Here in Thailand the ever popular hazing an often ritualistic test and a task, which may constitute harassment, abuse or humiliation with requirements to perform random, often meaningless tasks, sometimes as a way of initiation into a social group is getting out of hand at certain education institutions.
So this means new university students who attend orientation week are put through such tasks. Some vary from mundane tasks, humiliating acts to violent and dangerous rituals. Here some new female students had to perform simulated oral sex on male students, here in Thailand society looks down on this behaviour very badly, it is not tolerated especially being broadcast across media, if behind close doors and people don’t see or hear about it, all is fine.
In Thailand Technology schools, schools that teach trade skills usually get bad raps and for good cause, as they are the ones that commit the most serious and dangerous initiation rites. Technology school are full of kids from the wrong side of the tracks, kids who didn’t make it through school, dropped out or got terrible grades and couldn’t get into a university. I am not trying to pigeon hole these kids but they are often in the media here for all the wrong reasons.
A case in the paper 2 weeks ago you can read here, a new student had his back spray painted or branded in paint with “Industrial Engineering” stenciled on his back(picture above). This was harmless enough until three senior students set it alight, it burnt his back as you can see in the picture. Also students were forced to “dip” their genitals into chilli paste and also had their “pubic hair” burnt.
The three students are facing a 1 or 2 semester suspension, which is way too lenient. The university will pay the hospital costs of the student who suffered the burns. The family of the student is going to take the case further; I hope they sue the students and university for millions of Baht.
Here is another case: a student burnt and scarred, also this article is about Higher Education Commission (HEC) had sent letters to public and private universities nationwide warning them to strictly oversee initiation rituals.
They shouldn’t be overseeing anything, hazing should be completely banned. In western cultures hazing is also practiced, in the USA some students are branded and there have also been recorded deaths from initiations, many universities have strict rules and severe punishments for those caught performing hazing rites.
When I attended university we had orientation week which turned out to be a week long party of drinking and some silly activities, all pretty harmless. If hazing rituals could be guaranteed to be something that was harmless and practiced relatively safely, then no complaints.
The problem is that this isn’t the case for many, the rituals go too far and cause maiming, severe injuries and even mental scarring. There was a student who committed suicide in Thailand in 1995 after being humiliated in a hazing incident, another boy died after being forced to drink an excessive amount of water and the list goes on.
If the Ministry of Education set severe punishments for students and also the education institutions where these hazing rituals take place, they may be stamped out. If an institution is looking at millions of Baht in fines and the MOE revoking their education licence, they might stamp out the hazing rites completely.
Students who commit hazing rites that maim or humiliate someone should face a mandatory jail sentence, and a large fine. With such discouragements senior students may think twice about burning, humiliating or raping new students at their universities.