Crime Culture Uncategorized

Do Malaysians Still Want Caning in Schools?

Caning in schools is an issue that basi long time ago already, but it’s still being hotly debated in Malaysia today – why? Because from time to time, we get horrifying news of teachers abusing corporal punishment, in our faces! So people sure freak out when they read stuff about teachers punching students bloody, slapping a boy until his eardrums rupture, making two kids wear cowbells around their necks, and in the latest case…

The Star reported that 10-year-old Jayarajoo from SJKT Bekoh was caned 14 times for not completing his mathematics test in time, causing him to suffer a swollen shoulder and cuts on his back. When the boy’s father, M. Shanmugam, went to the headmaster, the only response he got was that the school was unable to take action against the teacher. Dad said that his son had difficulty answering the 15 questions in five minutes. Doesn’t sound like misbehaviour to us… just saying.

Malaysian schools... the place to learn - or get the crabs caned out of you (just kidding!). Image from wikimedia.org)

Malaysian schools – a place to learn… or get the crabs caned out of you (just kidding! :p). By the way, this isn’t SJKT Bekoh. Image from wikimedia.org

Our hearts go out to Mr. Shanmugam, who’s probably very distressed over what happened to his son. Where is the line between discipline and abuse drawn? Is caning still legal in schools these days?

 

Yes, caning is still legal in schools, BUT…

Malaysia continues to implement caning on students, even though more than 100 countries have already banned corporal punishment in schools (starting with, none other than Sweden). But the strange thing about our school caning rules is that, legally, it can be meted out on MALE students only. True story!

Image wikimedia.org

Hello, old enemy. Image wikimedia.org

Whaddup, whaddup is in the tin can of these people’s minds? They think that schoolgirls are so angelic – all pigtails and pressed collars? Remember that brutal bullying of a schoolgirl, captured on a nauseating video clip that achieved national infamy. Clever girls… now go start your own gang with a tacky name.

See, boys AND girls have proven that evil can lurk inside both chromosomes XX and XY. Forget feminism here, we’re talking about how kesian it is that boys are slapped with a heavier punishment, for the same flame wrongdoings that schoolgirls are also capable of!

Image from 2.nst.com.my

Image from 2.nst.com.my

And apparently, this isn’t our only sexist law on punishment – judicial caning also makes an exemption for women! Meaning, if a woman commits the same crime as a man, she don’t get the switch, but he do?… Niceeeee! I mean, the wimminfolk couldn’t handle the time, but gee we could totally handle the crime, right ladies?

Here are government guidelines on school caning:Untitled

  • Caning is permitted for BOYS only.
  • In most circumstances, caning can only be conducted by the Headmaster.
  • Teachers can only cane when the Headmaster delegates this power in writing, and the teacher must be a permanent staff of the school.
  • The student can only be caned on the buttocks (over clothing) or the palm. He cannot be caned on the bare buttocks.
  • Caning must be conducted in a confined area.
  • The student’s parents will be informed and invited to witness the punishment.
  • Caning is only for repeated or very serious offences.

 

Then the girls, leh?

The idea of approving caning for schoolgirls has been actively debated… with majority support for equal punishment for both genders. ‘Twas the Education Ministry’s survey of teachers from all-girls and co-ed schools, which showed that teachers wanted permission to cane misbehaving girls – with 64% in agreement.

If it does become legal, it would be applied to the palm of the girl’s hand, whereas boys are typically caned across the seat of their trousers. Eh waaait… that’s not what happened in Jayarajoo’s case! If the teacher was supposed to go for the bum, how did his shoulder end up with the injury? Aiming so off wan meh?

Image from flickr.com

Image from Lan Rasso on flickr.com

But all this hoopla about “Girls: To cane, or not to cane” has been branded as something of ignorance.

“The Education Ministry and those favouring or opposing the introduction of caning to discipline schoolgirls must be behind time. They give the impression that this is something new.” – V.K. Chin, The Star

Chin highlighted that female students have been caned forever in Chinese schools… (k fine, he didn’t actually use the word “forever”) with or without permission from the education department anyways. “This is one way for teachers to impose their authority, and the cane would be used for the slightest excuse,” he noted.

So, although caning is “technically” not legal for schoolgirls, they’re no strangers to its bitter sting. Does this mean the practice is more prevalent than meets the eye?

 

Is the cane whipped out very often in schools?

