LEADING a group of students who call themselves the 21 Apacheam, Rajendran says his gang fights to uphold their own dignity and popularity among girls.
“It's our way of proving our strength and that we are not afraid of anything.
“Most of the time, I give in to my anger and especially when girls are watching, I want to prove to them that I'm the tough guy.”
His enemy is the 18 Bob Marley, led by Subramaniam, his childhood friend from Sungai Buloh. Stepping into Form One changed their lives, and their friendship.
“The groups existed long ago; we became friends with the members and later joined them. Unfortunately, we ended up in different groups, so now we can no longer be friends,” says Subramaniam, adding that the groups even have their own emblem and flag.
For the 15-year-olds, getting themselves caught and suspended is very common for the school bullies.
“I've been caught 10 out of 15 times and suspended twice since Form One,” says Rajendran.
Bullies use bricks, bottles, screwdrivers, sticks, knives, and even chairs from the classroom to hurt their victims. Others resort to money extortion.
“All it takes is for the person to tease me, or my way of walking, or my group, and I will teach him a lesson,” asserts Subramaniam.
Among the most sensitive teases are those involving their parents or calling each other “gay”.
Where do their bullying tactics come from?
Subramaniam says: “I learnt it from watching TV, especially my favourite World Wrestling Federation programme every Thursday.”
The school fights last for about 10 minutes and usually takes place in the canteen or at the bus stop.
The boys, who both enjoy playing football in the evenings, say they really want to change and be good students but are unable to control their emotions.
Do such “brave” lads fear anything at all?
“My father, because if I'm caught by the school authorities and they notify him, I will definitely get whacked at home, 10 times worse than the caning in school,” says Rajendran.
Subramaniam agrees: “I get kicked out of the house for about an hour, but if I cry loudly, my mother will take me in within five minutes.”
What do they think about girl bullies?
“They are really hard core gangsters using sticks and they make their victims bleed. Most of the bullies are Form Two students,” says Subramaniam.
* All names have been changed.