Wednesday, July 23, 2014

In Loco Parentis.

"The campus is full of cigarette butts and you being a House Captain, you all should be lashed more", said one of my teachers and gave me three lashes on my left palm. He chose left and not right, because he believed that if he would lash us on right palms, we all would sell it off as our alibi for not doing home works. 

What had we done? How many of us were lashed? 

Pretty much everybody. I was in twelfth standard and somebody had organised inter class football match with some amount of entry fees. The winner would get roughly 12 grand, and that too in the year 2006. Quite a lot of money and we had enrolled ourselves on gambling. Officially, minors gambling. The organizer however, a junior kid got Mohammad Ali punches from the very Teacher. He however didn't sue the Teacher. 


 The winner took away 12 grands but were the first team to be beaten up. Their players were made to come forward by saying, "Real Madrid gi players tshu ya losh". Players of Real Madrid, Stand up. 

The lashing was done in every other class. Our Teacher had painstakingly entered every other class rooms and lashed minimum of 11 students in every class. Yes, that's all it takes to form a team, and how embarrassing would it have been, if you couldn't take those lashings as a man and your crushes were in classes? Funny days. 

You see, recently kuensel covered a story about Principal being sentenced for practicing corporal punishment. To this, my friend, Mr. Passu who also happens to be a Teacher wrote an article. I shared his link on my facebook and there were roughly 22 likes, meaning these 22 people enjoyed the beatings. Ha ha. You can read those articles and come back here. 

Now let's discuss corporal punishment. Ever since that news was covered by Kuensel, it was debated for a while. I discussed with a dear friend of mine, and she was against corporal punishment. She said, Teachers in Bhutan are not paid enough and some of them they get frustrated over it and at times they show their frustrations over kids. Some kids have lost their sense of hearings and some were brutally beaten she said. There are other means that we could solve this. 

It was nice of her to say that. Any civilized person, who is well educated will always try to find a means of diplomacy to cure a situation, and kudos to those if they are successful. 

When we discuss corporal punishment in Bhutan, it is discussed as if it is something new to us. We the Bhutanese, who are so much interested to pose in front of Mc Donald's or Burger King or KFC with peace signs have forgotten somewhere, that we come from a very tiny country and we all are poor people. For so many years, we lived upon donations from developed nations and we have forgotten where we stood or stand. We have become double standard vanity carnival. 

Now I don't know the full story of what had actually happened, and I don't know how badly that kid was beaten up. So, I no say anything over his case, but just term him as a modern boy, as of now. 

If you have read that story of that boy and that particular Principal, you would by this time know that, that the kid was very much modernized. He asked his Teachers and Principal to suspend him from school. He was modernized in a way that he brought Western world bullying in that school, and that particular school does fall upon remote areas. Yes, anything that is not in Thimphu is remote. So, how come this brave kid who was so modern got into a problem that was so modern. And how modern were his parents that they took the Principal to court. 

You see, if we discuss about Corporal Punishment, many people have their own opinions. Some are against it, some vouch for it. But if I may share all my experiences, there have always been cons and pros of this particular case. 

I once scored 37.5 out of 40 in Dzongkha. That Dzongkha Lopen was so nice that he asked me to write the correct word for five times. He slapped me hard on the sixth time and seventh one I got right. That was the only slap I got from him. And I improved. A year later, another Dzongkha Lopen came and he would beat us everyday, everywhere, beat the shits out of us. It was out of that sheer fear that I got so stressed that at times I would pray he didn't make it to the class or he died out of something. I was dead scared with him and even though he was from my mother's village, I hated him so bad. My parents didn't sue him, they would rather scold me for not going to the class prepared. He however would always lash us up. And everyday, the more I got his beatings, the more I convinced myself that I am a dumb Jack in his subject. He would beat us all so much that from there on, I had this preconceived notion for Dzongkha Lopens. I would hate the subject. It was unless I met other Dzongkha Lopens in later stages of my life, who would appreciate my hand writings and always made me improve. They would beat us also, but they weren't regular. I in fact did improve a bit, but since I had lost interest in that subject at such a younger age, it was hard for me to good in Dzongkha. 

