Monday, July 02, 2007

I Don't Spare The Rod

On my recent trip back to Penang, I saw one of my relatives spoon-fed her young grandson, a mischievous and bright-eyed 2 year old. The small tyke was placed on a rattan chair and grandma sat on a low wooden stool facing him; bowl of rice on one hand and spoon on the other. On the floor was a long, thin rotan, about 3 feet in length and one end coiled into a handle of sorts. Ah….ha….I saw the rotan and I was transported back to the time when I was the one on the rattan chair and my momma on the wooden stool. My lips curved into a smile.

Momma brooked no nonsense during meal times. Small brats and little cikus were not allowed on the dinner table. Momma would scoop the rice on a plate or bowl, add in the dishes of the day, mixed them all up and with 2 twacks of the rotan against the wall to signal feeding time and I would obediently climb onto the rattan chair. No ‘ifs’ and no ‘buts’ and I only got to get down when the bowl is cleaned of the last grain of rice. A gentle swish of the lethal rotan was all it was needed to remind me to focus on the task at hand.

When I was old enough to be ‘promoted’ to a place at the dining table, I was initially not allowed to scoop the dishes for myself. I would have to politely asked Sis or Poppa or whoever was next to me to oblige me and had to observe the etiquette on the table. No messy spills of soups or rice or dishes would be tolerated and I could only get down from the chair after every grain of rice is wiped off from the plate. It’s bad manners to be untidy and messy and shows disrespect for the elders, momma would extol. Count our blessings that we have food on the table and to waste and throw away food is a sin. Don’t make the Gods unhappy and ya, thunderclaps and lightning are signs of God's displeasure. And worse, a messy eater will marry a spouse with pocked-marked or ‘crater’ face, momma often foretold. That was more than enough to train little babas and nyonyas to be neat, clean and tidy. If at all, the little ones were still untidy, they would be quickly removed from the dining table and 'demoted' once more to the sidelines…..back to the rattan chair and the accompanying long and thin rotan.

I recall too, that the lethal rotan was often proudly displayed in most households - hung up on the kitchen wall or on the wooden door. It was a formidable weapon used to ensure the little ones toe the line….from instilling discipline and manners to 'rewards' for bringing home colourful school report cards. Who has ever heard of child abuse and mental and physical torture and human rights or whatever, then? I for one, had my fair share of feeling the thin rotan landing on my bare lower legs which left red welts that stayed for days and I am none the worse for it. The stinging pain of the rotan on my bare skin is nothing compared to the embarrassment of walking around with the angry red marks that took days to fade.

I used the rotan on my boys too, when they were little. A couple or so of swift flicks on their legs and then making them kneel in front of the family altar to ‘confess’ their wrongdoings were all that was needed to straightened them up. Both of them learned fast and remember well.

I am an old-school momma….I Don’t Spare The Rod.
posted by nyonyapenang at 12:20 AM, |


My dad say if he hits me, his will feel very pain too, in his heart.

But we aren't that naughty until the rotan is needed; we do get threatened sometimes though. Hehe.
  At 3:36 AM Blogger J.T. said:
Oh... the rotan. Frightful memories. Dad did not use it much on the girls but the boys had a good share of it.
Dad's killer stare was enough to make us pee in our pants!
My sister has not spared the rotan either - on her children. She used it once or twice and it has served a painful reminder. Now she just has to say "don't let me bring out the rotan." and her children check themselves and obey. :)
Wow...this post sure brought back lots of memories....i used to eat under the pressure of rotan also! What more i used to be a small and very picky eater. It was pure torture!
  At 8:48 AM Blogger a^ben said:
I think it's essential lor, a few whips so that we'll remember our wrong doings, but of course during the young times only larh` I ever kenak leather belt before` once.. lols when i hid the rotan :P

But kids nowadays.. so bratty I almost take them up and give them a good shake (literally) to stop their wailing in a shopping mall` fulala
  At 9:17 AM Blogger ah nel said:
wuahhh!!!need rotan when feeding time...

smae reason as rice not finish wont get a pretty wife later...

rotan ekcerli i not tat scared but wat it most hurt was being wack by my dady using tat sing sliper n its hard then see on the ka chrng all triangle marks o.O
  At 10:10 AM Blogger Will said:
i too agree sometimes rotan is needed... hahaha

i also got my fair share of rotan when i was small
  At 10:34 AM Anonymous mott said:
OUCH! I kena rotan so many times leh (and not just the legs worrrrr)... even for laughing too much!