In spite of the practice becoming unpopular and even taboo in these days, reports of teachers who abuse corporal punishment still surface, like the case where a student was caned for bringing pork to school for lunch! (How awful! Why is he being punished over his private choice of meal?!)

In another case, a 13-year-old boy was caned by his discipline teacher in the toilet for not bringing his PE attire, because the instruction was given out in BM. The father explained that his son, Ching Fei, who was enrolled in a Remove Class at SMK Taman Megah Ria, did not understand BM. Lim had come home from work and found his son hiding in his room and asked the boy why. “After asking him a few times, he told me what happened and showed me the red bruises across the back of both his thighs,” he told during a press conference.

Image from flickr.com

Image from Sri Ara Schools on flickr.com

Image from deviantart.net

Why the teacher had not bothered to first find out the reason for Ching Fei not bringing his attire, before whipping out the cane, we do not know…

Let’s face it, even while “guidelines” exist, there’s no hiding the fact that some teachers are just no Care Bears. Who among us can say that we’ve never been hit by a teacher or even witnessed a fellow student being hit? And the real question is, in whose interest is it to use the cane – the student’s, who is being disciplined, in love… or the teacher’s, who’s simply venting his frustration? So, is caning actually useful or useless?

 

Caning could have nasty “side effects”

There are parents who believe that a sharp taste of the cane is sometimes necessary. T. Ravinder, a father of two, has no qualms about having his children caned by their teachers. “If they’ve done something wrong, then I’d say go ahead. In my day, if you came home and complained about being caned, you’d get a few strokes from your parents as well,” he reminisced. “As long as they are made to understand why they are being punished, I don’t see any problem with caning students.”

For Daniel Lim, an accountant living in Australia, caning should be enforced in schools. He asserts that his experience of being caned has made him a better person. “The fear of getting caned is a pretty good control lever,” he said. “I was quite a good boy in high school because that fear kept me from causing mischief.” As for the pyschological scars, Daniel claims that neither he nor his peers suffer from low self-esteem. In fact, they all feel confident about themselves.

Image from flickr.com

Caning may have emotional and psychological side effects. Image from Kah Wai Sin on flickr.com

But others suggest that caning could bring nasty “side effects”. UKM Senior Lecturer in clinical psychology, Dr. Ng Lai Oon, remarked: “If you ask old school teachers, they would say that caning actually works quite well. However, we have to understand that caning is something that can trigger side effects, such as anger, rebellion and fear.”

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And where public caning is concerned, Dr. Ng is sure that the element of shame may have drastic consequences. He cites an example of a 14-year-old boy who developed split personalities after being caned publicly in school (oh, who forgot to send that teacher his copy of ‘Government Guidelines’ which clearly prohibits public caning?). Through his clinical experience, Dr. Ng has seen many suffer the psychological consequences of caning, be it short- or long-term.

Image from nst.com.my

New Straits Times reported that caning could have long-term damages on a child. Image from 2.nst.com.my

 

If don’t use cane, then use what?

As school caning became increasingly unpopular, the Education Ministry introduced a three-stop process in 2008 to keep the stick at the back of the cupboard as a “last resort” disciplinary action. Not that we’d mind Mr. Slim there, shacking up with spiders and never seeing the light of day again. Ever.

Image from voc.com.my

Image from voc.com.my

The three-step process:

Step 1: Teachers will first reprimand the student and warn him about his behaviour. If this doesn’t work…

Step 2: Teachers will call in his parents to discuss the matter. If this also fails…

Step 3: The student will present himself before the school disciplinary committee for a talking-to in the presence of his parents. Only, if this step fails…. ROTAN!

According to Datuk Noor Rezan Bapoo Hashim, Deputy Director-General of Education in the Schools Department, the ministry decided that this “soft approach” should be the preferred option to start with. Sounds more like they’re “warming up” the student for THWACK!!! :p

Image from thestar.com.my

Datuk Noor Rezan Bapoo Hashim. Image from thestar.com.my

“Before doing anything, teachers should first reprimand the child and warn him about his behaviour. Caning is the last resort. I cannot stress that enough,” she expressed. Noor Rezan exerts that teachers should not be emotional about it. Yeah, good luck with that…

The question is, can teachers comply with her urgings to not be so emotional? Or will they continue to instil their methods of discipline. S’not like anyone’s there to stop them at that point of time… What about repercussions? Coz students are disciplined when they step out of line, aaand citizens are disciplined when they step out of line, sooo what about teachers who step out of line?

