• Thu
  • Dec 25, 2014
  • Updated: 8:13am
My Take
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 June, 2014, 5:26am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 June, 2014, 5:26am

Talking about core values while ignoring our minorities

Core values are like mission statements. They are things we would like to think we treasure and practise, something to feel good about ourselves. So business leaders have their core values for Hong Kong like a free market and respect for private property. Pan-democrats prefer other things like the rule of law and a free press. Chinese communists like stability, order, prosperity and harmony. There is an element of self-glorification and self-deception in all these - my core values are superior to yours.

Of course, core values, like mission statements, are not necessarily what we practise or practise well. But is it possible to have a negative core value? If it is, here is a possible candidate that I find quite prevalent at most levels of our society - something we believe in and practise, though not so overtly as before. For lack of a better word, let's call it racism. It is the belief and widespread practice, from government to society to our daily life, that we should ignore, and make invisible, ethnic minorities, and deny them benefits and perks we so readily give to the local Chinese, and more so, to the local and mainland elites, and privileged expatriates.

That's why the Education Bureau is perfectly happy to see the well-respected St Margaret's Girls' College in Mid-Levels, which has a majority of ethnic-minority students, being kicked out by its landlord without a permanent campus to relocate to. That's why we have popular textbooks about racial harmony that do nothing but promote racial stereotypes. One text has pupils matching non-Chinese people with different jobs - Filipinos as maids, a South Asian as a construction worker, and a white guy in a suit as a teacher. Another textbook matches "common physical characteristics" like thin and thick lips, "very dark skin" and "curly hair" to white, black, brown and yellow races. What century are we in - back in early British colonial times?

Meanwhile, the bureau in recent years bent over backwards to help the most famous and expensive international schools to expand, with temporary sites and permanent homes. Even the more recent Nord Anglia school in Lam Tin gets tax breaks and free land, though its mother company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. So much for their non-profit, charity status!

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chaz_hen
Hong Kong's "core values" are the hollow words: core values
mymak
Racism can only be fully confronted in Hong Kong once it is extended to include the Government and the civil service. A big chance was missed when these workers were given immunity to behave how they want.
As to expatriates - who is an expatriate Alex? Do you mean whitey? Stop hiding your real views behind convenient racist terminology. Yes the British were terrible racists in early colonial times, but this is now 2014. Why not cite the Romans, or the Japanese, or the Spanish or anyone who has held colonies as your analogy.
Yet another opinion piece/article arguing against racism that is so deeply steeped in racism itself.
ssslmcs01
Reading your article reminded me of a letter to the editor I once read in the SCMP, I believe it was titled “expats antiquated”. So in a way we can say that in accordance with Alex Lo’s point of view that certain minorities, immigrants or born here, are referred to as expatriates, they aren’t viewed the same as other citizens. I’m sure that Alex wouldn’t call an immigrant from China an expatriate, I apologize if I’m wrong about that.
Also in this opinion column, Alex says something about how the textbook asks students to match non-Chinese people with different jobs. So based on the fact that this particular matching exercise is matching photos of people with jobs, it almost certainly means that Alex is implying that Chinese is a race or appearance. Isn’t that discriminatory in itself? And in reading the article I think he is referring to, I never saw the mention of the words non-Chinese.
Based on my observations and on information I’ve gathered from discussing these kinds of issues with people, including teachers and students in Hong Kong, I can conclude that the average Hongkonger can’t discern between culture, race, nationality and may even confuse religion with the aforementioned.
As for the textbook publisher, what a disgrace to Hong Kong and humanity in general.
johnyuan
The Hong Kong official has escalated the practice of racism all out in the public. Back to back at the heel while throwing money at one school coming from Britain but holding back meaningful support to a local school for minority.
.
The practice in racism in Hong Kong has been for too long and too widespread which enable to allow such openness in closing a minority school of half a decade. Political pressure gets its way easily.
.
Hong Kong officials should be reminded that politic is momentary but human decency is forever.
blue
You self righteous commenters accusing Mr. Lo racism probably don't have a racist bone in your bodies!
johnyuan
To XYZ,
Hong Kong under British rule practiced segregation even within the civil servant structure. You need to be old enough and attentive enough to know what majority of Hong Kong Chinese had lived through during the time when the handover is not an issue. Unless you think segregation is acceptable and it is not a form of racism.
.
I will add that Hong Kong practices racism unfortunately so willingly out of our own cultural tradition as well. But no excuse or passing the hot potato to Qing or any other dynasty without including the colonial period.
 
 
 
 
 

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