So, no rotan for my kids. My formidable voice and horribly "boring" (read : put your hands on the wall for 10's really boring to stay motionless so long...esp for active kids) punishments are enuff to stop both my monkeys from mischievous acts! WAKAKAKAKAKAKAK!!!

And a note to A'Ben... Next time, my kid does the wailing..I will ask you give him a shaking or two!!!!!

  At 11:08 AM Blogger Jonzz said:
The rotan if used sparingly and wisely is good.

Used too much, it will just makes the kids immune or dislike you.
I remembered after being canned by mom, mom will come in to the room with the cream and say 'ok, just now hit which hand, show..' then she will so motherly apply cream on the canned hand and say, 'see lah, pain or not, see next time if you dare to again..' hehehe Ahh..motherly love. canned on us, pain in her heart...
  At 11:43 AM Blogger savante said:
I would be the same. Don't believe in sparing the rod either. Anything out of order and it'd be snap goes the rotan.
  At 2:20 PM Anonymous kat said:
I remember running away from dad and hiding behind my tai-tai (dad's grandmother)! Tai-tai would shield me and dad wouldn't dare go against his grandma!

My rotan has sticky tape at the end, to tape up the splitting ends!! So you can imagine how well-used it is! :D

Those were the days!!. Its seems no different between The Chinese and The Malay, my Mak used to remind us never to throw food especially rice, its a sin!! and she added somemore....the rice will be crying!
As a mother, I kept a rotan also....just to scare my 3 boys when they little..It worked, even though I seldom used it!...:-)
  At 3:46 PM Anonymous zeroimpact said:
I agree with you and I have had my share of being beaten with it too
I just do not comprehend some people running around and yelling spare the rotan
Utter nonsense to me
Sparing means spoiling
  At 5:18 PM Anonymous mumsgather said:
Once kena rotan adi, next time just threaten also quite effective. Hahaha.
  At 7:45 PM Blogger U.Lee said:
This comment has been removed by the author.
  At 7:58 PM Blogger William said:
I believe in tough love. Heh. I used to put the kid my mum was babysitting in front of the TV and shovel the food down his throat with machine-like consistency. Quick and painless.
  At 8:40 PM Blogger Winn said:
u mean u beat ur bros? arent u the youngest? can meh
Another vivid image in my mind end of the rotan got 'open flower'! Hahaha!!
hi day-dreamer,
your dad loves you all lots. like you said you aren't that naughty and i am sure he has his own gentle ways with you and your siblings.
hi j.t.,
when i saw the rotan the other day, it sure brought back memories of my childhood. momma was the disciplinarian and when poppa came home from work and saw the rotan marks on the legs, he would joke, " had 'rotan snacks' for tea?"
hi bibik nyonya,
picky eaters sure needs some 'motivation' by the rotan. hhahaa....
hi a^ben,
my momma won't tolerate 'whiners' and 'cryers'....those that cry non-stop. a few whips of the rotan is enough to stop the whining session pronto.

oh ya, those 'wailing drama' you see should shake the momma as well. hahahah....
hi ah nel,
aiyoh....your ka-ch'ng got triangle marks from the tat sing japanese slipper ar? first time i hear kena wallop pakai selipar. must be very,very painfrul and cannot sit for days liao lidat.

