Flogged in Public during Childhood

Growing up in our neighborhood is fun. We formed our own cliché, composed of my siblings and I, my cousins, and our neighbors. As a group, we had a de-facto authority in the person of our older member we call “Manong”. Our activities consist primarily of talking about anything, everything and nothing and which usually ends up with ourselves slapping each other in hysterical laughter, tears and exhilaration.

One night, on a summer, while we were holding our usual conversation at a waiting shed fronting the public highway, my mother came with her custom-made whip and without saying anything (which is unlikely that night), she whipped my brothers and me, one by one in front of the crowd. She was obviously furious, she didn’t care which part of our body the whip landed – we were usually beaten on our buttocks or thighs but at that time I nurse a pain

She was obviously furious, she didn’t care which part of our body the whip landed – we were usually beaten on our buttocks or thighs but at that time I nurse a pain in my arms. It is not the first nor is it the last public flogging in town because some members of the neighborhood have shared this tradition to discipline their children. In fact, the parents seemingly take great pride out of this practice such that when they talk among themselves, they talk about the length and thickness and the type of whip they employ or otherwise they share innovative ideas about how to hurt and scare the wits of their naughty children.

My hands are dirty mum!
My hands are dirty mum!

In fact, the parents in the neighborhood, seemingly take great pride out of this practice, such that when they talk among themselves, they talk about the length and thickness and the type of whip they employ. Otherwise they share innovative ideas about how to hurt and scare the wits off their naughty children.

We were ordered straight home. I did not feel anything, not a pain yet, not even a sense of public humiliation maybe because I am used to it since I was very young and mine is worst – remember the chilis. Pained and shamed, my brother, our second in the order of four, who hardly say anything about anything, confronted my mother in tears bravely recounting how my mother could have at least be a little kind and considerate for in spite of everything, we never ventured into drugs, alcohol and bad company and the fact that we were good in school and never burdened them with the obligation of paying for our education. Dah dah. And I would have added, that I cooked and cleaned the house and watched over my brothers everytime she is away – which is always often.

I listened to their confrontation, sometimes making snide remarks here and there and since I was not the main actor, I content myself on the sidelines, proud but hurt for my brother. Sick and tired of all the punishment I have had for as long as I can remember, my heart is wanting to stamp out any negative feeling aroused from the event and yet my mind cannot ignore the dark clouds threatening above me ready to explode with a heavy mass of anguish and vengeance.

The early morning after, my uncle came to lecture my mother (my father was away for work). I don’t know how he knew but of course, the wind has ears. Our “manong” came and spoke with my mother and assured her that for as long as he is around we will always be safe.

My mother instead of feeling a sense of satisfaction from the punishment and the humiliation we got the other night, was upset and maybe embarrassed and remorseful herself. From that time on, we experienced a freedom unknown from our previous adventures, in fact sometimes we go hiking as far as the mountains, picnicking at the falls, swimming at the beach every afternoon and sneaking out at night for our usual ‘laughter is the best medicine’ conversations.

I think that that was the turning point of my mother’s career as a Spartan disciplinarian.

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