Lord of the Flies, Vietnam-Style

A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members. ~ Mahatma Gandhi

School bullying is not a problem unique to Vietnam but it is one that has been on the rise in recent years and that receives considerable coverage in the media.  In this case, it was a 7th grade girl in Tra Vinh who was beaten mercilessly by her classmates at the behest of the “class president” for refusing to obey her orders.

And, of course, one of the students – both unwitting “journalist” and co-conspirator – dutifully recorded the incident, which took place on 13 January and was uploaded to the Internet on 8 March.  This is a painful video to watch, as the girl’s classmates hit her, pull her hair, throw plastic chairs at her and scream insults at her.  (Note:  You can view it from the Thanh Nien News webpage but if you switch to the original source, YouTube, you have to log in because This video may be inappropriate for some users.) Just a few more chairs or blows to the head and the end result could easily have been serious injury or death.

school beating

This article, which refers to the Tra Vinh incident, discusses the general problem of school violence:  Student violence at schools needs cooperative efforts by teachers, parents.  While it’s true that the proliferation of smartphones in Vietnam, including among children, means that more of these assaults are videotaped and often find their way onto the Internet, there are also a lot of cases that go unreported.)

Here’s what Vo Thanh Ta, the class head teacher had to say about the crime that took place in her class as quoted in the first article in which the video is embedded:  Most parents of the involved students have divorced and may not be giving their children enough care and attention.  While I’m pretty sure that’s an understatement, my question to Ms. Thanh Ta is this:  Where were YOU while one of your students, a girl entrusted to your care, was being viciously attacked? Are the inmates running the asylum?  Teachers have to deal with the cards they’re dealt, so to speak, but they can dictate the decorum of the learning environment.

Teach your children well.  Children become adults.


P.S.:  For those of you who don’t get the Lord of the Flies reference, follow this link.


One thought on “Lord of the Flies, Vietnam-Style

  1. Thanks for this, Mark. Yes, where were the teachers and those entrusted by the parents to teach and to care for their children while in school? Those in “authority” should be punished, as well as the kids who were involved in this violent, bullying act.

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