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School CP - March 2000

Corpun file 5224


The New Paper, Singapore, 1 March 2000

I was caned and I'm glad about it

By Eugene Anthony

HAVE you ever been caned before? Do you still remember those thin rattan canes sold in grocery shops, where you could get a bundle for a few cents?

Why do I ask you this question? Let me start by telling you what I saw last week.

I was at a bus stop. A parent and her child were walking in my direction.

Thud! She hit the child's head. Whack! Another hit. The child sobbed away. The mother warned him to shut up, in a shrieking voice.

Fifteen years ago, in the then Raffles Institution, I received my first school caning.

I was in Secondary 4. Religious studies were compulsory then. I hated them and preferred an afternoon of movies and music.

Yes, a straight bus to Capitol Cinema, followed by Burger King. Some days it would be hours spent checking out records at The Attic in Centrepoint or listening to CDs in the National Library.

The day of reckoning arrived. A few names were called up during the morning assembly. I was one of them.

The principal met us in the hall with some teachers as witnesses. Explanations were asked for. I argued.

He gave me two strokes of the cane on the palm of my hand - Thwack! Thwack!

But I had felt the cane before that.

When I was a kid, I used to get caned a lot by my mother. What a circus it was!

She would chase me. The moment she picked up the cane and started coming towards, I would take cover behind the sofa, run around it, dash out of the house and sprint around the orchid plants. The maid would corner and hold me down as I struggled.

My mother would then proceed to deliver anything from five to 10 strokes, depending on the "offence".

In primary school, for throwing chalk I would be whacked with that feared 1 m blackboard wooden ruler. I even remember having my ears twisted, arms pinched or even slapped on the face.

I do not feel traumatised or abused by what happened. Fact is, I am glad it happened. If I ever do have kids of my own, I think I would use the cane on them, if I really had to.

I feel the cane used by my mother and the punishments given in school came with a message: We are damn serious and this is for your own good.

Welcome the era of Sensitive New Age Parents (Snaps). Parents who don't believe in the cane.

I'm surprised that schools have done away with the cane. [They haven't -- C.F.]

I see kids these days given gentle advice when they throw tantrums. Kids having "school rights". In my schooldays the only right I got was to go to the toilet. Damn lucky kids.

I am not a parent. I don't know anything about raising kids. But just in case you want to know how to get those thin (or even thick) "rotan", just e-mail me at: I will tell you where you can buy them.

Copyright © 2000 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved. 

Corpun file 5322


The New Paper, Singapore, 9 March 2000

Relief teacher sacked for slapping boy

HE was rude and tried lying to his teacher.

For that, 10-year-old Li Shi Long, a Primary 4 student at Jiemin Primary School in Yishun, was slapped.

The female relief teacher who did it has since been sacked, reported Shin Min Daily News.

She was also made to apologise to the boy and his father yesterday morning, a day after the incident occurred.

The school's principal, Madam Jenny Law, said the teacher had hit out at the boy because she was "provoked".

"But she should have kept her cool," said Madam Law. "As our school does not condone corporal punishment, her services were terminated."

According to Madam Law, the Chinese language relief teacher had told the class to get their maths books from their lockers outside the classroom to practise for a maths test later that day.

Shi Long not only took a long time, he came back with another book which he tried to pass off as the maths book.

He then very rudely insisted it was the right book when the teacher asked him about it.


The boy, who was interviewed by Shin Min Daily News, told another story.

He said: "The teacher got angry because I was reading a story book instead of my maths book which I didn't take to school. So, she slapped me."

He said he didn't cry when she slapped him. He just looked at the teacher without saying anything.

Shi Long added: "After the slap, she told me, 'Any more nonsense and I'll make your face redder'."

His father, Mr Li Yong Yi, 53, immediately went back to the school with his son to complain, after he learnt about the incident when Shi Long returned home on Tuesday afternoon.

Said Mr Li: "The teacher had left school when we got there. So, I told the principal and asked that she investigate the matter.

"Shi Long didn't do anything seriously wrong, he just didn't bring his book... If my son had stolen something or fought with his classmate, I would agree if the teacher had hit or scolded him. I'll even thank her for it.

"But for this?"

Last month, a relief teacher at Shuqun Secondary School was sacked after some parents complained that he had knocked their children on the head during maths class.

Copyright © 2000 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.

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