Tuesday, 31 March 2009

I wonder, did anyone read the article in yesterday's Star Education about caning?

The article really caught my attention, as it's something I've lived with for 6 years. According to the article, caning is getting more and more unpopular by the day. Yet the constant rise in disciplinary cases are causing many people to reconsider: Is caning appropriate?

The article started off by quoting Deputy Education Minister Datuk Wee Ka Siong as saying “public caning should never happen in schools. Caning should be confined to the principal’s office and handled privately”. This, I agree. Public caning is just humiliating and only causes further rebellion. Luckily, though, I've never heard of anyone in my primary school being caned in public.

It is also stated in the article that the Ministry of Education has laid out certain procedures that has to be followed before any caning.

Among them is that schools must inform parents of the student’s offence. They should also state when and where he will be caned.

I double checked the article again. It said CANING. Not public caning, but CANING. Caning on the hand is still caning, ain't it?

Does this mean chinese primary schools will no longer be able to cane students?

I certainly hope so, because I don't see the point in caning a child. While some may argue that once you explain to the child what he or she has done wrong they'll understand, I don't think it's neccesary as the child already knows that he or she has done something wrong. What triggers their constant rebellion is the question of why do they need to be caned? They already know their mistake. Give them punishment like extra work, or to sweep the floor of the class. That would serve as a reminder that they should not repeat the offense.

Also, It can lead to abuse. Say the teacher is extremely unhappy with a student because his handwriting is hideous, and as a result she took a longer time to finish marking all the students' books and got reprimanded by the headmaster. And so she caned the child for having bad handwriting. What if she got carried away? The deed is done, there's no point in taking responsibility unless the teacher goes through what the child goes through.

Actually, this is rather similar to one of my previous assignments, except it was spanking instead of caning. But come to think of it, it IS the same.

When I was researching, I found out that last year, a boy killed his father because he was spanked so many times he couldn't take it any more. Excessive spanking caused it. But, who knows those kids who were caned once or twice resented their teachers for that?

And when people say that it worked in their day, why don't they think that perceptions change as time passes? With modern technology and research, scientists have proven that caning results in psychological problems later. Several decades ago people didn't know that.

Children today aren't the same as children back then either. In those days children were terrified to speak out. If I remember correctly, I learned that Asian culturers more often than not discourage poeple from speaking their minds as it is considered rude. But these days, there's the Internet. Asians are more outspoken now. Plus, kids can surf the Net and realise that they should not tolerate caning, they should speak out, etc. These things weren't taught to our parents. They were taught to listen and obey. That's why when they were caned, they don't question nor resent it. Kids these days are more inquisitive. You can't just demand that a child accept being caned because he didn't complete his homework!

I myself was caned when I was in primary school. I admit, I didn't question it most of the time. But that's because I wasn't an inquisitive kid. I wasn't one of those kids who wanted to know everything, who has to have all his questions answered, or have many unanswered questions for that matter. Back then I just accepted that most mistakes = caning. But since sometime last year I've been told by several friends that I love to argue. And I do it a lot. And that's why now I'm questioning being caned. Heck, if given the chance to turn back time I would've demanded the teacher to explain why most mistakes = caning without being called disrespectful.

This leads to something I agree with my sister. Chinese primary schools mould their students. Hence, they don't question the adults much. Add to that the teachers being vicious towards us before laughing it off in the staff room, I don't see how any young kid would've dared voice up.

This, however, is not what my post is all about. My post is about the injustice I faced in primary school.

My mum used to be a teacher in my school. I was always known as So-And-So's son. Sometime in secondary school I realised just how much I resented that. When people who didn't know me recognized me and wanted to tell me something it would be 'so and so's son'. And the worst thing I resented: Having to live up to the standard of 'teacher's child'.

Much was expected from a teacher's child in terms of behaviour. I always kept myself in check, never running loose, because I was a 'teacher's child'. In Standard 4 my teacher said that for any mistakes, prefects, class monitor and teacher's children would be caned twice the amount for any other student. I didn't like it then, but I despice it now. Prefects and class monitor I understand. They're supposed to be the model student. But a teacher's child has no responsibilities like the prefect or class monitor. We were like normal students. Here's 2 examples.

First, once the PK1 came to my class and wanted to talk to my teacher. They were talking at the door of the class. So I started talking with a classmate. And out of the blue I was reprimanded for talking when she's having a private conversation. And the exact translated words she used? 'Don't talk! so-and so's son!' I was stunned then. Now I would've go WTF? I can't talk when you're having a private conversation? I don't see any of my classmates being scolded!

Another event, or rather, events, occured in Standard 5. My handwriting wasn't what was expected of a teacher's child. You can say it was hideous, but I'll say it's not what was expected of me. My hair constantly got pulled because my handwriting was 'ugly'. Then one day another classmate suffered the same fate. But only that once or twice, whereas I got it nearly daily. At first I was happy to find out that I have a fellow friend, but then when I saw his handwriting I was thoroughly enraged. Even the person sitting next to me couldn't read his handwriting. And she could read MINE. His was so much worse than mine, but I got punished more. Being a typical chinese school student, I kept my anger to myself. Now, I would've spread the word that that particular teacher has double standards. As for the PK1, I would've complained. To friends and family. Discredit her in their eyes.

I mean, come on! Why must I be given extra punishment EVERY TIME just because I'm the son of a teacher? It doesn't make sense at all! I would've accepted my ugly handwriting punishment if every one who had handwriting as ugly or uglier than mine was punished just like I was.

And that is one of the reasons why I didn't really like primary school. Not because I was labelled, but because the standards required of my labelling was nonsensical, and it shouldn't be there in the first place.
Different Themes
Written by Templateify

Aenean quis feugiat elit. Quisque ultricies sollicitudin ante ut venenatis. Nulla dapibus placerat faucibus. Aenean quis leo non neque ultrices scelerisque. Nullam nec vulputate velit. Etiam fermentum turpis at magna tristique interdum.