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Aug 11

The Star Online

Thursday November 20, 2003

None the worse for caning

Mother of five boys CHAN LILIAN finds that she can still count on traditional values when it comes to children and discipline.

THOUGH my mother passed away years ago, I still have fond memories of her chasing my eldest son round the house with a long, hard, thin stem cut from the garden in the quest of disciplining him.

The stem served as an instant rotan. She could easily have bought a real cane from the pasar malam, but then the whole scenario would have seemed too harsh for a four-year-old.

Nevertheless, a cheeky boy who could not differentiate between dangerous acts and acceptable behaviour might need a little whacking as a reminder.

Though I have read many books on parenting and childcare by top parenting gurus, I have been brought up to accept our Malaysian values as something I can rely on. I live by the adage, “Spare the rod and spoil the child.”
My father was an English teacher in a Chinese school and though he passed away when I was just a little girl, I do remember the kind of reputation he was famous for.

I know that my four older siblings who were in the same school were not spared his famous rotan.
Many years later, I met some of my ex-boss’s associates who were my father’s former students, and they recalled fondly having been caned