Cutting air pollution, improving education should not be just for foreigners' sake

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 25 February, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 25 February, 2012, 12:00am


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I refer to the comments of David O'Rear, chief economist of the General Chamber of Commerce ('Plea to improve public schools', February 14).

He groundlessly asserted that the local system has failed to meet the demand for quality education and proposed the improvement of local schools as a means to segregate local and foreign children into different schools.

This is half-baked economics. The apposite economic question is why there are so many expatriates in Hong Kong to take advantage of the city's innocent generosity. They usurp career and education opportunities that should rightfully be available to local people with talent. Foreign countries should be told to better manage their economies to reduce unemployment and the export of foragers for opportunity.

Apparently still influenced by years of colonial delusion, most Hongkongers acquiesce in ridiculous ideas such as we must clean up pollution for the sake of foreigners and we must have spare subsidised international school places ready at all times for expatriates' children.

It is as if they are saying foreigners are superior and their benefit is the unquestionable justification for social costs that otherwise we would not have to consider financing.

Hundreds of thousands of our children are disciplined to apply themselves in the local education system through their formative years, trusting that their efforts will be fairly rewarded. However, when expatriates criticise our system, our lawmakers on the legislature's education panel unthinkingly concur, suddenly recognising that our schools are inferior to the city's foreign schools and are in dire need of improvement.

Lawmaker Cheung Man-kwong, the functional constituency representative of the education sector, is already in a hurry to insist that local enrolment in international schools must be restricted so that foreigners can always find places for their children whenever they choose to come.

Professor Kong Qingdong's remark that Hongkongers are 'running dogs for the British government' was outrageous because he was overly sarcastic. However, his cynicism may not be groundless, because even some of our most popular legislators appear so cowed by foreigners that they support segregation and have betrayed their duty to defend our children's scholastic reputation and educational freedom.

Anna Tse, Mid-Levels