once, i saw my best friend at that time, i think 8 years old lidat...his poppa used the pandan leaves to whip him lar. jialat lor....
hi will,
another rotan 'victim'. hahhaha... turn out all right lar. :)
hi mott, momma with new-age punishment style. good's true, the boys are very active and when you asked them to stay still for 10 minutes, it would feel like an eternity.
hi jonzz,
what you said is true...used too often, then no 'kick' liao.
hi winniethepooh,
hahahaa...i was also like your momma. i'd call the boys and then apply calamine lotion on the welts and then make them go kneel down in front of the altar.
hi savante,
wah.....betul or not? or more like waving the rotan in the air to scare them only?
my momma never believed in 'waving' the rotan. in fact, she'd walk so silently with the rotan behind her back and then **swooosh..**...the sting...adoiii....
Rotan...I have my share of them. Since I am the eldest I am always the one to get it. Like my grandmother will say I am the 'kepala'.

Yup the embaresment from those red welts is enough to make us remember it for ever.

I too do not spare the rod.
hi kat, one smart cookie...know how to go hide behind a most powerful and formidable 'fort' in your tai-tai.

i tried that once...i hid behind my grandpa. but i got 'delayed gratification'.....momma brought out the cane when grandpa went for his afternoon yumcha. i was rewarded with 2 extra strokes. WAAAAAWWAAAA!!!
hi auntieyan,
ya, those were the days. come to think of it, i have not seen a rotan in houses for quite a while already.
i retired mine long time ago. hahaha...
hi zeroimpact,
i used the rotan to discipline my boys.....they kena 'taste' it satu kali or dua...ahhh....they understand better and learn faster what is acceptable and what is not.
hi mumsgather,
ya, kasi kena satu or dua kali and just hang the rotan up....the boys would have understood its uses already. :)
Hi Uncle Lee,
Tell me about it. I have had visits too from friends who brought their kids and they literally turned my house upside down...adoi...kurang ajar betul! And the indulgent parents just sat there, so proud to see how inquistive their future 'scientists' were, checking out every drawer in my house. **pengsansss...

Those days, we also fear the spankings from the schoolteachers. If kena spanked, also dare not tell the parents...if not, kena extra 3 strokes at home.

Now? As much as the teacher raise her voice at the child, the next day, the whole clan...grandma, grandpa, mother and father and maybe a politician and a newspaper reporter will be at the school to seek the teacher out.
Tell me, what is all this coming to?
hi william,
i like your take...'tough love'. hehehee...
and you can feed a toddler? wow....i am impressed. :)
hi winn,
hahahaha....dun care lar....siapa salah...siapa kena saje.
hi king's wife,
hahhahaa..'open flower'?
should have followed kat's style...use sticky tape.

my momma would just chop of the 'opened flower' end and use again until it's too short and then get a new one.
  At 1:58 AM Blogger angel said:
Liu liu liu... heh boh chiu...
Jiak kay bak, oon tao ew...
Jiak tin nah, lao bak ew...

Ada sekali, I kena rotan by my form teacher in Std 3... die-die i shall remember that Ms. Cheong!!! She very garang wan... u see, last time, got this one text book, dad couldn't get it from me cos always out of stock. So what he did was, I pinjam from friend, then he'll go photostat it... then, I use that photostat copy mya buku lor... but I malu ma... so, in class, I put the book under the table, my hands also under the table. Then the cikgu ask me to put my hands on the table, I tak mau... a few times she asked, I geleng kepala... so then ma kena rotan ... damn suei that cikgu... :(

