A Blog Post by Ivan Chew that Shook me to the Core

Every now and then I come across a blog post that is just so powerful and moving. I read it some time ago but could not get it out of my head. I just had to share Ivan Chew’s story here. There is another link to the story here in case you have trouble with the first one.

I recently talked about corporal punishment in school back in the 70’s when no one considered the damage it might cause. I for one am strongly against it and I think a child’s dignity needs to be preserved. Personally I think there are other better ways. C’mon they are small and defenseless. It might take a lot more time and patience, but there are better ways where the child is not psychologically damaged. I will never understand how someone who hits someone in public will be charged for assault, but there are no such laws protecting children.

But those times were different. It was considered a non issue then. I even witnessed children being caned by their parents in shopping centres and it made me cringe and vow that if I ever became an adult, I would make sure this message, that it is not ok, goes out there. As a child you just feel powerless.

I can totally relate to how important that apology was to him. And you must read the story to know what I’m talking about. You may know him as the rambling librarian on Twitter. I thought it was extremely brave of him to share his experience, and brilliantly written too.

About bookjunkie

Blogging about life in Singapore helps me survive the mid-life crisis
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11 Responses to A Blog Post by Ivan Chew that Shook me to the Core

  1. Ling says:

    I knew I’d cry reading it..but my eyes only watered..
    I used to hate my parents too..as a child I guess Iw as also quite sensitive..
    I remembered my grandma used to complain about my mum..at night when we were aslp..grandpa n grandma slpt in diff rooms n they juz communicated across the rooms juz as we all slp..
    At 8 (I think), I thought of jumping out of the kitchen window too as I was very upset that my grandma disliked my mum..or thought about using a knife to slit my wrists..but I was too cowardy to do it..
    Used to hate my parents too..used to hate everybody coz I have a bro n they all seemed to show concern for him more than for me..I as the elder sis should dote on him, should care for him, blah blah blah..u know the story abt favouritsm towards boys in the family…
    After my secondary sch I was much better..i was not so bitter but i think the wound nv healed..or i still held that ‘grudge’…even when i’ve started working..
    I know my parents love me…they love us…but this kinda behaviour (as construed by younger me) leaves marks that nv diminishes…it stays, just like scars…
    I love them by the way…all these years I have learnt to ‘rationalise’ others’ behaviours in my own way…that makes me feel better…

    • bookjunkie says:

      Thanks so much for sharing your very personal story Ling. Favourtism can be very harmful and I wish parents would be more aware of that. It can sever otherwise healthy sibling relationships. I have seen many adults still suffer from the effects of this. Your talking about it will definitely lead to greater awareness. Thank you so much again for your comment.

  2. Gintai says:

    Thks for sharing this article.

  3. Gintai says:

    I just posted a long comment there. U may be shock also!

    • bookjunkie says:

      I feel sad for you. It was very open if you to share something so personal. Must be really hard and draining to be always on the defensive. Words can really hurt and that hurt often lingers. Hope it gets better for you.

  4. Ivan Chew says:

    Hello! Thanks for taking time to read and blog about my post. Funny thing was I wanted to write about that period of my childhood some years back. But never felt the timing was right. I have to add that while I felt hurt, I never felt like my life was in any danger as a child. I thought I should make that clarification because perhaps to non-Asians, that sort of treatment I received might come across as abuse. In all honesty, knowing what I know about cruelty and abuse, I do not think my father was abusive. Quick to anger for a time, certainly. But abusive to me, not really. My father was perhaps like many men of this time: unable to express their feelings and the only time the show it was in times of anger. I’ve learned my story isn’t unique 🙂 My father must also have faced a period of uncertainty and anxiety in his life. Anyway, it’s all good. 🙂

    • bookjunkie says:

      The part I could relate to especially was how Asian fathers are generally uncommunicative but when they do communicate in subtle ways it can be very significant to us. For me that attempt at saying sorry was very powerful in itself. Like we know in Asia they never say I love you (too akward)but do it in other ways like buying our favourite food etc. especially fathers from the older who had even more uncommunicative dads themselves. Thanks so much for writing your story. I am not brave enough to explore many of the more emotional aspects of my life.

  5. whatsaysyou says:

    As a blogger, I do follow his blog every now and then but reading his entry not just shook me to the core but also it does remind me of how it can be damaging on some people. I have read your post and as a reader, I am wondering if is it okay you can too touch on the issue of teachers who bully students under their care especially in the Singaporean context? (just wondering that’s all)

    • bookjunkie says:

      thanks….kinda wrote a bit about that at the blog I contribute at White As Milk 🙂 Touched on abuse by teachers in my primary school

  6. Crystal says:

    I absolutely would not stand for corporal punishment. We don’t do it, and no one is allowed to do that to my children.

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