My letter on caning got quite a discussion going. Remember, what I support is disciplining and control via carefully controlled guidelines, NOT physical abuse and violence.
LAST UPDATE: 6 March 2008
First up, a response by T… Who sounds just like some of the unhinged commentors I get who miss my point entirely, attack my character and go off on an incoherent rant attacking what they mistakenly perceive to be my viewpoint.
Though her starting comments quoting Star Wars should have given some clue as to how much she’s in touch with the real world.
This gal has definitely never taught in a modern Malaysian public school before – unlike both my parents, my fiance, my ex-teachers, all their teacher friends, and myself in private tuition – and will never even ever attempt to in order to prove her point – she’s the standard Moonbat who talks big and believes she is right no matter what the evidenceor reality may show otherwise.
Judge for yourself if she’s ever been out of her little padded bedroom to see what the majority of schools are like these days:
(Note: All personal remarks about Tarshini have been apologized for in the comments below. Sorry for being rude to you! – Scott)
Teach with some love and respect
I REFER to the letter “Empower Teachers to Discipline Students,” (The Star, Feb 14).
Firstly, the writer seems to be labouring under the delusion that schools here are wretched hives of scum and villainy (to shamelessly plagiarise a famous phrase). This is clearly evidenced by his analogy of the police force being made to “maintain law and order without firearms.”
I would really love to know how a boisterous student could be likened to a rapist, murderer, snatch thief, or even a common pickpocket. I must confess, the first image that leapt to my mind when I read that passage was of adults hiding in trenches and launching hand grenades upon the reviled enemy: children.
I mean why don’t we round up all school kids, the kind filled with natural exuberance and joy, and lock them up in camps?
The writer mentions “respect and fear.” Let me just say that those two things should never go hand-in-hand. Respect cannot be given or commanded via fear, it must be earned.
I am not saying that we shouldn’t punish misbehaving kids and that all students are just full of youthful high spirits. Yes, there are troublemakers and yes they must be dealt with, but certainly not by caning.
Violence begets violence, and with caning, just what kind of values are we trying to instil in the younger generation? Likewise, who is he to say that all teachers are misunderstood and harassed, burdened and martyred?
Sure, some are, but unless you’ve taken a nationwide census, do not propagate what is mere speculation and attempt to pass it off as fact. The writer also refers to “strict British-style schooling.” I attended a school with a British curriculum and was never even so much as roughly poked.
The writer claims that at such a school, he learnt to grow up and be civilised.
Let me introduce him to what civilised people refer to as child abuse – “physical, sexual, or emotional maltreatment or neglect of children by parents, guardians, or others responsible for a child’s welfare.”
Corporal punishment easily encompasses physical maltreatment.
It may get the kids to listen at that moment, but studies have shown that corporal punishment of children only increases short-term compliance.
The writer seems to have the notion that the only alternative to caning is using “soft approaches, quiet voices, and gentle persuasion.” It’s like saying that the only cure for obesity is bulimia.
Nowhere in any code of conduct does it say that teachers can’t yell, set extra homework or lines – these punishments will not only leave a more lasting lesson, but also aid students intellectually.
Parents must juggle jobs and looking after their kids, as well as many more burdens.
Is it too much to ask that education with which their hard-earned pennies are invested upon be delivered with dignity, respect and love?
Teachers are among the most blessed of professionals – you can hardly call it a job, as it is more of a calling.
Several studies have shown that the more children are spanked, the more angry they become as adults and the more likely they are to spank their own children.
Caning and hitting are closely related with higher rates of physical aggression, substance abuse and an increased risk of crime/violence in adolescents.
TARSHINI S. SUKUMARAN,Sg Buloh.
And now, some more remarks from interested participants:
Not the best way to bring up children
I READ with interest “Empower teachers to discipline students” (The Star, Feb 14). Immediately, images of kids with very low self-respect and little discipline came to mind.
How many of us have seen kids shouting back at their parents in public, especially when their nonsensical requests were not met?
Nowadays, most parents have adopted the so-called “softer” way of teaching their children and don’t allow teachers to scold their children.
It is about time we realise that this is not the best way to bring up our kids.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m totally against child abuse. However, the fact is that children need to learn what is right and wrong.
The basic approach should be praising them when they do good and punishing them when they do wrong.
HELP THE KIDS, Klang, Selangor.
