Boy's punishment sparks online debate

SINGAPORE - For not doing his homework, a boy was made to lift a bag half-naked along the corridor of a Housing Board block in Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1.

A photo of the incident, which happened at 7pm on Saturday, was posted online and has raised concern over how kids here are disciplined.

The post on the boy, who wore a pair of blue-green pants and no shirt, was made on citizen-journalism website Stomp by a neighbour who wanted to be known only as Eyla.

Eyla told Lianhe Wanbao that she had moved into the area recently and would hear a man, or other family members, shouting at the boy every day.

In Saturday's incident, she believes the boy was punished by his father for not doing his homework.

Her intention behind posting the photo was to remind people not to "mentally abuse" children in such a manner.

"This might be how the boy's family raises children, but, whatever the reasons, parents shouldn't punish kids like this," she said.

However, some netizens said that when kids misbehave or do something wrong, they should be disciplined.

Said ladyinred: "Maybe (the boy) is lazy. But children in the 1950s and 1960s suffered worse. This is nothing. Let parents discipline their children. It's better than not doing anything."

Counsellors warned that humiliating children for their wrongdoings could do more harm than good.

Leng Chin Fai, executive director of Fei Yue Community Services, told Wanbao that a kid might think his parents are out to embarrass him if he is punished in a common corridor.

"This would result in the kid's heart being filled with hate and cause him to be more rebellious. It wouldn't be good for furthering the ties between father and son as well," Mr Leng added.

"When parents punish their kids, they need to consider if the punishment is meant for them to let off steam, or to teach their kids that they've done something wrong."

He believes that when kids are in the wrong, they should be punished. But the crux of the matter is figuring out what kind of punishment would get the kid to understand what he did wrong.

In disciplining kids, it is also important to find out why they do not listen to their parents, he said.