Itu gua mya 'tin nah' story lor... my momma is fierce enuff, so she didnt need to use the tin nah often to ajar me... she shout, I takut liao...
  At 1:59 AM Blogger angel said:
Oops... I meant to say dad couldn't get it *FOR* me, not from me lar... ish...
  At 2:47 PM Blogger eve said:
Though I get threatened often enough with rotan , I tak pernah kena..but then last time , kitorang kuai kuai belaka one..mana ada macam budak budak sekarang?..Betui tak?..
  At 3:51 PM Blogger famil said:
"my momma would just chop of the 'opened flower' end and use again until it's too short and then get a new one. "

whoaaa nyonya.. didnt know you're that naughty.. need more than one rotan :p

my oarents relied on nature.. usually it's the ubi branch... heh heh. mostly cocunut lidi.. but by the time she finished trimming the leaf into rotan, she cooled down already.
  At 8:45 PM Blogger may said:
my mom never spared the rotan either, hahaha! she even pinched me sometimes when I'm really naughty! parents today might find it cruel, but heck... we all needed those painful reminders and discipline. a little rotan-ing always helps, I'd say... ;-)
hi angel,
hahhaha....the poem...poem....i remember i put that poem in your comment box many, many moons ago.
here's another one for you :-
liu, liu, liu
hare oo chiew
san kiew-kiew
chay beh lien chiew-chiew

ya lar...last time itu cikgus, semua also garang macam harimau lidat - pakai ruler lar...feather duster lar....
Gua kena 'minor' offence nia, so rewarded with 1 smack of the ruler.
hi eve,
those days, nyonya mommas ruled with a 'rotan-hand'. :)
hi famil,
hahaha...naughty? ada jugak lar. but i remember my momma hor....everything she asked, also must do on the double mia. for eg. she'd call out for shower time and if by 2 minutes still not in the bathroom, she'd come from behind with one swift whip of the rotan....adoooi....WAAAAA...WAAA
hi may,
**ouucch...** i remember getting cubits from momma, especially when i am bored and restless and cannot keep still eg. when watching a long-winded movie in the cinema. :P
  At 6:31 AM Blogger PEARLY said:
hi dear :

  At 11:50 AM Blogger Kenny Ng said:
Hmm... my dad never rotan me before, my mom very seldom, but my uncles did a lot... haha.
hi pearly, use rolling pin and wooden spoon ar? sure lar the kids quickly behave themselves...nobody wants to test how a rolling pin or a wooden spoon feels on the bum. kena liao, 3 days also cannot sit down lar. hahahah....
don't play-play with this mummy oh!

and you also have the rotan for company during meals times are? hahahah....
for me, my momma showed the rotan to make sure i sit still and quickly finish my rice...and no walking around or playing allowed.
nyonya momma all very fierce wan lar.

thank you for your compliment, pearly. i am glad you enjoyed this post as it brings back your childhood memories too.

have a good day!
hi kenny, dad 'out-sourced' the 'rotan-ning' to your uncles ar?
  At 4:57 PM Anonymous JL said:
gua pun kena kon-low-mee and the kneeling thing before... works like a charm :P
hi jl,
kon-lou meen? hahhaha....
you had some servings to last a lifetime, huh?
and kneeling too?
see, all these time-tested methods never fail to deliver ya?

you have a great day.
  At 9:18 PM Blogger Chen said:
The Ministry of Rotan :)
last time huh, i very good girl wan
never kena rotan before :P
hi dr chen,
Ministry of Rotan pulak. hahhah

i know...i believe you - you are a very kwai-kwai one. :)

err...ah boy also good boy hor? so no rotan in your house lar.
  At 12:16 AM Anonymous marsha said:
erm....I admit, I don't spare the rod either. But I don't use the rod or the rotan.

I think my kids will have phobias of ever using a hanger to hang their clothes or using a wooden back-scratcher to ease their itches in their adult years! Ha ha ha ha ha....basically I grab anything I can find. Thank goodness, I've never grabbed an iron before. I always feel awful after hitting them. but I think occassionally, when used in the right situation, canning is useful.

just don't use it too often....
  At 5:17 AM Blogger PEARLY said:
yes dear you did bring me back lot of rotan time hahha.
guess I had the same like winnie ,when my mum cane me , that
she will wait until I asleep and come in to my room rub me with chinese heb and I can see tear in her eyes , will that time I don't know why she cane me and cry and put medis on me , now I am a mummy I know, cane on the skill pain in all mummy heart .guess everyone here who mummy are the same .
hi marsha,
huwaah..... use clothes hanger and wooden back-scratcher. adoiii.....sakiiiiittt....

i believe all mommies are the same....putting cane/rotan to bottoms in their fit of anger and then feeling horrible afterwards. i do get upset with myself for losing my head.
"That time I don't know why she cane me and cry and put medis on me."

