Corpun file 25433 at www.corpun.com
All the R-AGE (The Star Online), 25 February 2014
Young Malaysians share their thoughts on corporal punishment
and the effect it could possibly have on children.
A PINCH here and a smack there -- yes, that is how most of our
parents deal with us when we misbehave. So imagine the nation's
surprise when a Malaysian couple was arrested in Sweden late last
year for doing exactly what most parents (and children) think is
the norm -- to use corporal punishment as way of disciplining
The couple is currently on trial in Stockholm for gross
violation of a child's integrity, by hitting and abusing their
children and under the Section 4A, Chapter 4 (on crimes against
liberty and peace) of the Swedish Penal Code, could face between
six months and six years in prison for each charge.
Go to prison for "disciplining" a child? But isn't
corporal punishment an accepted way to discipline children?
According to the Department of Social Welfare Malaysia,
corporal punishment is a method of disciplining children in which
a supervising adult deliberately inflicts pain upon a child in
response to a child's unacceptable behaviour and/or inappropriate
The immediate aims of such punishment are usually to halt the
offence, prevent its recurrence and set an example for others.
The ultimate long-term goal is to change the child's behaviour
and to make it more consistent with the adult's expectations.
Although corporal punishment is lawful in Malaysia in three
areas -- home, schools and the penal system -- abuse is not
tolerated in Malaysian law.
Here we have young people sharing their thoughts on corporal
punishment, whether they believe it is an effective method and if
they were subjected to it when they were younger.
Amanda Tan, 17, student, SMK Convent Bukit Nanas
"My parents spared the rod. But as a punishment, I
got grounded at the age of 16. I think that it's too harsh and
the physical punishment will just instil temporary fear until the
pain has gone."
Sharon Ng, 20, student,
"At first it was a bit embarrassing because among
my siblings, I got the most caning. That was because I was the
little black sheep in the family -- fooling around in school,
fighting with my sisters and getting into all sorts of trouble.
But as I grew older, I realised the difference it made to me. If
my mum didn't correct me, I would be making the same mistakes
again. I agree to an extent on physical punishments, but there
are limitations, just like there are limitations to everything
else one does in the world."
Theresa Benedict, 20,
student, University Sains Malaysia
"I guess you could say I did become a better person, but
physical punishment wasn't a big part of making me who I am
today. However, it gave me a sense of discipline and taught me in
my younger days on how to have manners and etiquette, which is
something the world is losing out on. There is a limit (to
physical punishments) as to how far it can go, and parents should
keep in mind that their child is most likely to follow their
actions and ways."
Denyse Chan, 19, student,
KDU University College
"Yes (I experienced corporal punishment), but the
physical punishments did not stop me from doing whatever I wanted
Jennifer Peter, 20,
student, Sunway University
"They didn't physically punish me, but scolded me.
In my own opinion it would be better to talk things out with your
children by reprimanding them and advising them to get them to
understand where they went wrong."
Kietsen Tay, 20, student,
KDU University College
"I have been physically punished by my mother. Naturally, it
affected me in terms of pain and I felt as if sometimes she just
hated me. I have to say I don't fully support this form of
punishment as not all children's mindsets are the same. Some
children are strong and accept the punishment. However, there are
some children who take it the wrong way and get mentally
traumatised, which may lead to psychological breakdowns and even,
in the worst case scenario, suicide."
Ammar Azlan, 20, student,
Manipal International University
"Yeah, pretty regularly when I was around 10 to 12 years
old. Yes, I believe that physical punishment -- if administered
in the proper way -- is very effective in teaching children to
differentiate right from wrong. They may feel they are victimised
at first, but as they get older and more mature they will, just
as I did, come to see that the punishments they received were
ultimately for their own good."
Yitzhak Manuel, 20,
student, Russian National Research Medical University
"Yes, usually by the normal scolding or if it's serious then
it's a slap across the face. I don't really agree to it because
it depends on the person receiving it. Some might take it as
motivation and life lessons, but others could take it hard and it
can really demotivate them."
Nurul Farhana, 24,
"I agree with physical punishment because it will train you
to remind yourself to do something which would give you a good
Harvey Gooi, 26, assistant
"I don't think (corporal punishment) had much
adverse effect on me. It left some temporary cane marks, but
those fade away after a day. Mentally and emotionally, it didn't
make me think that it's okay to use violence to solve problems.
So I absolutely agree with it -- if it is done in moderation. But
boy am I grateful to have been punished for my wrongdoings every
time I see those spoilt children who get spared."
© 2014 R.AGE. A Product of Star Publications
Follow-up: 5 April 2014 - Malaysia's love for the cane is questioned