Friday, May 11, 2007

Caned for Porning

My son said at dinner table the other day that these days he has been 'porning' a lot. Thank goodness, he wasn't talking about pornography, but what in local lingo we called "Pontang", meaning to play truant. Apparently, his involvement in school science projects and the rainy weather has resulted in his skipping a few kayaking training sessions.

And that reminded me of a rather traumatic experience when I was at the tender age of 6. The year was 1958. At that time, I attended Primary one at our village primary school called Chong Boon School. It was a Chinese school and they were not very particular about our ages. After one year, my father transfered to Primary One in
Anglo Chinese School in Barker Road.

Anyway, one morning, for reasons I cannot recall, I decided to 'porn'. Guess what my mother did. She dragged me to school and caned me with a papaya leaf stem in front of the whole class!!!

Now that's an experience you don't forget even after half a century.


aiyah nonya said...

Hi !
Poor you. Definetly an experince any kid will never forget.

Our Asian bringing up is so different from the West. In the West you can report your parent for child abuse. But over here it is no big thing when a parent displine her kid, especially in the old days.

I must admit I was a "tai kwei tou' among my younger sibllings. I got caned by my Father with a thin walking stick once and I always remember it. The stick is still hanging there at home. I went to school the next few days with big purplelish welts all over my legs. No teachers approached me to asked what happened.

That lesson, I learnt it the hard way. It also gave an example to my younger siblings not to 'play play' with my Father.

But if this had happen now the teacher will asked the kid. Maybe observed if he has anymore beatings, before reporting. In the USA the kid will had reported this to the police straight away.

"Spare the rod and spoilt the child".

Brian Mitchell said...

In the UK now corporal punishment as its called is certainly not allowed in schools but this was not the case back in the 1960s and maybe later so its a relatively recent development. And although I certainly don't support its use now there is a growing discipline problem in schools but that is more related to society's pressures I think and would certainly not be solved by beating kids!

As for porning well but the time my son started that he was far too big to catch and beat in any case!

Tom said...

Tom said...
I go along with Brian, I dont agree
that schools should have corporal
punishment.Because some teachers just loved to give you the belt, some of them were saistic.I remember getting Belted.What Aiyah nonya said, spare the rod I agree three cheers.

aiyah nonya said...

Hi again,

Coporal punishment is pratise in our schools here. Usually permission is obtained from the parents. The child is caned in front of the whole school by the principle.
Teachers are not allowed to cane or hit the students in any way.

Have a nice weekend.

Victor said...

Phew, for a moment there, I thought you were talking about pondang. (For our British friends, that Malay word means effeminate male.)

About caning in school, I wrote about it in a post about my secondary school. The following paragraph is an extract:

"I remembered a few of the staff, in particular the Discipline Master Mr Mok Khoon Yam. He could often be seen pacing the corridors of the building with a cane behind his back. Coupled with his stern look which was enhanced by his moustache, it was surely more than enough to make us behave ourselves. A few years ago, I saw his obituary in the newspapers. Somehow, he didn't look that stern in that photo.

stanley foo said...

When I was a teenager back in the 70s I remember I was hauled up for corporal punishment by my school teacher for not learning my time table.In those days teachers need not ask for permission to administer corporal puninishment. Every slight misdemeanour by the errant students would invariably attract physical punishment. The teachers'favourite form of discipline was the use of feather duster to cane the outstretched hand of the offender. The other type of punishment though not so painful was the "writing of lines"
like "I must not forget to bring my exercise book to school" It was not uncommon that the errant students were required to write 1000 lines to be passed up to the teacher the following day failing which further punishment would follow. I must confess that I had gone through such punishment

Lam Chun See said...

In principle, I am not against corporal punishment. But I don't have confidence in the schools' to be able to implement it fairly (including investigation) and sensitively; especially where it involves public shaming. Recently, my nephew was punished by a teacher to stand in front of the group for allegedly 'disturbing' another student during morning assembly. He was insistent that he was not the culprit, but was too meek to put up a proper defence and just accepted the punishment. But it troubled him greatly.

zen said...

My mum had a very bad temper and I do not know this incident until Chun See blogs it out. Similarly I had a very aweful experience myself, which I kept it to myself for many years. During my pr.six year, one day a few naughty students around me made some noises, and I without doing anything wrong, was pluck out by the form teacher to stand on the table, causing me deep embarassment, as I was already quite tall at that time, with my girl class-mates around me looking downwards on their tables. How could a teacher be so sure of the culprit when he was busily writing on the backboard? Furthermore I was well known for having good or very good conduct during the entire school career (including secondary school), as endorsed in the report card. The real culprits pretended that everything was as per normal because they escaped punishment, and the timid fool (me) remained quiet, implying that I was guilty. People nowadays know their rights and would not hesitate to take action against such wayward teachers if they are unfair to their children. The lesson is the core principle of human rights expounded by western countries has its virtues.

