- Somewhere in Brazil, young lads would put their hand in a glove made of bullet ants and get stung repeatedly for 10 minutes.
- In Ethiopia, men are asked to jump over a herd of cows.
- The Kaningara Tribe of Papua New Guinea have patterns cut into their skin scarring them for life.
- And some women in Sumatra have their teeth chiselled!
Here, we have schoolies.
Yes, that is how I now look at schoolies, as some kind of Australian rite of passage.
I’ve written about this before, a couple of years ago in a post called It’s Schoolies Week in Australia. If you haven’t yet read that post and you don’t know what schoolies is, then perhaps you should have a quick read before coming back here.
All done? Good. Then I shall continue.
Now, I want you to imagine Schoolies Week taking place in the country where you live. Imagine 17-year-old and 18-year-old kids converging on one spot from something like 200 to 300, or maybe more, schools.
Imagine them now all staying in that one spot for a period of one week, possibly the first week they’ve ever spent away from home and their parents. Imagine them all getting hold of lots of alcohol and perhaps even some illegal drugs.
Now imagine them all going out, again to the same places, and partying hard and late into the night.
Would there be trouble?
I’m trying to imagine this happening in my old country, the United Kingdom. And I’m thinking, yes, there would be trouble.
Is there trouble here? Well, yes!
Here’s the news:
Most of the trouble though, is caused by toolies. Toolies are older people who have already left school who turn up and try to join in on the fun.
The most troublesome of all schoolies celebrations on the Gold Coast was 2009. One source says 217 were arrested that year, another says it was 267. This year, as at day five, arrests stand at 86 so far.
Let me put that into perspective. There are apparently around 35,000 teenagers celebrating Schoolies Week at the Gold Coast right now. 35,000!!!
That’s a lot of kids from a lot of school’s drinking a lot of drink.
Only 86 arrests?
I think that’s a miracle. And I’m still imagining what sort of trouble there would be if this kind of thing did take place back in the UK.
A lot, I imagine.
I’m not sure what I really think of this ritual. The big test for me will come in 10 years time when my daughter says “Daddy, can I go to Schoolies Week?”