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LETTER | Boys also subjected to demeaning actions in residential schools

Anonymous

Published
Modified 24 Apr 2021, 5:35 am

LETTER | This happened when I was in residential college in Johor about 10 years ago. I witnessed an event where all the Malay boys were summoned downstairs because someone broke some rules. I can't remember what rule it was, but I think it had something to do with cigarettes or theft.

It was late in the evening and dark. They were made to line up in a row on the basketball court. I could roughly see what was going on from my room on the 4th floor, but we couldn't see very clearly. The discipline teachers and ustaz came to interrogate the boys.

When the interrogation was over, the boys came up and didn't say anything. Much later, we asked our friends to clarify what just happened. They told us that the ustaz went to each boy one by one and rubbed their nipple with his index finger as part of the interrogation. He said that rubbing the nipples was a method used to find out if someone is telling the truth.

I have no idea whether they caught the misbehaving boy. Nobody complained about it because either they were too embarrassed or genuinely thought that this was a normal interrogation method. I also have no idea why the non-Malays were spared from the horrifying ordeal.

What I do know is that there is a systemic and institutional problem. It also affects boys as well.

Bear in mind that the students were completely at the mercy of the teachers. Even if the boys were to report this to their parents, I would say that the parents would rather trust the word of the ustaz rather than a 'misbehaving boy'.


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