Image from themalaymailonline.com

Teachers are still human beings with emotions. Image from themalaymailonline.com

 

What happens when teachers cross the line?

Puh-lease, there are teachers who’ve crossed the line and come under public crossfire! Sadly, many are not served befitting disciplinary measures after their actions. *shrugs*

Take for example the case of the teacher from SJKC Khai Meng, Sungkai, Perak, who made two primary schoolboys wear cowbells around their necks and offered them grass to eat because they did not complete their homework. One of the boys’ uncles came forward and said, “she had caned the boys twice each before that.” He added that the teacher took pictures of the boys with her mobile phone and threatened to post them of Facebook!

Image from news.abnxcess.com

Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin has called for ‘Cow bell’ teacher to be sacked. Image from news.abnxcess.com

You know what happened after that? The teacher was issued a “stern” (oooh, we’re shivering our timbers) warning letter and then transferred to another school. Nice to know she continues to teach fresh victims other children now.

Then in another recent case, an eight-year-old, SK Port Dickson student, M. Sharmini, had a shoe thrown at her head by Moral Education (ironic much?!) teacher, Abdul Rahim Jaafar. Despite bleeding profusely from her head, the Moral Education teacher went on with his class which left Sharmini to seek help from the next class. The Moral Education teacher was transferred too, as “punishment”.

Image from thestar.com.my

The Star reported that Sharmini’s teacher was transferred to another school, following the incident. Image from thestar.com.my

MIC Youth Chief, C. Sivaraajh, took up Sharmini’s cause and threatened to haul the Moral Education teacher to court to serve as a lesson to others. “We want to make sure the (Moral Education – we added that) teacher won’t do this to other students,” he responded. Sivaraajh also stated, “many who are involved in such cases are merely transferred to other schools, then later merely asked to apologise with no further action.” How bermoral!

So, in light of all these cases, there are opposing sides to the rave party of whether caning and other forms of corporal punishment should be kept on in schools.

So, wan or dunwan, now?

Some have urged parents to trust teachers in disciplining students, and some say that without the rotan, they’d probably have become a “pansy ass fruitcake” (99Chan, LowYat Forum), while others want to do away with the practice altogether.

Comment taken from forum.lowyat.net

Comment taken from forum.lowyat.net

It’s one thing to say “trust the teacher”, but quite another to actually put your child in the care of a potential loony bin, like this nursery school teacher who gagged a little boy’s mouth with cellophane tape because he wouldn’t go to sleep during nap time. The teacher’s excuse for her behaviour? PMS! No joke – the nursery told Moey Sook Yeng, the mother of the three-year-old boy that her mood swings (inside her head, *incoherent whisperssss*) made her do it.

Image from therakyatpost.com

A mother demonstrated how the nursery teacher gagged his mouth. Image from therakyatpost.com

For a three-year-old, it might be easier to erase this disturbing memory from his head, but what about the older kids in primary and secondary schools? The shame they feel in being punished with the cane leads to emotional and psychological pain. There’s always a possibility for the practice to be abused by teachers, and that’s what parents don’t want to happen.

But if we don’t have caning then what do we have, leh? Don’t panic – there are alternatives to the switch!

1. Positive reinforcement

According to educational experts, positive reinforcement can reduce the frequency and extent of student misbehaviour. For example, teachers can praise students, write positive comments in their books and give material rewards. According to an article on New Straits Times, children respond best to respect, praise and encouragement.

Image from flickr.com

Pat a child on the head today (no, don’t go up to a stranger’s child and do that). Image from Lan Rasso on flickr.com

2. Detention or chores

Also teachers could try a super boring afternoon of detention, or sweaty chores like painting the school wall and cleaning toilets, to get mildly rascal students to toe the line.

3. Guidance and counselling

At other times when there are students who are being difficult for who knows what reasons, experts claim that teachers can offer guidance and counselling to try and understand their problems.

Look, we’ve all been caned before (in school and at home) and we turned out ok…. right? I feel normal *twitch, twitch*, do you feel normal *twitch*? So tell us what you think – should the cane stay or go?

18 Comments

  1. Veronica

    10/09/2015 at 9:12 pm

    This is only my own
    opinion and speaking from personal experience. Corporal punishment should be
    banned in a modern day society. I consider its use barbaric, and only causes alienation
    between the students and the teachers. I believe we should all be striving towards
    our common goal of a better Malaysia and that teachers and students should be
    working together in harmony to achieve the best education possible for this and
    our future generations.

