Singapore schoolboy's hand gesture at NDP 2017 goes viral for all the wrong reasons!

A Singapore schoolboy has just made news for all the wrong reasons - all thanks to his hand gesture at NDP 2017...

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It is being touted as one of the 'highlights' of NDP 2017, which is rather sad and unfortunate. A Singapore schoolboy has just made news for all the wrong reasons!

Schoolboy's hand gesture at NDP 2017 

Looks like this year's National Day Parade (NDP) won't be forgotten anytime soon.

Towards the end of NDP 2017, performers had gathered for the finale, and the camera was focussing on a group of students. One little school boy decided to make his presence felt - by flaunting his middle finger.

This being Singapore, and the NDP at that, photos and videos of the 'rude' hand gesture quickly made its way through social media. The 'sensational' news wasn't spared by international media either.

Public reactions ranged from outrage to sarcasm to a whole lot of noise.

It has emerged now, that the boy is a pupil from Henry Park Primary School, and that, he now regrets his action.

Henry Park Primary principal Chia Soo Keng has been quoted by The Straits Times as saying, "The student regrets his action and is deeply apologetic. The school and his parents have counselled him, and will ensure he learns from this incident."

Around 400 pupils from Henry Park Primary had participated in the NDP. They had hand-signed to a National Day song, "We Will Get There", performed by Singapore's largest disability-inclusive orchestra The Purple Symphony in the fifth act.

Teaching children about appropriate behaviour in public

Now, it also turns out that, this boy was not the only one who had flashed his middle finger. Closer inspection and more videos later, another boy was also found making a similarly inappropriate gesture at NDP 2017. 

The first question that came to our minds was, "Isn't is possible that the kids had no idea what showing the middle finger 'actually' meant?" (Or re-phrased to, "Is the filth actually in OUR minds?")

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What if those kids were just trying to be 'cool' and 'funny' in front of their peers? How can we blame them for wanting to flaunt their middle finger, when this is the 'cool' that music videos and television shows endorse these days?

We saw a comment on Facebook that mirrored our thoughts, "It's just a middle finger. When I was in primary school, I also don't know the meaning of it. I picked it up by watching Mr Bean the movie."

Are we getting too harsh as a society? Kids make mistakes, and they learn. Forget and forgive, lah! We hope all this unwanted attention hasn't stressed out the child already. 

Our thoughts also go out to his parents who have been subject to so much of scrutiny and shaming. 

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How can we teach our kids to behave appropriately in public? We think these tips might help:

  • Walk the talk: A child's mind is like a sponge which absorbs everything he hears and sees in the world, whether its from parents, friends or television. Which is why we should be mindful of what we say and do in front of the kids. 

Parenting, education and psychology expert Natasha R.W. Eldridge, M.A., has been quoted as saying, "Children typically model the behaviour of the people they adore most. Both our verbal and nonverbal expressions make lasting impressions amongst children."

"Parents can prevent children from cursing by not cursing in front of their children. A household free of profanity teaches the child that bad language is not in alignment with the values of the entire household."

  • Explain: Explain what the offensive gesture or word means. Not in its entirety of course, but maybe something like: "Giving someone the middle finger is like telling them, in the meanest way possible, that you dislike them."

"It is rude, and shows that you are disrespectful of others and their feelings."

  • Foster good manners at home: Consistency is important, so make sure you stop your child from swearing, flipping the bird and doing other inappropriate behaviour at home, so that behaving properly in a public place comes more easily to him.

Also make sure that your child is watching age-appropriate content on the television and the Internet.

  • Set boundaries: If your child insists on continuing the behaviour, even after explanation and advice, set and stick with your boundaries. Don't over-react, as it will encourage more shocking behaviour in future.

Dr. Fran Walfish, Beverly Hills child and family psychotherapist and author of The Self-Aware Parent recommends being calm and empathetic, and saying, ""I guess if you still want to play the cursing game, you can do it alone in your bedroom." Be sure you follow through. Clearly, without anger, put your arm around your child's shoulder, walk him to his bedroom, and say, "When you're finished using that word/finger, you can come out with us where we want you to be.""

Another solution is enforcing 'gentle punishment'. Perhaps, every such inappropriate behaviour could mean an extra chore, or less television and computer time, or going to bed earlier.

Also READ: Why are kids so rude and tips for good behaviour

(Source: The Straits Times)