My Take

Our immature university students need counselling ... and punishment

Reports of bullying and even sexual assault in dorm rooms at the prestigious University of Hong Kong are a sad reflection on society as a whole

PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 April, 2017, 2:06am
UPDATED : Saturday, 08 April, 2017, 10:42pm

The University of Hong Kong is constantly in the news these days, but usually for the wrong reasons. The latest has to do with a possible sexual assault and bullying after a video clip was released showing a young man being held down while another one slapped his head with his private parts.

This followed allegations made by a student that some 20 people had stormed into a dormitory room of a student resident and took turns dripping hot wax on his nether regions.

While these events at the city’s oldest and most prestigious university are disturbing enough by themselves, they may not be isolated incidents. In some student online forums, there have been claims that such practices are “hall tradition”. Wax-dripping and organ-slapping are campus tradition? I seriously hope not. Some parents may now have second thoughts about sending their children to study there.

For the sake of simple decency, such behaviour must be condemned. Sadly, some online commentaries from HKU students seem to be unusually accepting. “If you can play along then you’ll treat it as a game, but if you can’t play along you’ll accuse people of bullying,” one post said.

University of Hong Kong investigates second bullying case after video went viral

I don’t know about you, but those acts go beyond mere bullying.

Education sector lawmaker Ip Kin-yuen said he believed this kind of behaviour among students could be the result of the general mood in society, as well as what they were exposed to on the internet.

What, the state of Hong Kong society made them do it? Pray tell how.

Ip is probably right, though, about the internet. Immaturity, sexual frustration, watching too much online pornography and having little to no sex education – all these make for a dangerous combination.

We are still a deeply conservative Chinese society, where parents are not very helpful when it comes to the birds and the bees. It’s probably the first time for those youngsters to be away from home, free of parental restraints. And given the “anything goes” mentality of some students and lecturers at HKU these days, perhaps such incidents are not surprising at all.

The university administration says it is investigating. Those found responsible should be disciplined. But the culprits also need help, althoughtheir actions must never be tolerated. Such behaviour is not about wild partying or youthful excesses; it’s potentially criminal.