I REFER to “Teach with some love and respect” (The Star, Feb 17) protesting against the caning of students. The writer said caning was outright violence, and cited his spell in a British curriculum system school.
I was educated in a mission school where no parent voiced displeasure in seeing their children caned.
Schools in that era had uncontested rights over their students. No one saw caning as violence. Everyone saw it as a way to instil discipline and good values in students.
Most of my schoolmates are in our late sixties now. If not for the caning we received, we might not be what we are today.
Because certain groups say that caning is barbaric, a wrong message is sent. There is no reason why it should not be re-introduced in schools and extended to girls as well.
K. RAMAMURTHYACHARI, Penang.
Days of caning and whipping are over
IN response to In favour of caning in The Star, Feb 18, I’d like to begin by saying that those days are over. While I’m sure the writer has accomplished much, the world has changed.
As we have progressed, we have discovered more methods of teaching, learning, and reaching out to students. What is best for one child is not necessarily what is best for another.
Sixty years ago, problems like ADD and dyslexia were not given attention to at all. In fact, during schooling in that era, children were whipped for the “crime” of being left-handed. Is this truly an education system that can deem itself sophisticated or helpful?
Times have changed, people are far more educated with regards to teaching others and we have only two options: evolve or die. Either jump on the wagon or hop off the tracks, my friend.
What is the point of progress if we cling on to the sad remainders of yesteryear? While there are always values that will remain constant no matter what the year, education – like healthcare – is not something that should be allowed to stagnate.
You wouldn’t go to a hospital today and expect them to treat you with medicine and from the 1950s, would you? The very idea itself is laughable.
And the letter also says that without caning, he or she “might not be” what they are today. Let me just say that it is a sad, sad world when all the positive achievements one has made in his or her lifetime must be attributed to violence.
What about personal drive, intelligence, hard work and talent – or perhaps these are all modern traits? Finally, the letter claims that “certain groups say caning is barbaric”. Certain groups? The majority of the educated world are of the conviction that caning in schools is unhelpful, has more adverse effects than positive, and is brutal to boot.
To be concise, certain groups say caning is not barbaric and these groups are either outdated or just plain inept at interacting with children.
The writer has presented no concrete evidence for caning, and only cites personal experiences from half a century ago. Please, let’s have some basis for an argument here.
Finally, in my last letter, I did cite my spell in a British curriculum system school. I was there from the first grade until I graduated from high school (in 2006). Therefore, I am able to refer to my experiences as those of modern-day schooling, and not bring up an education from 50 years ago and try to purvey it as relevant to today’s age.
TARSHINI S. SUKUMARAN, Sg Buloh, Selangor.
Well, no wonder T talks the way she does – she finished high school in 2006!
She therefore went through school long after the system began collapsing; has never personally experienced the ’50 year old’ system she disparages; and is a product of the ‘progressivist’, post-modern liberalism world.
In other words, a Moonbat.
Therefore, there is little point in arguing the facts and experience with her – as she has already formed her conclusions based on personal bias, not evidence.
Bet you she cries for the poor opolar bears drowning in the global warming, thinks DDT is a worse killer than malaria, opposes the liberation of Iraq, and feels that we can love and hug terrorists and criminals into becoming reformed.
And here’s fifty bucks betting that when she herself has children, she’ll either be wildly smacking them or be terrorized by their uncontrolled brattiness. Prophetic lol!
And if she’s a child of the Internet era, let’s hope she can find her name here…
Why caning was banned in Britain
THE time has now come for me to give you the details of how and why we banned the use of the cane on children in Britain some 50 years ago.
In the 50s, the British Board of Education was persuaded to change the law in British schools on the use of corporal punishment.
This radical change came about mainly due to the dedication and determination of a band of teachers in Britain who started the movement called S.T.O.P (School Teachers Opposed to Punishment.)
The decision to use corporal punishment on girls is a serious matter and not to be taken lightly. There are many who advocate the re-introduction of corporal punishment for boys in the UK however, few would agree to this being used on girls.
The medical implications in girls on their monthly cycles poses a real problem, and it would be inhuman to disregard the physical and psychological differences between the sexes.
Hastings, East Sussex, UK.
