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The Diary
Anne Ku

21 October 2000 Saturday


An article on "bullying" said that the amount of bullying in the work place is under-reported. I remember in my first job, my boss was so sarcastic that I often had to run to the bathroom to cry. I recall asking him to buy a wide-carriage printer for the large spreadsheets I was building. He proposed that we connect a typewriter to my laptop. This wasn't bullying. However, by letting him "win", I allowed myself to become his scapegoat. He had the knack of embarrassing me in front of my colleagues. I just swallowed my pride, for Chinese people were taught to "endure" or "take it in." The character for "endure" was composed of a knife above a heart.

Some managers are not aware that certain behaviour are considered bullying: excessive monitoring of work, giving tasks with unreasonable deadlines, and having views and opinions ignored.

Extending this to the classroom and home, bullying changes the power base of the bully (aggressor) and the bullied (victim). If the bullied doesn't protest, the bully gains more and more power, and justifies his/her behaviour. "I can't help it." I suppose this is how violence in the home starts. The victim's silence is his/her acceptance. By not retaliating, the victim gives the aggressor legitimacy and more strength. In this case, "endurance" is nothing to be proud of.

From my father 21st Oct:
I read of your being bullied when you started your career. I had lots of such personal feelings when I was an apprentice in Shanghai, Chungking and Nanking working in bookstores, papermill, dental clinic and even an ironwork plant when I was only 13, 14, 15 up to 18! Only after I earned a college diploma and completed my military service could I work with full self-respect because I was a teacher and the Chinese tradition included respecting the teachers and the aged. You must have read some reports on the negative side of the English society. Yes, more than a half of the world's population are still in dire poverty. They starve and die in early graves. Donations to the tremor victims in Taiwan are often stolen by officials who are corrupt. Some of them are now being tried.