terse & at large

GRRRRR. Arrrgh. And sometimes a travel log.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005


Sometimes, parents will let boys be boys. And sometimes, they let boys be girls:

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

But most of the time, they can't help telling the whole world how bloody smart their preciousssss is supposed to be... "...a premier junior college in the Bishan-Ang Mo Kio area..." indeed.


  • At 8:35 AM, January 11, 2005, Blogger NARDAC said…

    Wow! It's an international phenomenon. In france they called in "moulon," in english "pile-on." I don't think anyone dies from this. I'd hate to be a child in your country. Next thing you know, they're going to outlaw hop-scotch.

    btw, your little intro was SEXIST! ahahahaha! I'll remember to taupok you the next time I see you, just so you see what it's like to have tits. ;p

  • At 10:11 AM, January 11, 2005, Blogger cour marly said…

    Ahaaaahahaha. They are in for a rude shock when NS comes around. And his boy is so going to get it in school today.

  • At 11:15 PM, January 11, 2005, Blogger stellou said…



    I've said it before, I'll say it again: I LOVE the Straits Times forum page.

    Meanwhile, hello, dude doesn't realize he doesn't have to worry about broken spines 'cause, as any Channel 8 cooking show can tell him, *a* *taupok* *doesn't* *have* *a* *spine*. To quote Adrian Tan in The Teenage Textbook (or do I mean The Teenage Workbook?): "Ta-dah! Ta-dah! Ta-dah ta-dah ta-dah!"

    Or something lah.

  • At 2:01 PM, January 12, 2005, Blogger Terz said…

    Mr Brown said it already... what's more worrying is a boy in a premier junior college (bear in mind that only the top 20% of each cohort actually make it to JC) can't decide for himself that he shouldn't participate in the 'taupok' if he didn't feel comfortable about it... I wonder if that's grounds for rejecting his admission and sending him to a non-premier JC?


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