It was my first night in Hong Kong since returning. I decided to go to a bar with an old friend to just experience the music scene. At the time I had no clue what it was like. Standing outside, a girl came up to me and just decided we were friends. She was funny and charming, she bought me drinks danced with me, filmed me jamming. I thought, wow, Hong Kong is super friendly! Ah, not so…as it turns out there truly is no such thing as a free lunch.

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As the night went on she said, “Hey, will you go buy my weed for me?” There it was. Of course, I declined. I have nothing against weed or stoners, but it is I choose not to participate in. And I certainly was not going to buy drugs for someone I had just met in Wan Chai on my first night back in Hong Kong. As soon as I said no, she moved onto a new victim.

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I asked the friend with me why on earth a stranger would ask me to go buy drugs for her? He informed me that, “Well it’s one of two things; she either thinks as a foreigner you are less likely to be caught or she thinks as a foreigner you would be dumb enough to buy drugs in public.”

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Growing up in Hong Kong there were always drugs around the clubbing scene. As I said, I did not participate and partake, but you saw it. In school, you would hear the boys talk about how messed up they got on the weekend. But, that’s all it was- teens being teens.

Things certainly seem to have changed. A young friend of mine told me that she is actually quite concerned about not one, but two kids at her school who are fully addicted to weed. These kids claim they cannot step outside the house or interact with people unless they are high. What is that about? These kids are 16 at most. Some even 14!!! Yet they have suddenly developed a dependence on drugs??? In supposedly conservative Hong Kong?

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The worst part is that they justify this with reasons as to how weed helps them and opens their mind. Or helps them with their issues. You are 14! Your biggest issues right now are pimples! I don’t think weed is going to cure that!

I’m all for people doing whatever they want to do, but to hear about young teens being addicted to a substance of any sort is sad. They claim to gain “Street Cred” if there is a picture on Instagram of them smoking a joint. A kid can gain popularity status overnight just because they were photographed being high. Is this what we have come to value? Also, aren’t kids all about what’s new? Weed and getting high is exceptionally old. It’s been around for decades! Why is it still considered the “cool thing” to do?

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No wonder we live in a messed up world. It seems that kids are all taught to be concerned with looking cool.

However, can you really blame kids for doing drugs? For some reason, as a teen, you just feel like you cannot talk to your parents. Puberty kicks in and you think, oh wait, I can’t tell them everything anymore. Kids then get bullied, be it verbally or physically. Teachers say, “I’m sorry but If I didn’t see him hit you I can’t do anything.” Or “Well maybe you shouldn’t express your opinion if you don’t want to get hit!” WHAT!!! So teens are being told to sit down, shut up and look cool???Basically be robots and clones and with no outlet to vent their frustrations? No wonder they think they need drugs.

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The Netflix series ‘Thirteen Reasons Why’ came out to mixed reviews. Some schools even sent letters warning parents not to let their children watch the show. Spoiler alert: yes there is a suicide scene and yes it is very graphic and yes it does scar you slightly. That is why I think the series is brilliant. Too many times being depressed, cutting yourself off and feeling alone is glamorized. They take a picture of a very pretty, skinny girl with perfect makeup and lighting. She is sitting in the bathtub slitting her wrists yet it looks like an fashion spread for Vogue. Girls go “Oooh, I wanna look like that too!” What happens?A screwed up generation.

‘Thirteen Reasons Why’ has a slightly chubby and not extremely attractive girl cut her self in a bathtub and you watch her die. IT’S HORRIFYING! Which is why kids and parents should watch this series. To realize, no, it’s not cool, it’s not pretty, it’s heartbreaking, and it’s happening! That is the extreme though. Some kids have sex at 14 or younger and some decide they need drugs to survive. The concept of having a childhood doesn’t exist anymore.

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Honestly, I don’t agree with school. I don’t think everybody should be forced to go to school if it doesn’t suit their way of learning. School did not suit me at all! It was the worst time of my life for many reasons. We are told we live in a free world, but we don’t and won’t unless we collectively decide to change.

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Kids should be taught that there is so much more important stuff out there than just their little cliquey problems. They should have lessons on being a good person, on accepting yourself as you are instead of learning Algebra and Physics…that can be studied later. Maybe. Sadly, damage done in school takes a long time to fix.

I hope more series like ‘Thirteen Reasons Why’ will be produced and which expose the ugly truth of glamourized issues! It might be the only way to get through to kids today.

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