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Singapore Victim Describes Pain Of Caning

April 23, 1994 GMT

LONDON (AP) _ A Singapore man who was punished by 12 strokes of a cane said he was still having nightmares about it 23 years later.

″The pain burns in your mind long after it is over,″ the unidentified man said in an account published Oct. 12, 1988, in The New Paper, an English- language tabloid for young people published in Singapore.

His case was cited by Amnesty International as an example of the long-term effects of flogging. The human rights group has urged Singapore to outlaw flogging, a practice being debated in the United States because of the case of Michael P. Fay.


The American-teenager was sentenced in Singapore to six lashes for vandalism, a punishment expected to be carried out soon, despite appeals from as high up as President Clinton.

On Friday, Fay’s mother, Randy Chan, delivered five bundles of names from the United States, Britain, Singapore and Hong Kong of people protesting the sentence as cruel.

But the government has mostly shrugged off the clamor. About 1,000 people are flogged as a punishment in Singapore each year, according to official figures.

The account in The New Paper probably was published to frighten youths away from crime.

″There were five of us who were to be flogged that afternoon. Each of us hoped that we would be the last. The flogging warder would have tired by then. But as it turned out, I was the first.

″Two prison warders took me to the flogging room. I found that I needed them as support later. My legs went weak when I saw the flogging warder bending the cane with both hands. He was warming up for me.

″The warder was very muscular and big-sized. He looked right through me as if I wasn’t there. Another warder stripped me and strapped me to a wooden trestle by my ankles and wrists. By then I was already shivering and perspiring with fear.

″Then I heard the cane. It wounded like a plank hitting the wall. A split second later I felt it was tearing across my buttocks. I screamed and struggled like a mad animal. All I thought was that I want to run away. If I’m not tied up, one stroke could keep me running for a mile.

″And I just could not control my screams. It went on and on, one stroke, one minute. Some lashes fall on the same spot, splitting open the skin even more.

″Some prisoners urinate and even faint because of the pain. I felt giddy and went limp on the trestle at the last stroke. My bleeding buttocks throbbed with pain and felt like they were on fire.

″A few prisoners pretend to faint to escape more strokes but the warden will go on flogging to see if you cry out. That’s because if you’re conscious, you will scream.

″After we were flogged, a medical officer applied some antiseptic on the wounds. My buttocks then swelled to twice their normal size. My thighs went blue-black. I had to be without shorts for more than two weeks so that my wounds could heal. I couldn’t sit or sleep on my back or bathe all this time either.

″The pain burns in your mind long after it is over. Until now I have nightmares about it.

″Sometimes my friends who happen to see the scars ask me about them. it is very embarrassing. I tell them that I have had the marks since childhood.″