etc), drinking, spending time in places of leisure and shopping centres, pursuing material life; money, branded items, cosmetics and other hedonistic pursuits has GREAT INFLUENCE OVER OUR YOUTHS, the time in life when and whereby the teens behave at their most vain period. If they found any item of their ‘love’ beyond their affordability, they will resort to whatever means they could find which include doing black marketing(illegal hawkings) selling contraband cigarettes, video discs etc, vices including sex services, illegal gamblings including loan sharking, theft including shopliftings, extortion(protection money) and robbery. Any society that is materialistic and worse if LAW ENFORCEMENT IS LAX AND SPARINGLY DONE will lead the people and affecting the youths most to social anomalies.


  3. Thanks for your insights.

    I agree with your view that the family is very important in raising children.

  4. Absolutely agree with Patriot. By the time the symptoms appear in the schools, problem may be a bit too late for some cases. How much can a school do? Esp nowadays the teachers are already so overloaded with work.

    I personally know of 2 cases where my friends had to spend tens of thousands of dollars to bail out their daughters from their teaching bonds becos their poor daughters were clearly heading towards mental breakdown.

    I just hope we do not deteriorate to the point where teachers get beat up by students and live in constant fear.

    • Thanks for sharing your views.

      Sadly teachers are already verbally abused and attacked. Recall the recent case of the teacher who was kicked by a female student?

      Bet you it’ll be merely swept under the carpet.

      Even top schools have their share of arrogant, aggressive and violent students.

      Too preoccupied with chasing after this and that award, thanks to MOE, schools have sorely neglected in instilling character-building and discipline in students.

      Despite the promise of tough action by the police, there was another slashing case in AMK.

      It won’t be the last.

  5. Another slashing case in Yishun on Wednesday. It’s scary and unsafe in public. I don’t want to be caught in the crossfire.

    Police must beef up their presence with regular patrols.

  6. roger: the root of the problem lies partly in the soft approach towards school discipline advocated by the Education Ministry […] Teachers who try to be strict and discipline their charges with punishment are looked on with disfavor by the school management.

    Unfortunately, young gangsters & bullies are likely to grow up to become outright or disguised workplace bullies. And in the teaching workplace, well-meaning teachers could very well be bullied everyday on both ends — students, as well as supervisors/ colleagues more eager in self-interest, following the rules, maintaining the status quo, etc. at whatever expense.

    The immense irony of the so-called discipline as practised in the local system (schools, civil service, or even home environment) is that the privileged bullies & villains get away scot-free to continue their reign of terror, whereas people who question the status quo & keep trying to work for a better world are effectively terrorized &/or disciplined out of existence. And so the cycle continues.

  7. You are right to say that teachers are being bullied at both ends.

    Teachers are verbally abused, and if they make a complaint their principals will retort with, “It’s because your classrooms management is poor.”

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