Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Weird stuff: reward or punish for doing well in sports?

This country that I dearly love is skilled at sending mixed signals.
The government has just said it will dole out substantial amounts of money to athletes, and their coaches, who bring home medals from the Beijing Olympics.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

Two government schools have punished their sports-minded kids, either disqualifying them or withholding their prizes. Why? For dressing appropriately when competing in cross-country runs. In other words they were sensible enough to wear shorts. For this good sense, they were punished.

At one school, of the 10 students coming in first on a 5 km cross country run, only two (not the winners) were give prizes. Worse, according to parents of the others, as quoted in The Star newspaper, they were initially given false excuses (e.g. "The number pinned on your shirt is torn") - presumably because the teachers involved didn't have enough guts to give the real reason!!

It sounds as if - and I could be wrong here - that teachers of one religious persuasion didn't have the courage to tell the parents of students (possibly mostly of other religious persuasions) that they wanted to impose their religious values on everyone under their jurisdiction. They did tell lies though, and considered that ok?

It reminds me of my daughter when attending the local primary school down the road. She and her fellow students worked out that the teacher for art marked down every painting of a beach scene (the topic given that day) - no matter how brilliant - if it portrayed a female in a swimsuit. Marking art on the basis of your religious values? You betcha! Not having the guts to tell the kids what you were doing? Yep, that too!

My daughter was tickled pink because she got top marks. She was lousy at doing figures, so all her people were up to their necks in the ocean...

8 comments:

hrugaar said...

The cross-country story I'm not famliar with ... but the (British) schools I went to had a strict uniform code for sports, so if for example we had turned up for cross-country in our school football kit instead of the required athletics kit (white gym kit) we would have been penalised in some way.

The beach painting incident, I'm torn between laughing at the ridiculousness of it and being disturbed by shadows of oppression lurking behind it. Especially as there was no reason to lie about it at all. In fact the teacher ould have said from the start "Let's paint the beach and the wildlife, but no people today" and avoided the problem (unless it was actually a sneaky underhand ploy to find out and promote those children who already displayed the approved 'correct values' in their work, and penalise the infidels...)

Question: at the Olympics, will your female team members (if there are any) be required to cover their heads while competing?

Glenda Larke said...

No, they will all wear appropriate sport's gear. I am not sure, though, what would happen if one of them wanted to wear headgear or long trousers...

BTW, men are supposed to be covered from waist to knee, so Islamic dress code covers men too. Oo, that was a nice pun.

hrugaar said...

Covered, heh. But some men should be covered from head to toe...

Anonymous said...

I have left comments previously Glenda and they don't appear. Great story. You are a real stirrer. I love it.

Also, about that Russian cover. It looks like romulans on Star Trek. What is it with those guys?

Donna

Glenda Larke said...

Ah, the Romulans go everywhere...

inkpawprints said...

lol, it happens. I'm not sure that it's completely concious half the time to be honest. The art teacher probably didn't even consider that the kids would draw women in swim suits (because she'd never think of doing so) until it was too late.

Can't remember any occasions from school so much, but at university doing a creative writing course, it was pretty much impossible to get higher than a 2i for anything but literary fiction, whereas it was just about impossible to get mid-low marks for literary stuff (I don't understand it, therefore it must be good :P). There was also one tutor that it was something of a joke about - if you wanted to get top marks you wrote a script about a depressed, middle aged man - I forget the specifics that would alegedly get you top marks ;)

Glenda Larke said...

Oh dear, dunno whether to laugh or cry...

Jo said...

Isn't it ridiculous, they will wear proper sportswear at the Olympics but not at home. I am not sure what the religion is in Malaysia, sounds like Muslim, but surely that's the wrong part of the world? Oh, I just looked it up, Islam is predominant. Didn't know that before.