Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Spare the Rod and Spoil the Child

My mum called me a while ago and started telling me stories of her friend's daughter. She is 16 this year and I remember playing with her when I was younger. I remember her to be a very sweet and petite girl who loves to play with boys' toys. She never liked Barbie Dolls or Polly Pockets. We played together till my family moved to another housing estate when I was 12. She was sent to a Chinese medium school for the first 2 years of her primary education. Her parents don't speak the language at home but insists that she attended such a school to give her the additional advantage in the language. However, she couldn't cope with her studies especially the Mandarin subject. She hated school, feigned all sorts of illnesses and excuses so that she didn't have to turn up in the school that she detested.

Her mother confided in my mum and she suggested that they send her to a private school instead where the medium although in Malay is very much English based. So, they did. No improvements in her academics happend. Instead, she became even wilder. At the age of 10 she had her first boyfriend, holding hands with him while walking around shopping malls in JB. Her mother again asked my mum for advice. This time, my mum kept quiet. She refused to give any comments just in case she is blamed for giving bad ones.

The girl gave her mother major headaches. She played truant and was one of those 'La-La' who hanged out in shopping malls during school hours. She changed many schools because her mum wanted her to stop seeing the boy from her previous private school. Finally, the mum had no choice but to send her to a boarding school in Perth. Fortunately, the boy didn't follow her and by a twist of luck (if you want to call it that), she finally began to realise her full potential. She liked drawing and art. And now, at the age of 16, she chose Art & Design courses instead of conventional Math and Science subjects. Good for her and her parents. All's well, end's well.

As my mum ratted along about this girl, I stopped her mid-way and said...

"Mum...aren't you lucky that you have a daughter like me? I may not have been perfect, but I don't remember myself being so problematic."

"Yes lah...lucky lah."

"But know ah...if you didn't cane me so hard and so much when I was young, I probably would have turn out the way she did."

When I was younger, I hated school. I never liked to study. All I liked to do was to read my Enid Blyton's and watch my Sesame Street. My mum was so worried about me that she caned me everytime I lazed around and not do my homework. She checked my school bag everyday and made sure I finish each and everything the teachers assigned me to do. I was sent for tuition classes to occupy my free time and there was a mountain of workbooks to be completed after I came back.

She never let me go out with my friends till I was in Form 2 or 3 ( I can't really remember). And because I know that if I ask her to let me go gallavanting, she will not agree, I'd rather not ask. That was how I was shaped to become who I am today. I'm not that kind of girl who likes to hang out with a group of friends in the shopping mall or just have a cup of coffee at Starbucks. I I'm not that kinda girl who is easily influenced by the myriad of tempations outside my home because everytime I think of them, I think of my mother wielding the cane.

Everytime I think of doing something bad or out of my daily routine, I think...

"Would mummy kill me? Better not take the chance. Better just stay at home and be good.."

So, moral of this long long post is...

"Spare the Rod and Spoil the Child"

I grew up with the cane and I believe in its magical powers. Some of you may disagree but the cane certainly has its advantages. Each stroke sends an ultra big reminder to me not to do anything my mother will disapprove.