Victor said...

Hehe, even the tool of punishment is so "yesterday". Banana leaf stem as a cane? I wonder who but your mum would have thought of using such a green (both for its colour and its biodegradability) tool for degrading their children? As I've never been whipped this way before, would you mind sharing whether it felt more painful than being whacked by the traditional cane?

I am surprised that your mum had the time and energy to strip the banana leaf bare and then drag you to school to humiliate you like that. If she did that today, not only would she be accused of abusing a child, she could also be charged for trespassing into the school premises and disrupting a teacher from performing her duties.

Isn't it amazing how people will open up and share their darkest secrets which they otherwise would never have revealed?

Lam Chun See said...

Victor. You need to eat more carrots. It's papaya, not bananas. We had a couple conveniently growing in front of our house = next to the main road (in case Zen cannot recall). I assure you it's quite easy to strip the leaves from the stem when the leaf is dry; and when you are mad.

Lam Chun See said...

Other punishments of the 60's:

Taping the mouth with scotch tape, holding the ears cross-armed - LH on right and RH on left ear, standing in the corner with dunce (conical) hat.

In ACS, those who were habitually late had to walk around the school with a big piece of paper stuck to his back with the words; "The late so-and-so".

zen said...

After suffering in silence in my childhood, I made double sure that my daughters had initiative and the courage to speak out when injustice was done to them. My elder daughter confided that her teacher was nonchalant when she told her that she had hearing problem in her left ear. The teacher persisted that she continue playing the big drum in the school band. Knowing that the drum noise would impair her hearing, I made appointment to meet the teacher. I did not confront her directly that would make her more defensive. I just spoke to her politely: Miss X, I know it is difficult for you to change a band member on short notice, but if my daughter continues to play this drum, it would definitely affect her hearing, against the doctor's advice. If such consequence happens, you would be directly responsible. Think about it". After a week, my daughter reported to me that her teacher let her off the band to do other EC activities.

fr said...

You know, when school discipline problems get public, parents and outsiders usually will mention education and counselling. If you ask the teachers involved or those who have to face hardcore cases everyday, I think few will mention these two words.

Some pupils do need counselling but it doesn't work in every case and for every pupil. Pupils know that their misdeeds like bullying and extortion cause harm and distress to others. So I feel should include punishment too, including corporal punishment.

zen said...

As I mentioned before, my siblings and I all went through a primary school called BRS (Braddell Rise Pr.School. In the fifties, Singapore was in the era of wild wild west, prenty of gangsters roaming about, that included students, many of them over-aged, trying to throw the weights around, or quoted their connection to notorious gangs operating around the district. Luckily came an equally tough sheriff in the form of a headmaster named Mr FC. Why were the boys so scared of FC? because this toughie was not an ordinary guy. He was aa ex-officer in British Army fighting the JAPANESE in the WWII. He once confronted a group of students with hoodlum backing and barked: "So you fellas have big brothers in Kampong San Teng! (presently Bishan) Can you arrange for me to meet your top bosses?" Everyone present were as silence as a mouse and no one dared to take up his challenge.
The school was totally 'sook ching', a term used by the Japanese in WWII, meaning that the area hiding criminals were cleared off totally. A case in point, when summoned by the principal, the teachers would practically run to his office, faces as pale as ashes. This was how FC ran the school - military style. Discipline was definitely not a problem. There were few school inspectors visiting the school, why? because FC acted as school inspector himself and the education ministry obviously must have known his awesome reputation.

Anonymous said...

In the olden days as a kid, we dare not complaint to our parent our teacher punished /scolded us. Despite sometime it may look abuse in Today. (Teacher will summon the kids including girls, he left up the ruler. you must squad down. Likewise for the opposite. Failed to obey/follow the ruler movement. Result a karate chop on teh finder with the edge of the ruler.) You know how pain for a kid hands.

The first respond will be a canning session from them.

5Loaves2Fish said...

Hi Uncle Lam (Can I call you that?) Well, I was reading your blog till I came across your mentioning Chong Boon School! Hey, I attended this school!! Only diff is that I started from Pri 2 with this school @ the year 1980!
So that makes you my Senior! Glad to come across your "Good Morning Yesterday" whereby past is always sweet & future are always uncertain....
Fm yr "Junior" Chia Teong Liang