Changi Prison inmate describes getting 21 strokes of cane in 10 mins: 'From 1 to 10 is very pain already'

Even the toughest men bleed.

Belmont Lay | September 08, 2022, 04:17 PM

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It is very rare in Singapore for former prison inmates to go public and shed light on their experiences behind bars.

One reason is due to the stigma attached to having been imprisoned.

As far as possible, those formerly incarcerated tend not to draw attention to their history and make it known that they are convicted felons with a criminal record, as such information could hamper job prospects.

Insightful look into prison life

However, a recent insightful documentary series, "Inside Maximum Security", laid bare what life is like behind bars here and raised the profile of some of the featured inmates, who have since been released.

The series had the unusual distinction of allowing the public to get to know and understand the motivations of some of the inmates, and eventually, root for them to turn over a new leaf once released.

One inmate, Graceson Ang, 37, whose journey from inside the prison to getting released were documented by CNA, has since gone on record to shed more light on other aspects of prison life.

via CNA

How bad is caning in Singapore prison?

In a podcast by The Bluebird Bros, the topic of caning as punishment was discussed.

A snippet that showed Ang talking about getting caned 21 times in a row in one seating was put up on TikTok.

@thebluebirdbros Simon & Graceson share their caning experience 😭 #bluebirdbros #insidemaximumsecurity #prisonlife ♬ original sound - Bluebird Bros

Permanent scarring

Ang, who is a father of three, said his bottom now has permanent marks, as a result of the scarring from the caning.

The interviewer asked: "Your backside got beautiful painting?"

The effects of the caning, Ang explained, is the same as being branded with a hot iron.

Ang replied: "It's like now you sit on the barbecue pit and then you stand up, there's all the lines."

This elicited laughter from those present.

Caning very painful for men

In response, another inmate on the show said he could barely tolerate being caned three times in a row, let alone receive 21 strokes in one seating.

He said: "I honestly think my tolerance will be at about maybe six, or max, seven (strokes)."

"Six or seven (strokes) is already over my maximum."

When Ang was further questioned at roughly what point he could no longer take the pain of being caned, he said he thought he had hit his limit at the 10th stroke of the cane.

He said: "From one to 10 is very pain already. Then after 11, 12, you feel very hot. Then suddenly you feel very numb, like bah ("numb" in Hokkien)."

He added that he was hoping the caning session could be sped up, but there was a prison officer keeping time and counting the strokes administered.

Ang disclosed that he was caned 21 times in about 10 minutes.

Prison inmates act tough inside

The other inmate in the discussion added that prison culture causes the men inside to act tough and claim to one another that caning is not painful.

He said he was told by those inmates who have been caned before and wear the marks on their behind: "No lah, not pain lah."

He called them out on that and said there was no way caning does not cause pain.

According to the comments section of the TikTok video, the full chat will be uploaded on the Bluebird Bros YouTube channel soon.


CNA reported that Ang's most recent run-in with the law saw him sentenced to six years and five months in jail, plus 21 strokes of the cane for carrying weapons, drug consumption and criminal intimidation.

He was incarcerated for nearly four years, owing to the two-third remission rule here.

At the tail-end of his sentence, he was transferred from prison to a halfway house on May 25, before he is allowed to transition back fully to polite society after six months there.

The halfway house stint is part of the Singapore Prison Service community-based programme for inmates who are about to be released.

Ang was a secret society member.

He has been jailed four times.

Prior to this latest prison stint, he had been jailed before and was sentenced to three strokes of the cane previously.

He has a history of carrying different weapons on at least three separate occasions.

On one occasion, he wanted to slash another man to teach him a lesson on not messing with another man's wife.

Top photos via Bluebird Bros & CNA