January 1, 2017 | Sunday 

Earlier today, we went to my aunt’s house to celebrate New Year. As per usual, we had potluck food, some cooked at home, some delivered, played games, and exchanged stories. Also as per usual, we had fun. But I’m not here to tell you about that. I’m here to vent out on my frustrations on why my cousin is being bullied in her current school.

You see, my cousin just transferred schools last year. She now studies at a prestigious all-girls university in the metro. Of course, generally having rich students, this university is known to produce alumnae that are above your typical, middle-class Filipino. Now my cousin belongs to a middle-class family. They’re not that well-off although their father spoils them with toys and gadgets when he can. Their mom is a very humble person who knows the ins and outs of domestic chores and whatnot. She’s also easygoing and very approachable (also very humourous). So you can already picture them having a simple but happy life.

As we were gathered around the dining table, each enjoying his meal, my mom asked my cousin how she was doing in her current school. To my dismay, she bore almost nothing but bad news. She said that she was consistent at being the top student in her class, but which her classmates are not very happy with. She told us how she was being bullied for being a top-notcher and an overall excellent student despite being a transferee. As much as she has those bullies pressuring her every day at school, she has this best friend whom she could rely on when her classmates’ comments weigh down on her harder than they should.

She even gets teased for bringing a typical baon to school such as a lunchbox of rice and viand because her classmates bring salads to school, packed by their own nannies. There was one time that her classmate got mad at her for telling on her when she cheated on my cousin’s paper during a test, complete with copying the essay. I mean, really? What are you going to do with your riches if you plan on succeeding by cheating? I’m a firm believer that cheating starts in the classroom. It’s habit-forming. So as much as you can, don’t do it. So anyway, my cousin, who never backs out from a fight as long as she knows she’s right, told their teacher who then called the classmate’s parents. So that’s how the classmate got pissed.

It baffles me that things like this do happen at a young age. I wonder where this attitude stems from. Were these kids raised by their parents to show their wealth to the world and undermine anyone else who is not equally rich? Were they taught that they can only hang out with the “cool kids” who bring the same lavish baon to school every day? I don’t want to generalize that rich kids are rude. You can be rich and humble. You can also be poor and boastful. So I’m just basing my thoughts on this squad of bullies my cousin was telling us about earlier.

I myself have been bullied before in grade school. On a different note, I was bullied for being fat. Yes, guys, fat-shaming can start at a really early stage and it can fuck up anyone’s self-esteem. Anyway, so my cousin told us that while she doesn’t really care about those brats classmates, she admitted to being uncomfortable with the whole bullying thing. I mean, who wouldn’t be, right? But I’m still proud of her for knowing her place. She knows well enough that she doesn’t have to compete with those bullies because she only goes to school to learn. Having friends is a bonus. Sometimes school can be tough for those who are academically challenged, what more if you have no friends? But on her part, she’s doing really great at school. It doesn’t seem like she’s struggling because she’s naturally smart and she’s way disciplined than most children her age, she and her brother alike.

I just really wanted to vent out on my blog about this thing I heard on a New Year. I’m proud that she’s doing great at school. She’s a tough girl so I know all this bullying won’t dent her. I’m also glad that she’s not turning into one of them. She knows she doesn’t have to change for her classmates to like her. She’s fine being a goofy, witty, and sweet kid.  She doesn’t have to have all the latest toys and shiniest shoes to be liked. She doesn’t have to eat a fucking salad to be acknowledged. What’s wrong with fried (insert food here) and rice, anyway?

Have you heard of stories of kids being bullied at this young age? Have you been bullied before? How was your experience and how did you overcome it?

Share your thoughts or stories below. I’d love to hear them.

Bae Milanes

Bae is a 20-something passion blogger from Manila. She likes hoarding hobbies and trying out new stuff, blogging about her mundane adventures, and tweeting about random realizations and musings.

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