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Childhood Memories 101: Nothing New When You Being Caned!

Cane, Caning, Childhood

(It happens all over the world – using a thick cane for disciplining problematic students in schools and back then, caning was part and parcel of schooling. Image source: http://www.archivist.f2s.com)

From theStar:-

A nine-year-old pupil at SRJKC Kg Tiong in Gemas, who was caned in the hands by a female teacher at the school Tuesday, died on Wednesday.

This is tragic indeed.

Speaking about caning in schools, remember when we were in school and being caned by the teachers was part and parcel of schooling?

I still remember the day I got my first caning – back in Standard One. The teacher at the front went through our books and she asked the class to be silent. But being the “small kids” we were, it was a matter of time before we started to make noise and got caught. The teacher picked some of us and called us to the front.

We were asked to put our hands and one by one, the teacher took a long cane and hit us. The first time being caned surprisingly was not that painful – the pain came when the thick cane struck our palms but by lunchtime, it has disappeared.

Over the years, we learned several tricks to reduce the pain but I am not sure whether it works all the time. I have tried almost all of it – from spitting on my palms to wearing something “thick” for the back. Sometimes we try our luck by placing our wallets in the back pocket but the discipline teacher makes sure that we empty our pockets before giving us the cane.

I remember a classmate who managed to squeeze a notebook into his pants “minutes” before he got the cane. He came back smiling despite getting 2 hard ones.

Through the years, I experienced several caning from teachers and dreadful discipline teachers (thankfully not hard ones) but it was not that frequent – by Standard Five, I became a good boy. Some of my friends however were not so fortunate – they continued to receive lightning caning all the way to Form Three.

There was once, we were at the assembly, singing the national anthem as the national flag was raised when someone laughed. There was some problem with the flag raising and coupled with a private joke from his classmate and he laughed without realizing that the discipline teacher had been keeping a close eye on the students. Thanks to this, all of us at the assembly got a free show – public caning of the student.

Discipline teachers certainly have their style of caning and “equipment”. There was a moment when I had to visit the discipline teacher for something for the science lab. Collecting my courage, I entered his room and spoke to him with a choked voice. He turned around and opened his drawer to get it for me.

As he pulled out the drawer, in one corner was a display of several types of canes in his stockade. There were thick ones, thin ones, short ones, long ones, and ones made of different materials. Just imagine the feelings of the students who were sent to see the discipline teacher to be caned and the teacher takes his own sweet time to pick the “right” cane for the occasion.

The good old days – I miss them!

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