This letter was in the ST today, and it had me in stitches. A parent wrote in to complain about his son having to participate in a rather dangerous orientation game called taupok (Dried compressed beancurd). This is the kind of thing that leads to kids not telling their parents anything about their lives. It only leads to public ridicule, which is a fate worse than death for teens.
First of all, the parent did not hesitate to tell the readers of the paper that his precious boy-boy is studying "in a premier junior college in the Bishan-Ang Mo Kio area". Why? Scared people don't know, issit? You cannot say, my son studying in a JC, issit? Must let the whole world know it is premier. Why? Premier will get better service issit (Premier Taxi like that)? Or are you appalled that this kind of thing usually associated with low-end Non-Premier JCs can actually happen in your son's Premier JC?
Secondly, his son "feels obliged to join in due to peer pressure, as everyone else is doing it". Dude, you have bigger problems in your hands than taupok. If your son is uncomfortable, and thinks this activity is bogus and dangerous (which it probably is, or JC students wouldn't do it), shouldn't he learn to have a mind of his own, and walk away, or even complain himself? Instead his daddy has to write into the papers on his behalf. Or are we waiting for the school to teach the subject of "Handling Peer Pressure"?
Thirdly, I think we may have forgotten that in a taupok situation, it may not be just guys jumping in. You may get taupoked by 20 Ru Hua (如花), and that is certainly worth a few broken bones.
I'd hate to be his son now. You try going back to school to face your peers after your daddy wrote a letter to the press, ruining everyone's orientation games.
Remember kiddies, practice Safe Taupok. Or else your daddy will complain for you.
I can imagine years from now, another letter to the Army:
"I am a parent of a NSMan who just graduated from a premier junior college in the Bishan-Ang Mo Kio area. Recently, it has come to my attention that army training is threatening to compromise the safety of premier NS recruits.
According to my son, the violent act is dubbed 'blanket party', a reference to the use of a blanket to cover the recruit in question. A recruit would shout 'blanket party' and other recruits would pounce on the targeted person, drag him down forcefully and cover him with a blanket. Because the guy is a sibeh sabo king for failing his IPPT, his platoon mates will rain blows on him until he pengsan. Please look into it, because my son's fair skin bruises easily, and I am afraid it may be life-threatening. Oh, and also please stop his platoon mates from teaching him how to smoke, swear and chiong Geylang.
Coming up next, a mother complains about her daughter's sports bra being ogled at because of The Water Bomb Game.
On the topic of over-protectiveness, Sammyboy forumer, ZiRhk, cited a story about a colleague:
Once during lunch, my colleague asked if she could detour to familiarise herself with the route from home to S'pore polytechnic, which her son would be studying soon.
I immediately chided her for being her children's driver and slave, saying that a polytechnic student should be capable of travelling on public transport.
She rebuked me matter-of-factly, "No, I am not ferrying my son to school. I want to know the road in case he forgot his books or whatnots and I can bring it to him!"
(inspired by Terz)
Jan 11, 2005
Put an end to this dangerous JC 'game'
I AM a parent of a boy studying in a premier junior college in the Bishan-Ang Mo Kio area. Recently, it has come to my attention that rowdy behaviour is threatening to compromise the safety of the students.
According to my son, the violent act is dubbed 'taupok', a reference to a highly compressible piece of brown beancurd. A student would shout 'taupok' and other students would pounce on the targeted person, drag him down forcefully and climb on top of him. Due to peer pressure, more and more students would join in until the stack of bodies is about a metre high.
This violent act is supposedly done in the name of fun but, as a parent, I feel that it is potentially dangerous and even life-threatening.
Furthermore, the 'taupoking' is not a rare occurrence. It can happen up to five times a day, anywhere and to any person.
During the orientation programme for Year One students, even a person standing on the stage during a performance could get 'taupoked'.
Supposing that an average person weighs 60kg, a typical group of 15 would weigh almost a tonne. Just as a person cannot survive without air for three minutes, I am very sure that the human backbone cannot bear the sheer weight of a thousand kilograms.
What happens if the victim's spine breaks? Or if he sustains any other injuries? Who will bear the consequences?
Fortunately, my son has not been a victim of 'taupoking' yet, but he still feels rather uncomfortable about this dangerous act. Also, he feels obliged to join in due to peer pressure, as everyone else is doing it.
Some would say that 'taupoking' is perfectly safe if one assumes the correct position, with one's elbows and forearms touching the floor so as to support the weight, like in rugby. However, not everyone knows the correct position to take, and when surprised one might also forget to assume that position.
I write this letter in the sincere hope of preventing a tragedy. Hopefully, we can keep 'taupok' where it belongs - in that delicious bowl of noodles.
Justin Situ Ren Jun