Donnerstag, 7. März 2013

Corporal Punishment At Thai Schools

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This is how many Thais still want to see their children: on their knees, servile and obedient.

I recently found a small article about caning and corporal punishment at a  school in Pattaya/Chonburi in the Bangkok Post Newspaper. Pupils filmed a young female teacher first scolding and then caning a school boy for repeatedly not doing his homework.
(Published: 5March 2013 at 12.03, Local News
YOU TUBE video:
(The video has been removed by You Tube because the content  violated their terms of use)

This is not the first time I read about this archaic and barbaric behavior at Thai schools. Again and again over the last few years I read and heard about the ongoing abuse of children by teachers in Thailand. Some children have been beaten by their teachers so badly, that they needed medical treatment afterwards. Some will be scarred for the rest of their lifes.
Another example from 2011 in the Bangkok Post Newspaper:
A music teacher who is accused of injuring some of his students by caning them more than 50 times is to face an internal disciplinary investigation.The allegations came to light after a video was posted on YouTube last week showing a father taking his 13-year-old daughter to a hospital in Ang Thong province to confirm whether bruises on her backside were consistent with caning. Phansak Thanpo, a teacher of Western music at the Ang Thong College of Dramatic Arts, is accused of striking the girl with a cane more than 10 times after she scored a zero grade in his class.

Another cruel example I found in the Bangkok Post edition from 22.August 2013:

AMNAT CHAROEN – A 16-year-old vocational student was severely beaten up by the deputy director of his school for wearing shoes to class that violated the school’s dress code, a report said on Thursday.The teenager was attacked on Aug 13, said Aonsee Buaparuang, a member of the Amnat Charoen Provincial Administrative Organisation.The report said the deputy director used his fists, feet, knees and elbows in the savage attack. The student suffered severe bruising and was taken to the hospital. The victim’s family filed a complaint at Amnat Charoen police station

But really annoying and disgusting are the comments on the internet and on the Bangkok Post's webpage. Many people are shocked and angry about this brutal and anachronistic behavior by some teachers, but the vast majority of the readers supports this kind of punishment. For some it is not even severe enough.
The following comments from the Bangkok Post webpage are exemplary for the vast majority of comments postet on that page!

The first comment was posted by a person who calls him-/herself sengsza and he or she demands even harder punishment:
I think the teacher should take off his pant because it's absorbing the pain. She should cane him in the front-side, not the backside. That'll teach him a lesson or two.

A person calling him- or herself tomo wrote:
I went to a very good disciplined school and when we where out of order we recieved the leather strap on the hands and also the cane and the odd plimsole thrown in. We diserved it and it discplined us. Our generation respects our elders and we have manners and morals,something the youth of today whether in Thailand or the UK do not have today. Thats my opinion and it didnt do me bad.

And Rab.Madar commented:
This guy isn't subjected to corporal punishment, he is being disciplined and he knows it, and it looks like he respects it because he could easily have went away if he was in pain or felt humiliated. I wouldn't mind betting when he is older that he brings this back as a fond memory of the teacher, because he will probably be a better person for it.

...bring this back as a fond memory of the teacher...? 

Yep, we all can already see him remembering his wonderful time at school when a frustrated and overwhelmed teacher was beating him up and humiliating him in front of the whole class.

Beating children teaches them manners, morals and respect for the elders? 
This is a very interesting point of view because by using caning as a punishment the teachers are breaking the law. Therefor the first thing the children learn: you can ignore the law when you don't like it! (Corporal punishment in schools is illegal under the Ministry of Education Regulation on Student Punishment (2005) and the National Committee on Child Protection Regulation on Working Procedures of Child Protection Officers Involved in Promoting Behaviour of Students (2005), pursuant to article 65 of the Child Protection Act See also footnote #1. 

By beating them up they learn about morals? 
Then why are corruption and the abuse of power so widely spread in this country. Why do you read again and again about torture-like treatment and sexual abuse of house maidens and servants. Why are factory workers, farmers or migrant workers still being treated like serfs or slaves? Obviously caning doesn't seem to boost moral values as claimed in many comments. On the contrary, in many cases there seems to be a strong connection between violent education and violent behavior in every day life. 

By corporal punishment they learn to treat the elders with respect? 
The number of  crippled, handicapped and elderly people who have to beg or to work as garbage collectors to survive is constantly rising. Why are they treated like human scum by many people in Thai society? Their family members, children, grandchildren and friends still grew up with corporal punishment like most Thais in this country but one can detect only seldom respectful treatment for these old and disabled people. At least not (in many cases) from their children, friends, politicians or the majority of Thai society.
Once (during the flood in 2011) we visited a refugee camp at Rajamangala Stadium doing interviews. When we talked to an elderly  couple a man (being about 45 to 50 years old) who offered to translate for us asked: "Why do you want to talk to her? She is just a cripple and therefor not a real human anymore!" Is this the kind of respect for the elders you learn by caning?

That old woman is selling little plastic bags filled with camphor.

Where are all these people who honour the elderly?

Begging grandfather with his grandchildren at Silom road.

On the contrary,  in my opimion this explains very well why many people who grew up with this kind of barbaric treatment  are still holding on to violence to solve problems. The number of 18 coup's and coup attempts speaks for itself (counting Thailands coups). Not to forget all those brutal crackdowns on political movements and killings of political opponents and activists in the younger history of Thailand. (Thailand's dark history by Nicola Glass, in English only)
Then there is this common habit of  those so-called business accidents when business men are having problems with their partners or competitors, the extra-judicial killings, etc...

Crackdown on the Red Shirts on 19.May 2010

Arresting was not enough, they had to be humiliated. Crackdown on Red Shirt protesters on 19.May 2010.

Why is it so hard to understand that a violent education often creates violence in the society!
But there is hope, too! There are dedicated people and volunteers who are offering food and shelter or even free medical treatment for the weakest in this society. Others are supporting and organizing help for the mistreated migrants and factory workers. And more and more people are upset and don't agree with this medieval methods of punishment and education anymore and distance themselves from this archaic way of thinking.


Footnote #1:
Corporal punishment is prohibited in schools under the Regulation on the Punishment of Students (2000). The Ministry of Education Regulation on Student Punishment (2005) does not include corporal punishment among permitted disciplinary measures. Also applicable is the National Committee on Child Protection Regulation on Working Procedures of Child Protection Officers Involved in Promoting Behaviour of Students (2005), pursuant to article 65 of the Child Protection Act.

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