8 two za 32. I still remember this line, because in fifth standard, I was asked to solve a problem on our black board. The Teacher had high expectations from me and she continued checking up notes of my friends. I was stuck on this line for a while. She pretended that she didn't see me not knowing. She thought eventually I would or could figure out. But I was always a shy person and out of nervousness I couldn't solve the problem. She was frustrated after fifteen minutes and it was sort of insult to her, for she was a passionate Teacher and that is their downfall, passionate people get carried away. She came and slapped me and said, 32. To this day, I remember that 8 x 4 = 32. 

Back in campus however, few kids got ragged. Actually everybody got ragged except for me and my roomie because we were Bhutanese. There were nobody to rag us. In ragging, the kids are given scores by their seniors, based upon how smart he acts. If you have attitude not to mingle with others and act as if like you were Salman Khan from Dabang or Sharukh Khan from Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, then you would have higher scores. If you acted cocky like Will Smith from Men in Black, oh dear, I would love to watch you complete your first year of Engineering. Some of them had 600 as scores. Now what are scores? Scores is a number assigned to you for being a prick. If you have 600 as your scores then from Welcome Night to ragging period to your Fresher's Night, you have to get slapped 600 times. That is okay, it happens over a span of 8 to 9 months. If you have the scores in balance, then you have to clear it off on your Golden Night, the night whereby everything has to be cleared. Students were made to go anywhere in groups, even to buy a toothpaste. They had to seek orders from their second years and were not to create any State fights with other fraternities. It was systematically handled. And in return, when everything was over, wheresoever you met your seniors, they had to give you treat and their books and notes. And some of the books were as old as twenty years or more. They would have question papers as old as books. This became their State property and they won't share it with others. In everything that had been happened with them, eventually they would be great buddies and when they departed, they would cry and attend each others' marriages. 

Even birthday celebrations costed too much. Friends would show up at midnight with cakes and refreshments and all we had to do was wear some extra underwear. Double trousers perhaps, because after the cake we would get birthday bumps. What is that? Birthday Bumps were engineered to make you realize that life is full with ups and downs. One moment you are so happy that you wish to last forever but reality is so bizarre, that it doesn't. Henceforth, after you are done with gifts and cakes and refreshments, one of your friends will hold you from behind with his hands going right under your arm pits, two more will come from front and lift your legs. You are suspended like suspension bridge with your buttocks in coordination with your legs and abdomen forming an eclipse and your friends will start kicking your butt so hard and closer they are with you in person, improvise they can with cricket bats and wickets. You would just wish that you had bought your own cake.  

In Army, the ragging happens to be much more on severe level. To this one of my Army Officer friends told me, they will damage your Ego to zero and will bring it up to a level that you can command. He who abides can only order. They are said to be ragged not by the fraternities, they are ragged by their seniors. And yes, look at them, how disciplined they are? 

Now when corporal punishment is discussed, everybody looks at the Western world, the Americans don't have this and that. But one should look at it broadly. There are so many comedians who accuse the White people for not beating their children. They say, Thomas, go to your room, it is your time out. You are grounded. And we should go like, he has got a room? Not everybody in Bhutan gets a personal room, you have to share your room with your siblings. Our kids don't leave parents at the age of 21 or so. We should look over to our own culture first and think again. We can't behave like Americans over night, we can't have the pros of being an American citizen in Bhutan while we have got our own Bhutanese problems. Get that straight into our heads, we don't earn in Dollars.  

So now when we discuss about whether Princpal was right or kid was wrong, still we can't say anything. But the conclusion is we don't want Teachers who practice violence all the times to a level: First period I am going to Class 9 C, I will whoop four kids there and in 9 D I have my ex's daughter so I might have to beat up more kids because that girl is so innocent and I need to show my grudge however. We also don't want Teachers who don't know how to discipline, we can't afford to go to schools and get beaten and lose one of our senses. Kids can't endure sadistic apprehensions and infliction of that nature upon them. But sparing the rod isn't a solution as of now. Because the problems that our kids are creating these days, some of them need to be disciplined with lashings. They should look at it more like a gift than a curse. Perhaps, we mark an area, we set some portions of our bodies. Let's say only legs? And how shall we solve these problems in civilized way? Suspend the kid with black and white letter stating the wrongful deeds he committed at his one point confused state of mind and make him a nuisance menace so that he doesn't get enrolled in any of the schools anywhere? Will that serve his being? 

