HCMC Dining Guide

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Is this normal?

Something that is becoming increasingly apparent to me is that many of the boys in my teenage classes are quite twisted; I would even say a few are sadistic. I'm unsure whether this is normal for 14-year old boys around the world, or if they are more violent here for some unknown reason. To be sure, I killed tens of thousands of people on video games during my teens through all sorts of methods - machine guns, bombs, bows and arrows, flamethrowers, etc. However, I don't think I, or any of my friends, ever said anything similar to what I've been hearing in class recently.

For example, last week in several of my classes I passed out a worksheet listing a number of "What you would do if..." questions. One was "What would you do if you could be invisible for a day?" While they were working on answers, one boy asked what word means 'to kill someone and no one knows it'. Through further explanation I realized he meant assassinate, so I told him that. He then said, "Ah! I would assassinate Obama!" Several others said the same thing

One boy in particular is very demented, something that is all the more noticeable since his English is pretty good. When I asked "What would you do if you could go anywhere?", he replied with "I would go to an army base, take all of the weapons, go to heaven, kill God, and become God." Um? He also said that, if he could fly, he would fly to China and 'kill it'. Whenever we play hangman, he guesses what he knows are wrong letters once he's figured out the word while laughing and chanting "Die human! Kill the human!" He regularly talks about violence and hell, and on the whole comes off as a very disturbed individual.

These boys are also very physically violent. They regularly kick, punch, and choke each other, and some of the them have no reservations over hitting the girls in class. They laugh when people hurt themselves or make mistakes, and some of them are just flat-out vile people. One time, I came back to class from break, and one of the younger girls was crying and looking absolutely miserable. I don't know what happened, but she couldn't even talk, so the girl next to her said she wanted to go home. I said she could, and as she got up she dropped her glasses and pens. Two boys started cackling and I glared at them, asking what the hell they were laughing about.

The drawings and doodles they create in class are also usually full of death and destruction: tanks and fighter jets; people being shot and dismembered; blood being spilled, etc. etc.

I haven't really dealt with American teens in a while, so maybe this is all just normal nowadays, but I feel like these boys are especially wicked. I've noticed that many male members of Vietnam's nouveau riche (and many of the students at my language center are children of this class) behave with a sense of entitlement and swagger that is just disgusting. In their eyes they can do no wrong; no form of punishment is meant for them; and they can never be told no, no matter the request. Illustrative of this attitude is this story about a Porsche owner in Hanoi who embarrassed the police officers who stopped his car, and was then backed up by friends who showed up in other luxury cars: http://www.tuoitrenews.vn/cmlink/tuoitrenews/society/man-on-porsche-ignores-cops-humiliates-reporter-1.54281.

I hope I'm wrong about this, but I have a feeling these violent boys in my classes are going to turn into violent, socially inept adults, much like the current members of the nouveau riche - roaring around town at dangerous speeds on their motorbikes; flashing their money through displays of wealth that make them look ridiculous; and completely dominating their girlfriends.

This behavior is dramatically different from how the girls in my classes act - usually they just ask if I have a girlfriend while drawing rainbows and bunnies. This disparity is striking, and upsetting. I'm sure I'll hear and see plenty of more violent thoughts and actions in the coming weeks, and we'll see how these boys turn out in another five years...

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