[Scott: Just let me say that this is the same ‘progressive’ Britain that has removed Winston Churchill from the schoolbooks and where 1/4 don’t believe Churchill even really existed, where dhimmitude is taught in schools and the Anglican Archbishop panders to sharia (as well as homosexuality, the secular idea of Jesus as myth and global warming hysteria); and where fifty babies are aborted ALIVE then left to die by girls who never learnt discipline, responsibility and a Christian value for life.
Yeah, great job liberalism has done for Blighty’s education system, and the society that grows from that school education. And what happened to the feminist concept of equal treatment regardless of gender?]
And here’s a nostalgic personal-experience letter from a ‘victim’ of the ‘barbaric’ British-style school system (/sarcasm):
No harm in wielding cane
WHAT is it about teachers that they could be used as a punching bag for all the wrong things that happens in school but not the students?
I’m from St Xavier’s Institution where Brother Charles was an all-time favourite and then there was Brother Casimir. I would wish that there were more Brother Charles or Brother Casimir in all schools today.
Incidentally, did anyone who had been under the cane of Brother Charles grow up with permanent head damage or was scarred for life? On the contrary, if Brother Charles is still with us today, a lot of us would go up and shake his hand for instilling discipline in our lives.
I admit that I’d never been caned in school before but I did like the way Brother Casimir and disciplinarian Joseph Chin handled a situation. They would always explain to the guilty before handing out their punishment.
Personally, I know of “guilty” friends who had since gone up to shake Chin’s hand on the street and talk about the “good times”.
Thanks to “concerned” parents, schools today are in a dilemma. But it is not their fault, they are just voicing out their discontentment every time their little darlings get a good spanking for misconduct.
Seriously, if the concerned parents themselves cannot control their children, wouldn’t it be prudent to let the teachers handle them? But yet, pride and prejudice prevails.
“I can’t bring myself to cane my child for misconduct but neither should anyone else!”
It’s funny that the concerned parents who can’t get their child to behave are the ones who point the finger at the teachers for their own failing.
At the age of three, my daughter would say: “but mommy says that I could have it.” And I would say: “I’ll go and check with mommy!” And what do you know, mommy didn’t say “yes”.
My daughter is like any other child. At a very young age, they have already started to find ways and means to get what they want. At home, when she throws a tantrum, she will get the cane. But before I cane her, I would explain to her what is wrong and give her a chance to stop her tantrum by counting to three.
Naturally, if the caning is too soft, you might as well forget about it. Whenever my wife canes my daughter, she’ll be running about taunting and laughing at her mother until I step in. It has to be hard enough for them to feel the tingling pain but not hard enough to scar them for life. It’s good to cool down first before applying the cane. That way, you will have control of the stroke.
During PTA, we formally passed authority to the teacher by telling the teacher in front of our daughter to instill punishment if she misbehaves. By doing so, the teacher has been given the responsibility of a guardian, and our daughter will acknowledge her likewise.
Today, my daughter is eleven. So far has been consistently first in the first class. She is a prefect and is involved with the choir and choral speaking, plays the piano and guitar, loves to swim and teaches her friends mathematics.
My wife would always tell her friend’s that she’s her daddy’s girl as she has my ethics. The teachers praise her for her manners. Why am I saying all this? It is clearly our responsibility as parents to educate our children, not the teacher, the school or the Government.
CHENG WOOI, Penang.
Give teachers leeway to punish errant students
OF late, there have been a lot of comments and criticisms in the letters column about caning students.
Some decades ago, parents were so concerned about the character development of their children that they would request teachers to punish them if they were found to be delinquent.
They trusted the teachers with the disciplining of their children. It was easier then for teachers to handle their students without the interference of the parents.
Children should be corrected while they are young as, it is said, young stems are easier to straighten if they slant.
For some students, mere reproachment won’t do; they need a real hard spanking or caning (no serious injuries, of course) to send the message that their misdeeds were severe enough to warrant it.
Thus, to say that caning will scar children for life as mentioned in some letters is not true as long as the punishment is meted out fairly and not out of anger, frustration or stress.
On the other hand, verbal abuse can be more harmful than corporal punishment.
Derogatory words and phrases like, “bodoh…stupid…numbskull…good-for-nothing….useless bum….hopeless etc.” should never be used on any child.
A child may be slow at a certain stage of development but may speed up and grow up to be successful later, if given a lot of encouragement, hope and assistance.
So, teachers, beware of what you utter. Words can be in the memory of a person for life!
TAN LEE HUAN,