Tuning in to their views

Mabel Sieh

Big Boyz Club is formed of nine students who sing about their feelings for school and other challenges

Mabel Sieh |

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Eddie Ho Chun-yin started up Big Boyz Club to give young people a musical outlet through which to express themselves more freely.
"How many times do I have to copy these Chinese characters? I only use my brain to memorise things. Do we study to get high marks or to learn? How much more homework do I have to finish? I'm scared of school. I never do my homework correctly but I won't give up. I want your encouragement."

These are the voices of nine young boys, expressing their thoughts through song.

They are all members of the Big Boyz Club, part of The Boys' and Girls' Clubs Association of Hong Kong (BGCA). Through their songs, the group of Form One students share the challenges they face at school.

"I'm not as good as my classmates academically, and that makes me less popular with my teachers," says Tsang Ling-kai. "But that doesn't mean I haven't made an effort. They just don't see it."

"People always say studying isn't just about getting high marks. But this is what we're pushed to do at school," adds Chan Wa-pan. "Only students getting good grades are considered good students and are praised by teachers."

And Wong Tsun-yiu says: "My English isn't good. I don't understand what's being taught in class, so I always wish the teachers would teach more slowly, so that I could understand."

One of their songs, We Finish School at 6pm, describes how their long, tiring school days last until 6pm. Even then they're not finished - most of them need to work until 10pm to finish their homework.

"There's just too much homework," says Cheng Yiu-kwan. "We get eight to 14 assignments every day; all the work makes me really tired."

But in singing, the 12-year-olds have found something they're good at, and enjoy. The singing group is the brainchild of BGCA's social welfare worker Eddie Ho Chun-yin. Ho met the boys, who were in Primary Five at the time, through the BGCA's Ma On Shan service centre, where they came to play or take part in events.

"The more I got to know them, the more I learned their views on things," says 24-year-old Ho. "Though they're young, they all have something to say."

A keen music fan, Ho wrote the first song using things the boys had said, and asked them to sing it.

After uploading the song on YouTube and getting lots of hits, he composed more and encouraged the boys to write their own.

Today, the group has 25 original songs on YouTube. They've proved popular with teachers who use them in sharing sessions with students.

"Being in the group has helped [the boys] to grow," says Ho. "Music has the power to change people.

"Their songs also help adults understand them better. We put a lot of expectations on children, but we seldom listen to their views."

Big Boyz Club will be holding a concert, The Boyz' Revolution, on May 11 at Baptist University's Academic Community Hall. E-mail Ho at [email protected] or call 3525 0440 for details.