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EUNICE LI DAN YUE

Caning a child is never a good idea

I refer to the article "Police called in over parents hitting child with cane and tree branch in public" (The New Paper, May 20).

Hitting a child in public is not advisable. It hurts the child's dignity, and may cause distress and alarm among onlookers.

Children can be scarred for life by such actions of their parents.

Often, parents cane their children when their anger is at boiling point and they may cross the line between corporal punishment and physical abuse.

And caning may not be the best way to teach children right from wrong.

A better approach would be for the parents to wait till they have cooled down, then sit their children down and explain to them what they have done wrong, so that they will not make the same mistakes in future.

GAN KOK TIONG

MORE CIVIL SERVANTS NEEDED ON THE GROUND

The reported call by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean that Singapore's public service must be "in touch, in tune and in time" is wise and serves as a wake-up call for civil servants to serve citizens as best they can.

One particular aspect is for civil servants to be less desk-bound and more at public places where they can make physical observations of happenings that suggest public unhappiness, or facilities that need to be improved upon.

This is better than waiting for complaints or feedback from the public to trickle in, given that the majority of our citizens are the silent type.

Even a single complaint should spark immediate attention at the scene.

However, it is much harder to be timely with action that is inter-departmental or involves different ministries unless the whole of the civil service works as one co-ordinated agency and not as individual silos.

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