19 July 2011
Local Wisdom Again- "Don't touch other people's children"
In the Dusun culture, beating a child as a form of disciplining is allowed, but only as a last resort. But even when beating is done, there is a rule as to who can beat the child and who can't. Most people would expect it to be the parents' responsibility, although I've also seen other family members who are 'higher in rank' (older brothers, uncles, aunties) who did that. But NEVER an outsider.
So was it a wonder that there is always a mixed-reaction when a teacher in school resorts to beating in order to discipline a pupil? On one hand, it is okay to some parents as perhaps to them the rank of the teacher is equal to 'family members'. On the other hand, this is a no-no to some parents, because touching others' children is unheard of in the community.
In fact I was reading Tuaran Adat and Dusun Custom of Putatan District the other day, and discovered that somebody who beats somebody else's child has to pay sogit in the form of animal to the child's parents. Something that requires a sogit is indeed a serious thing in the community. Upon reflection, I think it is a very wise thing indeed. Let each family discipline theirs.