All of you, at some time or the other, have had to face up to the class bully. It is a humiliating and scary experience. How does one get the better of a bully? Here's a play that explains how a class got together to stop bullying.

Who is a bully? You would maybe find it hard to define one. But you could easily tell what a bully is all about. In fact, your earliest experience of fear comes in the shape of a bully. A tormentor like figure, who brings about the shivers, who could make any child lose confidence, and such fear can show up in unseen effects that parents and teachers little understand. For example, a bullied child could become more withdrawn.

Besides teachers, parents and the school becoming aware of this, children too need to understand bullying. And as Sangeeta Nambiar, a Singapore based writer and playwright realised, this is a surer way of helping them cope with bullying. Her recent play staged to a packed audience in Singapore and called “A Few Good Kids” looks at bullying from the points of view of both the bully and victim.

Nambiar says bullying among children could manifest itself in various ways; about another child's skin colour, calling other kids fat or thin or and this becomes regular behaviour because the child thus “targeted” is too shy or reticent to defend herself.

The title of the play is of course derived from the very popular Tom Cruise — Jack Nicholson film, “A Few Good Men”. In Nambiar's play, we meet kids who are bullied for various reasons: they are shy, studious, dark, emotionally fragile and autistic, so in a way they are just “different”. When these kids feel they have had enough of being bullied, they get together and decide to take matters into their own hands. One of the ideas they have is to set up a court of sorts, where they invite the bullies and a standoff follows. The courtroom scene makes for an impressive picture, complete with lawyers, judge, and the other props. In course of their interrogation, the bullies realise that on many occasions, they have been victims too.

The play stars 13 very talented kids, among them is young Tara Tripathi Sarkar who says despite the seriousness of the topic, the play is light-hearted and fun, which makes it a must-see.

Nambiar spoke to a lot of psychologists and counsellors as she wrote this play. And there were several insights she gained. Bullying is born from the perception that someone is different and is also too weak to ‘defend' this difference. So a child could be more quiet and shy than her peers, and so intrinsically unable to counter more aggressive behaviour. But just because she and others like her don't have it in them to fight back does not make them weak. Even a bully, for her part, needs understanding.

As Nambiar says, children reflect the thoughts of their parents and so if a child is a bully; it is the parent who needs to introspect and change. The best way forward is acceptance and creating awareness that differences exist and are worthy of respect, whether such differences are of racial, cultural, physical or psychological nature.