Chat Time 42 Body art expresses individuality

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Chat Time 42 Body art expresses individuality

More and more teenagers are turning to different forms of body art, such as tattooing and nose piercing, to establish their personal identity and look different. One of the main reasons young people decide to modify their bodies is to look cool. Teenagers want to express their individuality and have a strong desire to stand out from the crowd. This gives them a sense of uniqueness that makes them different from everyone else.

19-year-old James Keen is a typical example. He is one of the first in Hong Kong to have had the tip of his tongue split into two. ‘When I first saw it in some teen magazines, I thought tongue-splitting was the most beautiful thing I’d seen in my life,’ says James. Most of his friends do not know that he has had his tongue split unless he shows it to them. When asked how he felt about the splitting process, James said it did cause some pain for about a week, especially when he ate, but he believed it was worthwhile. ‘Piercing of the ears, nose and lips is just too common. I wanted something different.’


  1. Why do some teenagers like body art such as tattooing and body piercing?

Some teenagers think that body art looks cool. They can derive a certain satisfaction if they have something different to others. Body art can also express their personal, artistic or meaningful messages.

  1. What are the medical dangers of body art?

It is painful and often risky to undergo a body art procedure. Worse of all, it may cause serious infectious diseases to the body.

  1. How does Hong Kong society view people with tattoos and their bodies pierced?

Unfortunately, Hong Kong society still views tattoos as something odd and unacceptable. People with tattoos or body piercing may get negative reactions in many social situations. Some people also associate tattoos with gangs and prison inmates.
Individual Response

  1. Have you ever thought about having a tattoo or body-piercing?

Absolutely not! I don’t want to suffer the pain and run the risk of infections. Also, people will look down on me and think less of me. It will adversely affect my career prospects.

  1. What do you think are the long term problems of having a tattoo?

The sad truth is that most people choose tattoos in a hurry. Later they regret having a tattoo. Removing tattoos is expensive, extremely painful and can damage skin tissue.

  1. Do teenagers go too far with body modifications these days?

Tattoos have become a trend these days so many teenagers want one. But some are no longer satisfied with a simple tattoo or ear-piercing and take things to the extreme to make permanent changes to their bodies.

  1. What other ways do young people try to ‘stand out’ from the crowd?

In order to stand out from the crowd, some young people try to have a unique style. They dress stylishly in a way that will draw people’s attention. They also keep their hair in fantastic shape.

  1. What advice would you give to a friend who wanted a tattoo or some kind of body-piercing?

I would advise my friend to fully understand the risks involved in a tattoo procedure. I would also tell him to make sure that he won't regret having a tattoo because it is a permanent procedure.

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