Don’t you just miss school?

Boy Detained in Field

A lone boy. Made to stand in the middle of a school field. During school hours. Useful?

I took this picture the other day at a tamil school in brickfields. OK, ok – why be coy? It was the Vivekananda School. It was the end of the afternoon and I was walking to the Pasar Malam in Brickfields. The sight of this boy being made to stand right in the middle of the field, presumably as punishment, brought back poignant memories.

Of course – I was a goody two shoes in school (and when I wasn’t, I hardly ever got caught). But my flashback was to the punishments we used to inflict as school prefects on hapless students. The punishments were, as I look back on those times with my human rights tinted spectacles, barbaric punishments for some of the most mundane and trivial “offences”.

To give a flavour: Having gel in one’s hair; having hair that touched the collar (all boys school); bringing a pencil sharpener to school with a mirror on one side (because it could be used as a weapon).

- All right, I admit, I can see the logic for that last one. I still remember how much fun some of my classmates had putting those sharpeners on their shoes and artfully placing it just as “Mrs Hot & Sexy Teacher In the Eyes of Adolescent Males” came up to him. I never did it though. (Honest) Not, I am ashamed to say because of I occupied a higher moral plane but merely because I didn’t have the guts to get caught. -

Anyway, the point to all this rambling is this: have we not progressed to a higher level of punishments? Is corporal punishment still the only way we know to discipline impressionable minds? I’m no educationist but surely there ought to be a better way to get a boy like that to study then putting him in the middle of a field?

Posts by Shanmuga K

Shanmuga K sometimes sees a purple banana emerging in his sub-conscious. An article seems to then be magically written. He is @shanmuga_k on Twitter. When he does not see those purple bananas, he practices as a lawyer at

Posted on 7 August 2007. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0.

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