Hands up if you already winced upon reading the title! Memories of our childhood are often bittersweet, but the memories triggered from this post are gonna be nothing but bitter. Whoever came up with the proverb “spare the rod and spoil the child“, I hate you.
Far from sparing the rod, my parents were resourceful when it came to choosing a tool to execute punishment. Talking to my friends about our childhood one day brought me to a realisation – that I wasn’t the only one.
Here are 10 things commonly used by Asian parents as weapons to discipline us when we were young, in increasing levels of pain.
1. The Cane
Ahh yes. The Cane. The classic choice for mothers across all Asian households. Available for purchase at your nearest mama shop (how convenient!), these canes come in a nice variety of coloured handles, length, and flexibility.
Your mum received a complaint that you were overly talkative in class? Whip. Didn’t submit your homework? Whip. You’d know your classmates got a good whooping as well if you saw them sporting the tell-tale red striped marks on their skin the next day.
2. The Hanger
The Hanger was unlocked as a weapon shortly after you first learned to hide the cane. Thought that you could avoid punishment by hiding it? Wrong.
A satisfactory replacement, our mothers commonly turned to these clothes hangers to dish out the appropriate punishment if they were unable to locate the whereabouts of the cane.
Put your hands out. Grit your teeth. Rinse and repeat.
3. The Plastic Scrub
You’d think that the soapiness of The Scrub would decrease friction and therefore pain, but no. It’s like your mother’s hand + 120% pain.
The compact size of the scrub does limit its hitting range though, and you soon learned to dodge the brush at lightning speed, making it a creative way to practice shuttle run.
4. The Free-For-All
It could be anything, really. Although most times you’d find the remote control flying in your direction, or the water bottle.
Whatever it was, you’d invoked your mother’s irrevocable rage. She wanted to hit you, and she wanted to do it fast. Anything within arm’s reach was good to go.
5. The Feather Duster
A more flamboyant version of the cane, The Feather Duster comes with minor upgrades. The increase in length transforms it from an ordinary house cleaning tool to a terrible mid-range weapon in your mother’s hands.
And that’s not the end of it – the dust from the feathers would irritate your eyes as she swung the handle towards you, and you could no longer escape. Oh no. Well, not that you could have in the first place.
6. The Rubber Slipper
Not just any slipper, but this particular one. A serious upgrade from weapons one to five, The Rubber Slipper is capable of significant harm. One slap from this can send you three seconds into the future.
Legend has it that three good smacks can exorcise any demons from you.
7. The Umbrella
10 out of 10 Asian kids have experienced the prowess of this multi-purpose item. Used mostly in public spaces (usually because there was nothing else on hand), The Umbrella deals as much damage as the plastic scrub.
However, its real threat lies in the public embarrassment caused, thereby pressuring you to stop your nonsense at once. Yes, everyone is looking at you. You better behave.
8. The Bamboo Pole
Your mother transforms into Ip man.
You’d know you had gone wayyy overboard when she brought out this bad boy. Reserved for your more serious boo-boos, The Bamboo Pole is a well-rounded weapon with a whooping 4/5 stars for damage range, intimidation, and actual pain dealt.
Maybe you played truant, maybe you stole money. Whatever you did, you know you deserved every single hit. Either that or your mother happened to be putting the clothes out to dry.
9. The Leather Belt
The classic father’s choice for when you had sinned so bad that your dad decided to step in. Normally our fathers are the laid back ones sitting on the sofa reading newspapers (in my household at least), so when he was activated, you know you’re in deep sh*t.
This Asian variant of the cowboy lasso has a damage range of like… 10 metres or something? Like a viper, it strikes hard and it strikes fast, often leaving a wide rectangular-shaped bruise behind.
Seriously, there was no point trying to run from this. You just stood still and accepted your fate; applied Zumbak after and cried to sleep.
10. The Chair
This was the ultimatum. For when you’d done something so unforgivable, even an intervention from the heavens wouldn’t have been able to save you. Your father would enter hulk mode and transform into a WWE wrestler.
Devoid of all reason, he would simply hurl The Chair at you in rage. I’m guessing your best bet was to maybe practise your puppy eye expression to summon your mother for protection?
Weren’t we all so young, rebellious, and stupid? I was spared the onslaught of the heavy-duty objects like the umbrella and belt as a girl, but my brother wasn’t. Err, heng ah. Which weapon did your parents favour?
*This post was written in the name of good fun; under no circumstances do we advocate any form of child abuse. Should you know of any severe cases, please do report it to Child Protective Services at 1800-777 0000.