Do you know that caning is allowed in Primary schools in Singapore? I thought that practice was done away with years ago.
I recall back in my primary school days, a group of upper primary level boys had broken into the General Office, vandalised the place and left the office in ruins. The foolish boys did not realise that CCTV camera had captured their entire act. It did not take the school long to catch the culprits.
So came that one morning, right after morning assembly when the principal made a very serious speech. She detailed their actions and declared a punishment of public caning for the group and a one week suspension for the boys. If they ran into anymore trouble, they would be expelled. The boys had to stand in front of the entire school while the principal made her speech. They were bubbling in tears, weeping. I remember that scene well because usually, they were the big bullies in school that I avoided. I always stayed clear of them because they were rowdy and scary. They were caned in front of the entire school. The caning did not look painful, but I think the humiliation of it all was enough to silence the entire school.
Well, just yesterday, Big D informed me that four of his classmates were caned by the Discipline Master. An announcement had been made right after morning assembly for four of his classmates to report to the Discipline Master’s Office. When they returned to class, Big D said they were very subdued and quiet. He asked one of them what happened and the boy simply said that they were caned. Big D asked how painful it was and got a curt reply, he decided to back off with his questioning.
Big D guessed that they were punished because these boys had lately been displaying non-stop defiance in class. He said these four boys often swore and made the sign of the middle finger whenever the teachers had their back towards the class while writing on the whiteboard. Some one must have reported it to one of the teachers. Either that or a student had informed his/her parent and the parent informed the form teacher. I asked Big D whether it was him who “told on them”. “Of course, not!” he replied. “I’ve learnt my lesson last year already ok?”
What happened last year was that the Discipline Master had entered the class to bark at the class because it had gotten uncontrollably rowdy. He asked the class if any of the kids swore. Big D raised his hand and replied in the affirmative. He was then asked to name the culprits and he named a few boys… They were made to stand outside the class room. After that incident, it took a few months for Big D to be allowed to play soccer and catching with them again during recess time. He says that to date, they still call him “The Pure One” when they want to taunt him.
Well, Daddy was very pleased to hear that his righteous son’s nickname was “The Pure One”, though I was glad that this time, it wasn’t him who reported this case. After last year’s incident, I did tell Big D to choose his battles carefully, for example, to report to the teacher regarding matters that really mattered like witnessing someone cheat in class or steal.
I was shocked to hear that the punishment for the boys was caning. But I am sure this was done after due deliberation, and after informing the parents of the boys prior to the caning.