At that time, we were too young to understand what is mommy's love. We were confused and we did not understand that they punished and disciplined us because they want to teach us well.
Now that we are mommies ourselves, we know. I always tell my boys, I have to appear to be the wicked mother because I care and love them lots....I have to teach and guide because I want them to turn up good.

You are a wonderful wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt and a great friend. I am proud to be your friend.

Have a great day. :)
  At 2:49 PM Blogger PEARLY said:
gud day to you dear , you too a best mum in town , we all are , I guess you and me are the same, rise up in the tradition way , with ratan and ect didn't turn up bad huh.

I am so glad to be your friend on net at this moment but I am promise when I am back to malaysia I will take you out for nyonya food .
hi pearly,
thank you so much for your kind words. i appreciate it lots.

i sure look forward to meet up with you when you are back in Malaysia next.
and should the opportunity arise fro me to visit England, it would be great to visit you too.

let's keep the date. :)
i was i believe in caning of course! but i think my son kena caned till thick skin leow!
  At 1:57 AM Blogger PEARLY said:
oh yes nyonyapenang you are very welcoem to visit me in england will show you around and will also bring you to visit the lated lady Diana birth home is not far from us just around 20 min driver

you can come together with aunty penny heheeh
hi laundryamah,
i guess the cane have to be used sparingly. last time, the rotan was hung on the wooden wall of the house and each time we walk passed it, we get the shivers. hahhhaa....
hi pearly,
thank you for your kind offer. i may just take it up one day. and visiting with auntie penny? sounds good too, ya?

you have a great weekend. :)
  At 12:34 AM Blogger doc said:
all hail the Rotan - greatest invention since infant formulae!!
I think its the best way to teach kids even for today, I used to kena rotan everytime i did something naughty until my teacher tot i was abused... hahaha..gerori~
  At 9:35 AM Blogger Chen said:
ah boy kena "rotan" many times liao
hahhaha... not with rotan but with my hands :P
  At 1:45 AM Anonymous Angeleyes said:
wah Nyonya so strict with your boys ah?

I think most of us 'kena' the rotan's taste since we were young and I don't deny using on Darrius too! The only thing is, this litte monster will smile at me when I swing the rotan on his butts!

Btw, can you update your link to my new site? Thanks!!!!
hi doc,
power to the rotan! :P
hi monk[+]icon,
wah...another confession here. hahahah....
see, how well you turn out? the rotan cannot be that bad, after all ya?
dr chen, serve ah boy roti jari ar? i am sure he does not like it. hahahhaa...
hi angeleyes,
gua very garang wan. hahahaha....

i had to do 'formal introduction' of the rotan to the boys. hehehe.... after that, just a casual reminder to them once a while, can liao.

oh yes, i have been wanting to do the update. thanks for the reminder. :)
  At 11:15 AM Blogger Bernard said:
Liu liu liu
Heh boh chiu
Jiak ti na
Lau bak eu.

Ho jiak boh?
hi aiyah nonya,
oopsss....sorry, i just realised i missed out my reply to you. m apologies again.

ya, heard that line re: 'being the kepala' and all...catch the leader and the rest will toe the line.

gua ini, the youngest but still not spared the taste of the rotan. betul punya, like you said...will remember for a long, long time.
hi bernard, sooo cruel....summore asked me ho chiak boh! hahahaha....

but i should say, i had some 'gourmet' servings that i remember sampai sekarang. :D
  At 7:45 PM Blogger Sasha said:
wuah 75 comments!!!!

nyonya u vely happening.

so keng until!!!!!

i forgot what i want to say!!!