Caning and other unethical punishments many years ago when you were a kid (Part 2)
Many years back, schools implemented PUBLIC CANING in view of everyone in order to preach deterrence. Back in my secondary school days at DUNEARN SECONDARY SCHOOL, Mr. RAYMOND KOH was always too over enthusiastic in carrying out the punishments on the ‘worst of the lot' of students. I wasn’t a victim as I was law-abiding, BUT deep in my heart I felt what he had done was terribly wrong!!! Not only the caning itself, but it was his behaviour that was disgusting. Those who studied in Dunearn during 1999-2002 would clearly remember who MR. RAYMOND KOH was. Oh yes, he became discipline master after year 2000 because Mr. Raja was so good at crowd control and fear mongering that he wanted to better that!
I remembered for many days or weeks, he would walk around the courtyard during morning assembly, holding a pair of scissors and finding students (both boys and girls) with long hair or fringes. One of my classmates (a 14 year old girl) got discovered had her fringe snipped off in front of the whole school!!! That’s public humiliation! I still remembered she didn’t recover from all the humiliation meted by him. Yes, she made mistakes, misbehaved occasionally, but since then she became infamous, other teachers began to pick on her, chided her for her academic and character incompetence. What would you do if you were her? Well, for sensitive ‘delinquents’ without any form of help in school and discriminated every teacher, she became more rebellious and practically gave up on learning. She got expelled from school at the end of the year. I think she deserve an apology for all the psychological and physical (cutting of her hair) abuse. I am sorry for not speaking up for her then.
I also remembered how MR. RAYMOND KOH publicly caned boys. The whip looked like a snake! A book would be tugged in above the butt to prevent the whip from hurting the spine. His behaviour right before the actual caning was barbaric and unworthy of his position as a “TEACHER.”
I knew the decisions made weren’t his but I was sure he made them his own with his antics. Many students were afraid of him and disgusted by his constant shouting, screaming and acting like a big bully. YES! HE WAS LITERALLY THE BULLY! He treated students like his sheeps, talking down to students like he was LKY. The word RESPECT was muddled in too much HYPOCRISY!
The pictures below illustrates how he positioned himself with his legs spread out and hands stretched, holding a whip like the one below. His face “am chio.” After whipping the boys, he had that shiok face… looking like he had just ‘ejaculated’ on them.
am chio = trying hard not to smile or laugh.
I understand these actions were sort of legal and acceptable back then, but that scene kept playing in my head whenever I witness any corporal punishment or beating of kids in videos circulated online. I am still disgusted by his actions. Anyway, I feel he should apologize at least for his antics.
Personal experience with MR. RAYMOND KOH: I was reading The New paper at one of the school benches one day when he appeared in front of me and took it away without saying a word. He was rude and didn’t think he was answerable to anyone even if he was borrowing it from me. Nope, he didn’t return it. It was just 50 or 60 cents to him. I was like “take whatever you want sir, please don’t find any fault in me.”
I don’t know if Singapore schools still carry out corporal punishments and/or continue shaming kids like what happened 10-20 years ago. If any MOE civil servant or minister still preaches about corporal punishment in schools, then I hope they lose their jobs soon.
The videos below show what Singapore is also ‘well-known’ for:
Japanese TV commenting about caning in Singapore:
blic caning in Singapore:
This post was first published over at the Embracing Your Identity blog on 13 November 2014. It is reproduced with permission.
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