Never did I think Corporal Punishment would become so much a part of my life. Today the words are etched on my mind to make me aware that I should not use it.
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As a student, I remember my Dzongkha teacher beating one of my friends when we were in class three. I remember the teacher but can’t recollect the student who forgot to write his homework. I also remember the yellow substance dripping down the boy’s thigh as the teacher sent him crying to the toilet. I never knew what happened after.
When I was a boarding student at Paro Junior High School I remember the principal’s famous elastic bamboo stick nearly dislocating my thumb. The swift bamboo swinging landed on my cold palm in the chilly winter morning. I cannot describe the pain, it was excruciating and I cried like a little girl. I could not even hold my spoon while eating my breakfast later that morning. I was ten minutes late for my morning study.
That same year, I heard that a boy had slapped the Dragon Lady of Drugyal. At first I thought it was just rumor, later it was true. A class twelve student of Drugyal High School had slapped his principal in her office.
I reached Drugyal High School two years later. In class nine I was the room cleaner and as the room cleaner I had to throw the rubbish, so one morning I went to throw the rubbish. The Pit Captain who burned the rubbish was busy, when he saw me he pointed at a spot in the pit, I thought he meant that I could throw there. I threw my rubbish and was about to leave when he shouted at me for throwing the rubbish into the pit. He being the bigger and the senior boy slapped me and pulled me into the pit, I kicked him but he held me pinned and throttled me. I kicked him on his stomach and he got out of the pit, I followed and punched him on his mouth and at that moment the warden saw me. The warden slapped me many times and didn’t even spare my parents. To him my parents were bad parents because I was bad. He didn’t even listen to my story.
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I was beaten by a bigger boy and my warden. But I didn’t cry, I didn’t cry because I didn’t want the captain to enjoy. Thinking about it now, I feel like crying, and if I had cried, maybe it would have convinced the warden that the captain was bullying me.
You are always hungry in a boarding school. One evening after the night study me and my friend went to the canteen to eat some snacks. Later the warden’s wire bruised our backs, but no hard feelings, we checked our backs and made jokes about what the bruises looked like later in the hostel. I remember telling my friend, his looked like a big snake while he told me, mine was a dragon.
2009, three years into teaching and my first mishap with corporal punishment happens. My school’s strict rule about the boys’ hairstyle in the school was to be supported and monitored by all the male teachers was agreed. Three boys with queer hairstyles were made to stand out side the class by one of my colleagues one morning. One of the boys was sitting, I called the boy to stand but he didn’t, I called him to come to me but he didn’t, but when he did he questioned why was he being called pushing up the sleeves of his gho. I lost my cool and warned him that I will slap him, he said I can slap him with his fist clenched. I warned him again and he warned me back again. I slapped him.
I felt sorry for the boy. I felt really bad, I could have avoided it but I was blinded my by anger. I admit I was wrong and I will never do something like that again.