Hazing first to become brothers? PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 04 October 2015 15:26

Table Talk

BY Mike S Apostol

How did hazing become an important ritual in a fraternity? Does it need to inflict pain and more so a potential bodily injury before one becomes a brother in a group? Hazing is done in almost all brotherhood in the country and even in the military and police organizations. To inflict pain on someone before embracing him and accepting as a brother is a barbaric ritual. In ancient times, like a certain tribe of American Indians, they used all sorts of pain and torture before  accepting individuals to be members of a tribe or if someone from a different Indian tribe marries one of their maidens. This “test of fire” is not for brotherhood. It is a ritual called for in their ancient customs and tradition. They have to undergo a “test of fire” not to become one of their warrior. It was simply part of their customs and traditions. But as the years passed by those barbaric rituals underwent changes. Instead of being tortured, they were asked to work for the tribe or the family for a number of months in their farms without wages. Only food is being given. In marriages, there were no more “test of fire” but instead dowry was demanded in the form of jewelries or farm or farm animals. In modern times, it is a surprise why hazing to inflict pain on someone who wanted to join a fraternity is still a ritual. Sometimes, a neophyte is ordered  to do some odd jobs aside from the hazing ritual. Modern fraternities adopt both rituals, hazing and physical missions before you are accepted and embraced as a brother.

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In ancient Sparta, the old world’s best warriors during their time because Spartan males are trained at an early age and they are given a “test of fire” by sending their young boys to the mountains alone to fend for themselves and face and fight wild animals with their bare hands or any crude weapon they find to defend themselves. It will take many months or years for them to return home and wehn they did  they are already young men, hardened by sacrifice, endured all kinds of weather condition, learned to fight wild animals and survived the harsh condition of the wild. They go home as a Spartan warrior. A Spartan’s “test of fire” is not for brotherhood but for their Spartan nation. There was no hazing ritual from their fellow Spartans to become a Spartan warrior but they fight like brothers against their enemies, protecting each other with their lives. There must be some other forms and not to inflict pain to become brothers. Bonding is sweeter if pain was not used to draw loyalty to a group because there will be no hidden hatred or anger. This hidden anger will flare up in another hazing ritual for a neophyte who will be a  potential victim of circumstances.

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Also modern time hazing by fraternities happens in a place conducive to inflict pain. Like bringing a neophyte in a secluded area, a hotel room or a resort, or a private area. Hazing  is done secretly and it happened many times. When injury inflicted on a neophyte is serious, help and rescue are almost impossible or too late for a rescue and response. The most dangerous thing in a fraternity hazing is when all fraternity members join in a hazing ritual fora few neophytes. Sometimes a single neophyte is manhandled by 10 or 20 fraternity members. You could just imagine one single neophyte being “paddled” by 10 or more frat members, voluntarily giving yourself up without resistance. These are fraternity rituals that should be changed to moderation for a better loving brotherhood. In my college days in Manila in the early 70s, I joined a fraternity (which I will not name for “omerta”) and most of my frat brothers are now retired but were highly placed in government, the PNP and AFP.  After the hazing ritual, I was sitting in pain for almost a month, because of the paddling in my buttocks and legs but nobody from my fellow neophytes died or hospitalized. There was a strict regulation from the frats higher up that senior fraternity members who join the hazing are prohibited to take intoxicating liquor or they be expelled from the fraternity. There are decent fraternities. I hope our local fraternities in our universities will adopt regulations and prohibit mortality in hazing rituals.

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Table Talk was informed that some frat members are allegedly drunk or high on drugs during hazing rituals. This is the most dangerous part in a hazing when senior frat members do the ritual not in their normal sense but dictated by alcohol or something more potent. This will make the senior frat member doing the hazing ritual behaving out of control of his emotion. The poor neophyte is subjected to all forms of physical harm without any resistance. A fraternity is a brotherhood, it should not inflict harm and injury on a coming brother. Hazing must have some restrictions and regulations from the fraternity officers and prohibit a senior frat members from acting barbaric. Brotherhood is part of schooling, It must be treasured and not convert the brotherhood into a “den of wolves”.

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Scoop: Joining a fraternity is to enjoy your college days, Your frat brothers are your “brothers keepers”. But the fraternity you will be joining must be “humane” and “civilized”. It should be a fraternity to guide members for their greater good  and not to destroy a future. Fraternity is supposedly to love, protect and care for one another but not to find enemies. Agree or disagree.