National education in Hong Kong

Self-important and judgmental teens need moral and national education

PUBLISHED : Friday, 20 July, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 20 July, 2012, 12:00am

The latest entrant to Hong Kong's democratic movement is formed by a group of mostly high school teenagers who are not yet eligible to vote.

For the group's moniker, they coin the word 'scholarism' and bestow themselves a bumptious Chinese title - 'studious citizens' contemplative tide'. But nothing scholarly is evident in this crowd. The group's convener is Joshua Wong Chi-fung, a Form Four student.

He preaches political activism on Scholarism's website, proclaiming (my translation from the Chinese) that 'no standing mud [sic], no accomplishment; standing mud [sic] provides a survival chance'. 'Standing up' in his colloquial expression became 'standing mud'. On the mainland, no primary school graduate would make such blatant literal blunders. A positive observation about Scholarism is that it hasn't referred pretentiously to any scholarly theory for its movement's orientation. But this also reflects the group's ignorance about ideational battles that have long been fought in the arena it has just entered and its disrespect for authorities.

These youngsters formed their own group rather than trusting any of the city's myriad democratic parties to voice their political platitudes.

They demand direct dialogue with top officials, pretending that they have fresh ideas to contribute. They probably don't realise that citizens can't table a bill and ask legislators to arrange for its reading and that appellate judges don't have to hear every appeal application. These self-important and judgmental teenagers lecture when they should be taught. They mouth respect for critical thinking but show no interest in developing the grounds and skills of critical acumen.

Their socio-political conscience is arrested by their own vacuous anti-communist slogans. Brainwashed by the city's simple-minded democrats, the group's teenagers have an unrealistic ATM view of entitlements, as though pushing demagogic buttons should yield instant political gratification. They should learn that every nation must first develop political capital before it may process democratic input.

They need moral and national education to learn proper discipline. I would urge those who oppose national education to read James Loewen's Lies My Teacher Told Me about falsehood and Eurocentric indoctrination purposefully propagated in the US where 'textbooks are not about teaching history but for building character'.

Pierce Lam, Central