I was watching a movie the other day called I Not Stupid Too. The title is grammatically incorrect but the story itself is quite touching.

The movie portrays many different aspects of the life in a country like Singapore, as well as the relationship of a family. There were many sentimental scenes in the movie but one scene that I want to focus on was the caning scene. In short, a teenager was publicly caned, with an audience, as a punishment for being involved in a fight with a teacher at school. At first, I was surprised that they would include this in their movie because there are many countries that do not support such physical abuse. This issue lingered in my mind for a while and it made me curious. What else can you do to end up being whipped with a stick in front of anyone and everyone that wants to watch?

I spoke to my relatives who had lived in Singapore for three years. They hadn’t watched the movie but when I brought up the issue of public caning, they weren’t surprised. I learned that caning is widely used as a form of punishment. I found this interesting and decided to research a bit about caning in Singapore. There are different canes that are used for different reasons or ages. If you are younger, a lighter cane is used, and the maximum number of strokes will be lower. Some exceptions for caning are women, those who are sentenced to death, and men above the age of 50. With these exemptions, is caning still an effective punishment?

When I thought about what it felt like to be caned in public, I realized that aside from the physical pain, the point of being punished in public can also be a way for the government to embarrass the criminal. I would imagine that the criminal would continue his actions if nobody had known about his misdeeds, as opposed to if he was shamed so openly.

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3 Responses to Caning

  1. vivianwu says:

    I’ve never heard of this type of punishment before, but after reading your post I can somewhat see the reasoning behind the Singapore government’s actions. I like how decided to do more research into this topic because you were unfamiliar with it and wanted to learn more, it enriched this piece more by making it more informative to the reader.

  2. Rishi Ajmera says:

    Wow. I didn’t know that it was common in some governments to punish their people so publicly. It’s possible that in Eastern countries, stature and status hold such value that for someone to be reprimanded in the open is the ultimate punishment. Do you know if it’s still used in some countries?

  3. Melody Mark says:

    I like how you analyzed the methods other governments use to punish criminals. It is unfortunate that some governments find this form of punishment effective. A criminal can be punished in so many forms, yet they choose to use this method. Other than embarrassing the criminal, I think public caning also serves as a warning for other civilians.

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