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School CP - September 1998

The Star, Kuala Lumpur, 1 September 1998

Letter To The Editor

The cane can definitely do more good than harm

Ridzuan Jusoh of Kuala Lumpur writes:

I READ with immense interest the letter "Judicious use of cane can check indiscipline" by Yeap Cheng Hock (The Star, Aug 28).

I couldn't agree more with Yeap's suggestion, for I grew up probably during the same era when he was a teacher.

At my school, a leading boarding school in Ipoh, in the late 60's and early 70's the then headmaster never spared the rod to discipline students.

We were caned for almost any kind of "short-comings" ranging from failing in the term exams (one stroke for each subject failed), to playing truant, to smoking, to fighting with the school prefects. The list goes on.

As a result of the strict discipline instilled by the headmaster, we are now "somebodys" contributing significantly to nation-building.

Among those who grew up with me during that time are now a minister, a deputy minister, an assistant Bank Negara governor, an executive chairman of the stock exchange, deans of faculties, leading corporate figures and managers (in which group I belong) of companies.

One student who received 12 strokes of the rotan for smoking and punching a school prefect in the face is today a successful doctor with a chain of clinics.

Had it not been for the cane he might not have ended up owning this chain of clinics, but a chain smoker instead.

The headmaster has now retired from government service. His last posting being the director of technical and vocational training in the Education Ministry.

We all salute you sir, for having done what we despised then and for our perception that the cane was "evil" but had it not been for the cane we might not have been what we are today.

Thank you for the cane!

I therefore strongly recommend that caning be re-introduced before this disease of indiscipline gets out of hand.

Copyright 1998 Star Publications (M) Bhd (No: 10894-D). All rights reserved

Independent on Sunday, London, 20 September 1998

Drifting towards post-colonialism

Anglo-Malaysian relations may seem strong now, but Richard Lloyd Parry detects a deeper ambivalence


TUCKED BEHIND a palm on the edge of the cricket field, next to the whitewashed columns of Carey Hall, is an engraved stone commemorating the last time the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh visited Malaysia. It was 1989 and, like many members of royalty before them, they made the three-hour drive north from the capital, Kuala Lumpur, to Malay College, the country's most famous and eminent school, a place more English than most of England, the renowned "Eton of the East".

Since its foundation in 1905 as a training ground for servants of the British administration, one Malaysian prime minister, dozens of sultans and countless politicians have passed through its porticos, and the face it presents to the outside world is that of the quintessential English boarding school. The architecture is tropical colonial, with rotating electric fans above heavy-lidded school desks. The gates bear a Latin motto ("Let wisdom be virtue"), and its 700 boarders, all of them male, study a curriculum rich in debating, oratory and rugby.

The boys, all Malay Muslims, are caned if they are bad and sacked if they are unreformable, although fagging and short trousers were abolished during the 1980s.


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