Talking points: Would you treat someone differently if they had a tattoo?

Compiled by Melanie Leung

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Compiled by Melanie Leung |

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Yu Lok-yiu, 16, South Tuen Mun Government Secondary School

Tattooing is a form of body art that goes back thousands of years. This "performance art" is becoming more and more popular nowadays.

Taiwan hosts an international convention that lets tattoo artists share their work. I see tattoos as a kind of eye-catching art and try to understand the deeper meaning behind those "designs". So, of course, I would treat people with tattoos "differently" - I would appreciate the beauty of the art rather than ignore them!

Tanya Parmanand, 15, King George V School

I would not treat someone differently just because they had a tattoo - it's their choice. A tattoo doesn't change someone's personality; it's just an image on their body. We shouldn't pre-judge people who have tattoos. Maybe they are expressing their emotions or thoughts through the designs, or maybe they simply want to have the images on their body for the rest of their lives.

We shouldn't think that tattoos lower a person's social status or indicate low self-esteem. With the growing popularity of tattoos, especially among youngsters, people are less shocked by them. Their attitudes are changing quickly, from mostly negative to mostly neutral - if not positive.

Vanya Pardal, 11, Canadian International School of Hong Kong

For me, it actually depends on how big a tattoo is and what it represents. If it's something such as a person's initials, or the name of a loved one, then that's okay. But if it's a bad word, and carved in big letters, that's not good.

It also depends on the person's age. If a 12-year-old gets such a tattoo, you cannot really blame them or their parents. It's probably due to peer pressure, because a parent would never want their child to get a tattoo at such a young age. But if a 20-year-old gets a tattoo, it's all right as long as it's not very big and does not symbolise anything bad.

Charlotte Chong Hoi-kwo, 17, CCC Mong Man Wai College

As people with tattoos have been labelled as "bad guys" in society, I would treat them differently. For example, if someone sitting next to me on the bus had a tattoo, I would pay more attention to him and avoid any contact with him. I blame TV for this. In TV dramas, the guys with tattoos always fight, swear, break the rules and so on. After seeing these TV programmes, I am always suspicious of those who have tattoos.

Hua Yuk-ting, 16, South Island School

Tattoos are a form of expression. The dark ink on someone's arm or back is a kind of art chosen by the person to display inspirational quotes, remind them of a loved one, or to be simply appreciated. A person with a tattoo is just like anybody else.

We no longer live in a time when tattoos are strictly reserved for gang members or soldiers. Anyone with enough cash and an idea can easily get a tattoo. Why should we treat people differently just because of the marks on their skin?

For many, tattoos inspire negative thinking, for example, "tattoos are unprofessional"; "people with tattoos are dangerous". Amid the confusion, we tend to forget that we shouldn't judge a book by its cover. Therefore, I wouldn't treat anyone with a tattoo differently.

Anushka Purohit, 15, Renaissance College Hong Kong

Of course not! A tattoo just makes you look cooler, not scary! Plus, it's just one tattoo (and it could be anywhere, really) so you might not even see it.

It also tells you that people with tattoos have a high pain tolerance so you can make jokes without hurting their feelings.

Tell us what you think in the comment box below.