    • Murad

      10/09/2015 at 11:24 pm

      iam agree with u veronisah

    • New Jo-Lyn

      11/09/2015 at 11:12 am

      Thanks for your insight Veronica! 😀

  2. adibah fikri

    10/09/2015 at 8:59 pm

    caning students has the own advantages and disadvantages. The advantages is to discipline students and disadvantages is the teacher abusing the cane until causing mental disturbance to students. In my opinion if the teachers want to cane them,they should have strong reasons. If not, they should be subject to disciplinary action.

    • Murad

      10/09/2015 at 11:24 pm

      iam agree with u adibahyor .

    • adibah fikri

      11/09/2015 at 10:15 pm

      Thank you for your support murad ?

    • New Jo-Lyn

      11/09/2015 at 11:15 am

      Thanks Adibah for your comment. I’m not a parent myself, but I do agree corporal punishment does have its advantages. I guess, when you see someone ELSE (a stranger) caning YOUR child, it’s a different story. But then again, different parents have different tolerance towards this.

  3. shahira ali

    10/09/2015 at 8:30 pm

    canning can be good and can be not good.. its depends on the mistake that students do. Its not relevant to canning student only because he/she doing a small mistake. Beside, teacher who wants to cane them should’t mix school and personal things. Because if it mix, it will make things become worst.

    • Murad

      10/09/2015 at 11:25 pm

      iam also agree with u shahirahaha

  4. John Titor

    10/09/2015 at 7:16 pm

    Caning students has its own benefits and flaw. The benefit is it may discipline students from making the same mistake twice. It also may prevent them from committing juvenile crimes. However, even though this may seem like a good thing, it’s also a bad thing at the same time as it may leave a scar to students literally and mentally. I think if the teachers want to cane them, then it should be done modestly. Not to hurt the students nor releasing their stress on them.

  5. Yew Chin

    12/04/2015 at 7:45 pm

    Hello,i am from malaysia too.My name is Lee Yew Chin and i am a form 3 schoolgirl.I would say there is no such things that girls cannot be caned nor the canings can only be aplied to our hands. Most of the girls in my school are caned across the seat of our pinafores just like the boys.I often kena caned too(mostly on buttocks).But,for my school,caning of girls can only be done privately in principal’s office.Unless the girl is being super mischievous,then only she will be caned publicly. But one thing for sure is that though i had my school pinafore as a protection to my buttocks when i was ordered to be caned.However,the protection would be ineffective and my buttocks would still be extremely painful as though i was caned without my pinafore as protection.

    • chiangfang koay (Kevin)

      23/01/2016 at 7:16 pm

      Yew Chin how are you caned? Do you have to bend over or what?

  6. Pak Su

    30/01/2015 at 9:55 am

    people who opposes the cane are normally libtards who have yet to teach in a present day secondary school and experience for themselves how rascal kids nowadays can become. I say yes to bringing the cane and corporal punishment back to schools.

    • kelvin

      12/04/2015 at 11:27 am

      Hi,i’m a form 4 boy from malaysia . In my secondary school,caning for both boys and girls would be only carried out on their buttocks.

    • kelvin

      12/04/2015 at 11:35 am

      To be honest,i really enjoyed watching girls get caned in front of my classmates. The loud sound when the cane hits the girls’ pinafores and the way they feel embarassed and crying after the painful canings on their buttocks…….

    • kelvin

      12/04/2015 at 11:55 am

      Public caning is one of the common things in my secondary school.One of my friends,a tall but thin form 4 girl with long black hair,was caned for six times in front of all the students and teachers as she always played truancy.The loud sound produced when the cane landed on her pinafore still can be clearly heard even though we are sitting at the back of the hall.According to her,it was her most terrible experience ever. She told me that her buttocks was about to split open whenever the cane hit her pinafore.

    • chiangfang koay (Kevin)

      04/01/2016 at 10:21 am

      Hi Kelvin, I’m from Malaysia too but i rarely heard about girls being caned that way in Malaysia, can you tell me how was she caned like does she have to bend over and did she cry after the caning? Hope to hear from you soon.

  7. Pingback: 7 Malaysian Children Who Have Made Us Proud, Internationally | CILISOS - Current Issues Tambah Pedas!

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