UBC Undergraduate Research

To Shame or to Hide? : Print Media Reporting of Sexualised Hazing in Taiwanese and Singaporean Conscript Institutions, 1990s-2000s Chong, Shao Yuan

Abstract

During the 2010s, sexualised hazing was increasingly discussed in Taiwan and Singapore as investigations were launched regarding conscript deaths resulting from hazing. While this phenomenon was being reported in print media, it was often treated as a contemporary phenomenon with no historical basis. By analysing major English, Simplified, and Traditional Chinese newspapers from Singapore and Taiwan in the 1990s and 2000s, this thesis looks into how sexualised hazing was reported in the media; and when reported, whether the sexual nature of the activities were acknowledged or discussed in the context of conscript institutions. By conducting this analysis, this thesis contributes to existing literature by establishing the historical origins of sexualised hazing. My analysis reveals that in the 1990s, despite evidence of sexualised hazing in civilian society and conscript institutions, Taiwanese and Singaporean newspapers only focused on sexualised hazing taking place in civilian society and not in conscript institutions. However, by the 2000s, the Taiwanese media became more willing to report of such activities, framing them as a source of embarrassment for the military and as an important phenomenon within collective memory for Taiwanese men. In Singapore, while reports of hazing increased, they tended to focus on broader social issues, such as associated acts of illegality and bullying. Local factors such as national security concerns, the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997, the rise of the Internet era, and polarising attitudes towards the Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transsexual-Queer (LGBTQ) community in these countries also influenced divergence between the two societies.

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