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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Corporal Punishment and me.

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.
Courtesy - Google Image

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. 
Courtesy - Google Image
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. 


  1. Ha ha ha Your Drukgyel stories are fun but sorry you didn't learn how to fight then, you were plain honest and straight to survive in hostel. you should have learned from me- despite being the naughtiest did you ever see me being I fought the very first day in drugyel to maintain my status... remember? ha haha

    I don't believe in punishment, but I have to, like you shared, give one or two but the difference between the ones our teachers gave then and now is that we are reasonable and we do it with concern and love... I don't hit in anger.

  2. Passu, life was hard in the boarding schools but it was harder for me as I was small. If there were no teachers beating then there were always the bigger boys. But I have no hard feelings, even for our warden, because I know deep down he is a good man. Passu you know our warden, Asha Map (Uncle Red, because his face would turn red when he became angry)

    Unlike you I was not tough, but like always I had protectors and that saved me many time. I don't think you remember, once you nearly bashed me up when we were at Paro Jr School had it not been for the bigger boy who saved me. I remember getting away hitting you on your head with my plate..ha haha.

  3. Research/recommended reading:

    Spanking Can Make Children More Aggressive Later

    Spanking Kids Increases Risk of Sexual Problems

    Use of Spanking for 3-Year-Old Children and Associated Intimate Partner Aggression or Violence

    Spanking Children Can Lower IQ

    Plain Talk About Spanking
    by Jordan Riak

    The Sexual Dangers of Spanking Children
    by Tom Johnson

    "Spanking" can be intentional or unintentional sexual abuse

  4. In light of the Judge Adams video,

    We often hear from those who fight to uphold this practice for those under the age of 18 (even to the blaming of the social maladies of the day on a supposed "lack" of it), but we rarely, if ever, find advocates for the return of corporal punishment to the general adult community, college campuses, inmate population, or military. Why is that?

    Ask ten unyielding proponents of child/adolescent/teenage-only "spanking" about the "right" way to do it, and what would be abusive, indecent, or obscene, and you will get ten different answers.

    These proponents should consider making their own video-recording of the "right way" to do it.

  5. @18andsafe - thank you for your links. I have no doubt reading these papers will make me a better father, a better teacher and a better person. Thank you very much.

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