My Take
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 29 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 August, 2013, 3:19am

Scholarism and I just don't get along


Alex Lo is a senior writer at the South China Morning Post. He writes editorials and the daily “My Take” column on page 2. He also edits the weekly science and technology page in Sunday Morning Post.

The children from Scholarism refuse to have dinner with Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying. That was the headline news. Frankly I am at a loss as to why that was considered news. It's a bit like "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung starting another protest. But it did interest me as I am one of the other guests.

Scholarism convenor Joshua Wong Chi-fung said the group turned down the invitation as any meeting with officials should be "open and transparent". Okay, whatever Josh. Unlike those kids, I'm a sucker for a free lunch, or dinner. I am also a big eater. Maybe I will just take Josh's portions if I may, Mr Chief Executive. There is no point letting good food go to waste. Leung's wife, after all, is involved in a controversial food-recycling firm.

The dinner is part of a series of informal meals Leung is hosting to gauge views on political reforms from a cross-section of society. I have been, strangely, grouped with the "scholars". Actually, if the kids had bothered to do some language research, they might find their name means rather the opposite of what they intended it to mean. It does not mean scholastic or scholarly. Another example of declining English standards, perhaps? To find a full exposition, check out this amusing blog called, "Learn English or Starve". But who needs proper English when you can have full democracy? Let's all vote on the meanings of words. Dictionaries are so elitist - dictating what words can mean!

Anyway, as many people know, Scholarism and I don't get along. Just in case you are not from Hong Kong, the group was launched by several secondary school kids and came to prominence in their successful fight against the government's attempt to introduce national and moral education in public schools. I wrote a nasty column about the protest they led last year outside Leung's office in Admiralty. It went viral, and overnight I became public enemy No1. During the rally, the kids refused to meet Leung, who had offered to meet them. Later, they put a chair on stage for Leung and demanded he meet them there and then.

Now the kids are branching out and frying bigger fish: full universal suffrage. If Leung really wants to meet Josh and his gang, I suggest he invites everyone but Scholarism and go on TV to declare he will never, ever, meet them.

The kids will be clamouring for a meeting in no time.


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