The sadists continue on their merry way

Cassandra's Candid Corner
Stabroek News
December 3, 2000

Can we support a person or a cause 110 percent? This phrase seems to have become part of our current vernacular. Well, I am upping the ante and supporting the young President 110 and a half percent in this issue of banning corporal punishment from schools. Some of us have publicly written, spoken and agitated about this brutalisation of the nation's children, all to very little avail. The sadists in the classroom continue their merry way - uncontrolled, with increasing vehemence (the fix has to be constantly intensified in order to get even the same amount of pleasure), and with novel ways to dispense pain and humiliation to the children. Well, the President has spoken. Let's see what impact it will have. I hope he doesn't recant. I hope that the law is introduced to ban beating in our schools-without any diluting provisos.

When will we ever learn that no child can learn in an atmosphere of terror. When will we recognise that the beating and the shaming of a child does not improve grades and behavioural patterns in most cases. We're maiming the little ones with blows and an assortment of psychological trauma, then we lament that the children today are worse than the previous generation. It's the same with religion in the schools. Even though the constitution very clearly separates the Church and State, practically every principal begins the morning assemblies with a prayer. Yet, they all agree that the end product is increasingly uncaring, selfish, crude and, yes, evil. But still there are those who insist that we should have even more religion introduced in the classroom.

Teachers have blank sheets of cerebra to work with. They can write anything on those absorptive brains. They can establish the base of love and generosity and inquisitiveness on the intellectual groundmass long before they begin to pour knowledge on to the matrix. Why do they then prefer to imprint fear, violence as the solution to problems, callousness of spirit, resentment and anger on the blotting paper of the young mind? I posit that the execution of corporal punishment is the hallmark of the uncreative teacher. The child should respect the teacher not the wild cane. In any case one doesn't have to be rocket scientist to appreciate that physical abuse becomes less effective with repeated use and makes discipline substantially more difficult when physical punishment is no longer an option, such as with teenagers.

SN of November 28, 1998 published an interesting piece relating to a study carried out by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The scientists found that physical abuse of children results in them becoming more physically aggressive in their teen years and as adults. More interestingly, there was a distinct nexus between physical abuse of children and later marital conflict as adults and the approval of spouse beating. That is no wonder, since beating as a tool reinforces the message that the way to resolve anger and disagreement is to traverse the physical path.

Discipline in schools should be based on positive reinforcement and a supportive teacher-child relationship. Every one of you reading this knows that we did better at school in those subjects which had kind, caring teachers. The opposite is often true, viz, we did worse in the subject which was taught by a teacher who hit and whom we hated.

Colin Croft has advocated that the entire West Indies team should pack their collective bags and return home. Caribbean media and sports writers gave Crofty flak. Well, let West Indies lose badly again, then the Australian public and journalists will send them packing. Already the ACB and Packer TV are losing money. The public sentiment will metamorphose quickly from adoration to wanting a keenly contested series to sympathy to disrespect to redicule to anger to "West Indies, Go Home". One thing's for sure: No one in Australia is purchasing a season ticket.

Let's change the subject. Let's talk about the PNC's jumbie list; you know, the one with the 30,000 non-existent voters. Quite a few people (Sharief says dozens - Sunday Chronicle 26.11.2000) are showing up and rubbing egg in the face of the creatorsof the list. My question is this: If dozens, let's say a hundred or even two hundred names on the list are wrong, what about the other 29,800? Some research has to be done and proof presented. If it in fact turns out that a significant number of names do not coincide with persons who exist, then it is time to worry, because it would be a conscious effort to derail the legitimacy of the election outcome. Of course, if on the other hand, the great majority of the 30,000 names are fictitious and "creatures" of some one's imagination then the wrath of the law should descend on that person/group for attempting to create profound disturbance. These elections are too serious to be messed about with. And we seem to be doing that big time.

Jokers hate to have the punch line of their comedy ruined. But so it came to pass last week (CCC 26.11.2000) when I was trying to illustrate Bushspeak with one of his gems. He coined the new term "Strategery". We printed "strategy". Well, strategy is not a new word. Sorry. And speaking of words, let me leave you with these GBC diamonds (all within 5 minutes on 760 Radio)

* "Transvestitites"
* "Anniversarary"
* "On the Jonestown anniversary, the late Dr Leslie Mootoo spoke about the 900 people who were murdered in the suicide act". Umm. This is a complicated one.

"We will speak to the late Dr Mootoo". Eh? Say What?? He on de List?

Follow the goings-on in Guyana
in Guyana Today