rage against bullying

BEING a victim of bullying can be one of the loneliest, most debilitating experiences. But the truth is, it doesn’t have to be that way.

Over 80% of Malaysian teenagers have been bullied before, and while many are unfortunately scarred for life because of those experiences, there are also those who managed to find hope and go on to achieve big things.

Over the next three months, we’ll be featuring these people – celebrities, artistes, TV hosts, radio deejays, models and many more – so you can be inspired to not only stay strong, but to also make your own personal stand against bullying.

These stories will be published on, along with other resources for bullying victims as well as a special bullying ‘heat map’ designed to show where bullying is at its worst in Malaysia.

Daphne Iking
TV host/actress

What was your first experience with bullying?
When I first got back from England, I had a heavy cockney accent and I couldn’t speak a word of Malay.

It was a difficult time for me. I didn’t just have braces. I had the head gear as well! The people in the kampung used to say “you think you’re so fancy, but you look like a horse!”

It only stopped after Form Two, because I found my own group of friends. We were the geeks and nerds, the studious type; and I found empowerment in achievements, (joining) clubs and societies.
I still keep in touch with those friends. We’re all in different countries now, but we have a Whatsapp group – and the name of the group is “The Nerds”!

Was the bullying just in school?
In high school, it was a lot of name-calling. But god bless Sabahans – no one ever picks on you because of your skin colour. In Semenanjung however, when I went to university, I saw bullying again.

I sold cigarettes for a living and did some cabaret dancing to fund my studies; and I got sidelined because of it. The other students would purposely lock me out of the dorm. They made up stuff about me, like nasty rumours; but I usually laughed it off. My mother always said god knows the truth.

Eventually they got to know me better. They asked why I went out so late, why I dressed the way I did; and then things got better.

What would your advice be for people who are being bullied?
If you’re a kid, tell your parents. It has to be a two-way thing. You can’t always assume your parents will know what is going on.

But some parents also think it’s just ragging, and it’s to toughen them up. If your parents aren’t supportive, tell someone else – counsellors, teachers or friends.

And don’t fight back. I’d use to just ask those bullying me: “Why are you doing this? Are you satisfied?” The answer would usually be no.

Do you still experience bullying now?
Haters are part and parcel of (my) job. I was recently on a reality show, and someone said I was a “selebriti pencen” (on social media)! My husband said: “Why layan? Just delete and block”.

What do you think people should do to put an end to bullying?
Schools have to step in. There’s just no more love among kids, no more true, compassionate love. And they think it’s something for the parents to sort out; but everyone should come together to stop bullying.

It’s just not right. It’s not part and parcel of growing up. The abuse can affect the person’s psyche growing up. I have a friend who was bullied, and it affects him still.

Lil Kev
Radio deejay

What do you think about bullying in Malaysia?
Bullying happens everywhere. You see it every day, from the highest level to the lowest.
For me, it’s someone who thinks they can control you. It could be verbal, physical or it could just be people making life hard for you.

Do you have any personal experience with bullying?
My son, who’s five years old, was bullied. He said someone was hitting him on a daily basis. Being Malaysian, the first thing I asked was “what did you do?” But he said no, it was for no reason at all.
My wife dealt with it really well. It’s tricky, because if you tell the teacher, you’re a tattle tale. So I told my son to ask the bully why. And the bully couldn’t answer! The next day, he told my son he didn’t want to be friends anymore, and being a kid, that hurt my son even more! I had to explain to him that it was okay. If you stand your ground, he will eventually come around.

He’s had to deal with racism as well. Friends said they didn’t want to be friends with him because he was brown-skinned, so he started saying he was Chinese! It was also because my wife is Chinese, but that’s a lot for a five-year-old to handle. Now he’s learning that people will always be different.

What do you think is the root cause of all this?
The problem is not in schools – it’s at home! If our children can share their pain with the world (on social media), and not with their parents, that’s a real alarm bell!

What advice do you have for all the victims of bullying out there?

I won’t tell kids that the world is bad – it’s just a few people. Believe in yourself. Do what you like and don’t afraid to express yourself and be different.

Radio deejay

What’s your personal experience with bullying?
Bullying happens all the time, but the most obvious one for me was in school. In Standard One, I was bullied because of my race – I was made fun of because my friends were all from a different race.
I started wanting to not go to school. I told my mother what was happening, and she actually went to my school! I thought my life was over. But I found out later my mother took the main bully aside and thanked him for protecting me. After that, we became friends!

People focus a lot on the victims. But what do you have to say to the bullies?
Bullies are cowards. They never go solo. They’re always in a group because they need assurance. It’s intimidation.

How is bullying today different from what you went through in school?
Bullying now is just ridiculous. The videos you see now on YouTube are crazy! And I’m not so much worried about the beatings on these videos, but the others watching it who are laughing, who’re actually filming the incident and posting it online… Now that is really wrong. Bullies back in the day tell you not to tattle on them. Now they publish it for everyone to see!

You mentioned that bullying happens all the time. Do you still see it happening around you?
Sometimes it’s small things like inappropriate questions at work, or people making you feel awkward on purpose. Asking you to make coffee. If someone asked nicely, I’d be happy to do it as a friend. But using it to put someone down? That’s bullying. I’ve seen it happen to colleagues. The sad thing is the bullies will always have people around laughing along. What I do is just show that I think it’s not funny.

You can help bullying victims know they are not alone by sharing your own personal experience on social media. Log on to or tweet your story using the #RAGEAgainstBullying hashtag.


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