Few of my friends were involved in Drug case. Teachers would beat them and so did the policemen. Today, they are Doctor, Engineer, Nutritionist and Accountant I believe. We were beaten during those days, we were beaten for misbehaving because our Teachers wanted us to be law abiding citizens, we were beaten for creating nuisance because our Teachers didn't want us to be Anarchists, we were beaten for teasing girls for our Teachers didn't want us to be road side romeos, we were beaten for not completing home-works because our Teachers didn't want us to become procrastinators, we were beaten for cussing because our Teachers didn't want us to be potty mouths, we were beaten for every other wrong things we did because our Teachers always wanted us to be right. However, we weren't beaten for being good, we weren't beaten for being gentlemen, we weren't beaten for doing charity and social works, we weren't beaten for topping subjects, we weren't beaten for wishing them, we weren't beaten for all the good that we did. 

The Mongar case has sent a message to the Teachers that they are answerable and now they can't anymore lay a finger on kids. The kids have gotten an idea that they can sue Teachers. And this will however, be chaotic in mere future. Not now. With kids with disciplinary issues, it won't take time for us to be scared to go out in mere future because we would be stabbed, mugged or beaten by younger kids. The same thing happened few years back when MB boys came into streets. When they were dis-banned, and were told that they would be given jobs. The first thing they asked was how much they would be paid? They were school dropouts and they weren't much qualified and had dreams to be CEOs, 4 grand per month was equivalent to two jobs of theirs', to mug some old senior citizen who came back from work. At one point, in the year 2012, we saw nine stabbing cases involving youth within two months.  

So the question lies here, are we asking for a better society? Because I still believe in loco parentis, meaning the schools have same rights over minors as their parents. Because I was taught every other thing by my Teachers and not my parents. Even wearing a Kabney to writing to knowing myself to living a life to knowing those subjects that gave me my present career. 

Bhutan is changing, gone are those days that people looked up to Teachers with godly respect. They are seen as people who earn less. They are least respected these days. Modernization however has taken that very respect towards them and engaged our youth with much more complex problems. With kids B-Boying, attending parties, drinking alcohol that who institution had to meditate, teenage pregnancy, having dreams to only become rock stars and supermodels to Ajay Devgan, burglary, fights, etc., etc. If I am taken as a Consultant then I would still go with corporal punishment.  Only this time, fixing few of the parameters in order to where to hit and how to hit? 

And I don't think that this particular kid from Mongar can either become Army Officer or Engineer. I am not discouraging that boy. If you happen to read my post, please understand that I understand your situation and sympathize your situation. Only you would know what you have gone through. Social media must have been very brutal on you these days. Everybody is dragging you. Perhaps, understand this situation. There is a generation gap and you happen to be a victim of it. Carry on with your life and I know you will do good. Life is weird, one point you think you have figured out so much and then you just find yourself so wrong. I hope you find your path in life and someday I hope I meet you.

And in Japan and Korea, kids are beaten on their butts using long sticks or cricket bat type wooden planks. Since our generation is more like getting into Korean & Japanese Sitcoms, why not make them live the reality as well? :p Good Night folks.

Ps: My brother however got slapped several times in his stay in that same school. Today he too is a college student. If he wasn't lashed by my father and school teachers, I exactly know where I should have found him these days. But it isn't mandatory for every lashed kid to do good in life. 

2 comments :

  1. It is sensible post Boss~ It is too lengthy though. Reader like me get lost in between!!

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  2. Wow.. what us going on? I remember my parents sending me to drukgyel high school as the warden there is considered very stict besides it being one of the best school arround.. I ll not say modernised student but modernised parents.. as the parents encouraged their child to or they might be the one to do that. They should also see what their boy has done too.. when one doea than many others will follow.. teachers be careful.. or be on stike so that teachers get their respect back.. what would have happened to those teachers who made their students back and legs "black n blue" if we have dine the same..if we have done then I would still have been a drug addict not a manager in a company.. teacher are the ones who fills our world with knowledge and wisdom.. they are gods for us and I thank each and every teacher who have beaten me.. thank you...

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