Monday 26 April 2010

News Article: Alarm as kids say yes to compensated dating

Alarm as kids say yes to compensated dating

Kaylene Hong 

Monday, April 26, 2010

Hong Kong school students - including those in primary school - hold an alarming attitude of acceptance towards compensated dating, according to a survey.

Around 5 percent of Primary Five and Six students polled said they would find it acceptable for a friend to be paid for having a meal with someone, or having their pictures taken in exchange for money.

About 1 percent said it would be fine to have sexy or naked pictures taken and have intimate physical or sexual contact in exchange for payment.

The survey, conducted by the Evangelical Lutheran Church, polled 1,110 children in Primary Five to Secondary Three.

About 15 percent of Secondary One to Three students saw nothing wrong with a friend being paid for having a meal with someone, and about 12 percent thought it fine to get money in exchange for having their pictures taken.
Around 5 to 7 percent said they were willing to have sexy or naked pictures taken, as well as having intimate physical - and even sexual - contact.

"This is a very worrying trend. I had expected the number to be zero, but the figure is around 5 percent," center-in-charge Keswick Chuk Wing-hung said, referring to the percentage of primary schoolchildren who are willing to have a meal with someone for money.

Chuk said children at such a young age should be untainted.

"However, with all the information booming now, especially on the internet, there is a big gap between exposure to the real world and the education given," he said.

The group said sex education in primary school should be strengthened.

An 11-year-old boy surnamed Tsang studying in Primary Five said he had once searched for animal films on the internet but the results displayed "compensated dating" video clips as well.

"I was very nervous then and I deleted the website immediately," he said.

Too much or too little? It could be too much --

  1. too much porn: porn sites, porn movies and adult magazines are all accessible to anybody; 
  2. too much luxury: handbags, clothes, shoes, cosmetics and apartments are all so glittering; kids get what they want from parents easily;
  3. too much influence: peer pressure, media propaganda
  4. too much time: children have too much time after school and thus exposing more to the above.

Or it could be too little --

  1. too little time: parents too busy with work;
  2. too little care: parents expect kids can learn everything in schools, expect no further education needed at home;
  3. too little conversation: parents tired out after work and are unwilling to talk; see generation gap and reluctant to tackle it; no talk no family teaching;
  4. too little love: parents have more cash than love, thus think that materials can replace absence of love.
Or it could be both. Who is to blame? Maybe the society, maybe everybody, every family has different problems and thus no situation applies to all cases, but if this happens in your family, you should be the first one to blame. Why? Because you have made a very wrong assumption, and that assumption is "every kid will grow up to be a good person".

What is good? How do each family define good? Some people say, "good means good enough". How should we measure enough then? Able to pass 1 or 2 subjects in school? Able to play 2 musical instruments? What I can see is that kids are much more mature nowadays in terms of their exposure to the world than they were 10 or 20 years ago, but at the same time, have less guidance from their parents or senior members of the family across the decade or two. The internet boom has contributed immensely to this trend, as it has allowed information to pour into the virtual world, both good and bad ones. Human interactions have changed drastically since then. Snail mails to emails, phone chat to instant messaging. Hard to say whether interpersonal relationships are strengthened or weakened, but faster communication means have definitely pushed up expectations in the business world to work more efficiently to keep up with the speedy internet world. And so, the faster businesses run, the larger demand for man power, the less time there is for the family.

Unless you are extremely rich, most of my students in Hong Kong spend less time with their parents and kids as compared to they did 10, 20, 30 or 40 years ago. Still being told are the old tales about how they spent time with their next-door childhood friends watching a richer neighbour's black-and-white TV through their steel gate, or about how they looked out for one another by carrying buckets of water from a water truck and walking up 3 to 4 storeys during a water ration, but hardly any such neighbourhood interactions can be seen nowadays. During those days, kids lived closely with parents, parents watched every single step their kids made and punished their kids harshly if they sidetracked. Good or bad depends on which time frame you are viewing from, that is, if you were still in the 1960s mindset? Good! 2010s' mindset? Bad, very bad! We now allow much more freedom for kids and more freedom means they enjoy fewer watch-eyes, thus less guidance -- less education.

Human interactions not only crashed new low among neighbours, but also among relatives. Except those who grow up in families that keep a traditional book of their family trees, like the Lees and Tangs, and those who still have reunion dinners during Chinese festivals, how often do people still meet up their relatives? My mum called her sister-in-law (my aunt) one night and asked her if she had taken her children to sweep ancestors' graves. Aunt said no and was immediately blasted by my mum. Mum shouted through the phone that if she doesn't show her young ones the importance of the Chinese traditions, love will fade, even her children's love for her, because the children will see no love from my aunt for her father's bone ashes.

Mum was absolutely right! Traditions are kept for many reasons, but none of which is more immediate than for education. Sadly, such education of traditions and human relationships are fading, even some parents like my aunt are changing her thinkings. Even visiting temples in Hong Kong can be done through the internet, as fancy as you wish, whatever rituals you want to perform, just key in your credit card nobody, and at a click of a button ...Wa-la! Someone will do it for you later! But you can see the results on your computer monitor immediately. How pathetic? 

There is a lot of things teachers cannot teach, like sweeping graves, and even if they could, family teaching is ten times more effective. Monkey see, monkey do! Kids learn from watching what others do, what their parents do, just like monkeys. If parents do not care about it, why should they expect their children know? If you don't teach your kids what is "right", others will, the media will, the porn movies will. The news article title said people are "alarm(ed)", well, I'm not, given what I know so well where the problem begins at.

Still want to assume that "every kid will grow up to be a good person"?

compensation dating -- (n) [U] a date of which money is paid in exchange for time, company, sex, etc.
intimate -- (adj) having, or being likely to cause, a very close friendship or personal or sexual relationship
glittering -- (adj) exciting or admired by many people, usually relating to rich and famous people
propaganda -- (n)[U] mainly disapproving information, ideas, opinions or images, often only giving one part of an argument, which are broadcast, published or in some other way spread with the intention of influencing people's opinions

look out for sb / sth -- phrasal verb to try to notice someone or something
sidetrack -- (vb) [T usually passive] to direct a person's attention away from an activity or subject towards another one which is less important
watch-eyes -- (n) [C] metaphorical use  attention from people such as friends, neighbours or parents.
blast -- (vb) [T] informal to criticize someone or something severely