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School corporal punishment in Vietnam

Video clips - boys

Schoolboy being caned

With comments by C. Farrell

Classroom canings or paddlings of schoolboys in Vietnam - 13 video clips.

Clip 1 of 13

Duration: 15 seconds
Date: 2007

In this clip, a secondary boy comes to the blackboard for two mild strokes of the cane. The atmosphere in the class is jocular. The modus operandi is very similar to that commonly used in Thailand and Malaysia and sometimes in South Korea -- standing up straight, facing the wall.

 Vietnam turns out to be yet another south-east Asian country never occupied by the British (Thailand and Korea are others) but where canings are clearly delivered very specifically to the offender's seat, giving the lie to the popular myth that this procedure is peculiar to English culture or to places where the British have historically had influence.


Clip 2 of 13

Duration: 1 minute 30 seconds
Date: 2007

Same schoolmaster, same classroom. In this clip the atmosphere is highly jocular as six boys come forward in turn for one stroke each with what looks in this case more like a ruler or a paddle than a cane. Some of them put on a comedy act for their classmates, sticking their bottoms out beforehand and over-reacting afterwards. Clearly these are not supposed to be very significant punishments. There are also girls in the class, but only boys get spanked in this instance.


Clip 3 of 13

Duration: 30 seconds
Date: 2007

Another clip of a jocular caning in the same classroom. Here the boy being punished is getting big laughs from his comrades by acting the clown. The schoolmaster maintains a deadpan face.


Clip 4 of 13

Duration: 5 minutes

Date: 2009

This clip shows a mass "caning" in a secondary school. As in several other Vietnam clips, each student comes to the front of the class and stands up straight to be punished. The rod used is too thick and stiff to be called a proper punishment cane in the British sense. This is why we do not hear the characteristic "thwack" of a real caning. The class is extremely rowdy. The strokes are rather light; these are clearly not serious punishments, despite some of the students jokily pretending to be in pain, amid much hilarity. There are girls in the class, but in this particular session all the recipients are boys, no fewer than 13 of whom receive two strokes each across the seat of their school uniform trousers.

 On the blackboard is written, I'm told, a list of the offences -- including failing to write lesson in notebook, not bringing textbook to class, and arriving late -- with the names of the culprits ticked off by the teacher as he goes along. This has perhaps the look of being a regular (weekly?) event, and one wonders if the teacher is a bit bored with the whole thing. At any rate, it will all seem somewhat unsatisfactory to those observers who believe that you should either cane a boy to some significant effect or not do it at all.


Clip 5 of 13

Duration: 1 minute 15 seconds
Date: 2009

Two or three boys, a bit younger than those seen earlier, get 3 or 4 strokes with a paddle across the seat of their trousers while lying across a desk at the front of the class. Some rubbing of buttocks by the recipients suggests that the punishment is not without effect. Sound and picture are slightly distorted.


Clip 6 of 13

Duration: 15 seconds
Date: 2009

A secondary boy aged perhaps 16 gets two strokes with a stick in front of the class from his lady teacher. She seems to be in a ratty mood, and the atmosphere is fairly serious.


Clip 7 of 13

Duration: 3 minutes
Date: 2009

At a high school in Saigon, twelve male students take turns to lie face down on the desk at the front of the class (except one, who for some reason gets his punishment standing up). Each receives two strokes across the seat of his uniform trousers from the teacher, who is giving a running commentary via microphone. The implement looks to be only a lightweight ruler, and the atmosphere is jocular. Again, this is a mixed class but on this occasion only boys were being disciplined. The picture quality is poor.


Clip 8 of 13

Duration: 1 minute 40 seconds
Date: 2011

Another rowdy classroom with a jocular atmosphere. A mischievous lad is at the front of the class for punishment with a metre rule across his trousers seat. After each of several strokes he jumps around exaggeratedly, clutching his bottom and playing the fool, and wanders about the room before coming back for more from the patiently waiting schoolmaster.


Clip 9 of 13

Duration: 8 minutes
Date: 2011

A large number of teen schoolboys get 5 or 6 moderate smacks with a paddle across the seat of their uniform trousers, adopting a Korean-style push-up position, from a teacher who is, oddly, sitting down and facing away from the class. As the film opens, some of the culprits are standing against the blackboard. The atmosphere seems quietly serious at first, with some discussion going on between the teacher and the students, possibly about who is guilty of what offences. Probably the teacher is scolding the boys before punishing them; at one point the students appear to be arguing amongst themselves, perhaps about who is most to blame for whatever has happened, and/or about who is to go first.

 Later the tone becomes a little more light-hearted, with one or two of the miscreants jokily rubbing their buttocks in an exaggerated way. A couple of boys are shirtless, which may or may not be an extra punishment in its own right.


Clip 10 of 13

Duration: 45 seconds
Date: 2011

This video shows part of a mass paddling in a secondary-school classroom. All the recipients are boys, though it is a mixed class. The culprits to be punished are lined up at the blackboard. One by one they step forward to the desk to receive a pretty solid whack with a paddle across the seat of the tracksuit uniform. The atmosphere is jocular. We see four students punished. The fifth is about to get his paddling when the film ends, with at least three more still waiting their turn.


Clip 11 of 13

Duration: 1 minute
Date: 2012

Here we see a young boy in pioneer uniform lying flat over the desk for three moderate whacks across his uniform trousers seat with a metre rule, in a mildly jocular atmosphere. Not a terribly serious punishment.


Clip 12 of 13

Duration: 10 seconds
Date: 2013

In this film we see two high-school students in turn lie flat across a desk for a brisk paddling on the seat of their dark grey uniform trousers from a lady teacher. The first boy gets one hard smack (which may be the second of two) and the second gets two. The atmosphere in the class is neutral, but the boys seem to be smiling.


Clip 13 of 13

Duration: 50 seconds
Date: 2016

Two high-school students in turn come to the front of the class to receive five strokes of the cane each from their lady teacher. They are required to assume a "push-up" position more usually associated with South Korea than Vietnam. The strokes are targeted accurately at the seat of the jeans. The first boy evidently thinks he is only getting four, and has to get down again for his fifth stroke.

 The class is rather noisy but the atmosphere seems fairly matter-of-fact. The offenders readily present their backsides for punishment and clearly know the drill. One gets the impression that this is probably a routine event.


blob See also:

Video clips -- Vietnam -- CP of schoolgirls

Video clips -- Vietnam -- CP of mixed boys and girls

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Page updated March 2018