• Thu
  • Aug 28, 2014
  • Updated: 3:48pm
My Take
PUBLISHED : Saturday, 28 June, 2014, 5:03am
UPDATED : Saturday, 28 June, 2014, 10:10am

It's indefensible for APA students to perform protest stunts

Once may be excusable. A second time makes it indefensible.

The protest on Thursday against acting Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor tells us much about the quality and manners of students at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. Graduating students pulled a similar stunt last year against Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying.

More than 320 students graduated this year. About 100 reportedly took part in some forms of protest both on stage and off.

The ceremony was held for the graduating students. It not only formally conferred on them their hard-earned degrees; it was a celebration with fellow students, parents and teachers of their devotion, hard work and achievement. It was about you, the student. Lam was hardly the focus of the proceedings; she was there to perform a ceremonial duty as substitute chancellor while Leung was away on holiday.

So why did you ruin your own party? Did you consider the rights and wishes of your fellow students, parents and teachers who might prefer to treasure the occasion as a proud moment to remember, rather than one for protest?

I have nothing against young people starting protests against the government, especially for universal suffrage. But everything has a time and a place. The students could have protested against Lam outside the ceremonial hall, say, when she arrived or left. That would have been between her as a top government official and the protesters. But could it be right for those young people to hijack the whole ceremony for their own political agenda, however fervent their belief in their cause?

Lam did not deserve her treatment - she is a person of integrity. It is human to show contempt for your opponents. And that was what many students displayed towards Lam by crossing their arms, turning their behinds to her, staring her down and taking selfie photos before her. The hardest civic virtue is to show respect for those with whom you disagree.

Unfortunately, our populist politicians have only self-righteousness in their hearts and can only hear their own screams and shouts. All they have to teach young people are contempt and obstructionism. And our children are aping them.

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This article is now closed to comments

parispam
You are right, Alex! This also shows the lack of or insufficient parental guidance for these young adults. I am sad to see some of these students inappropriate behavior at their own graduation. It shows no respect for the other students who didn't want to be part of this.
pslhk
A graduate isn’t just an individual
but one who has been taught
what one has chosen to study
-
Graduates aren’t autodidacts
Graduation isn’t a personal achievement
but the result of group efforts
This is particularly so for graduates of also-ran colleges
-
APA students should see differences
between themselves and street performers in Mongkok
differences that have little to do with themselves
but everything to do with others who have made available to them
public resources: educational and physical facilities as well as their management
-
Without public supports there would be no commencement
which in fact is also an event arranged by the school for students
who mustn’t preposterously mistake commencement
as if it were a birthday party
of parentless self-born monsters
-
Maturity involves accepting the reality of disagreements
and the recognition of the absurdity of self-righteousness
-
If those myopic students and their supporters ran the government
APA students would be studying in Mongkok's pedestrian streets
321manu
Well, at least you've attempted to present a coherent argument using English that is comprehensible, so that's progress.
However, an argument is only as good as its premise, and yours blows.
"Graduation isn’t a personal achievement" --- wow! Talk about mindless collectivism taken to an absurd degree.
Yes, these graduates can thank the good fortune of their birth, which allowed them to be in HK and not some third world country. And they had parents who could afford to put them through school. And public infrastructure allowed them to have water to drink, and food to eat so as to facilitate their learning. Furthermore, public infrastructure provided them a road to go to school on, and a safe school to walk into when they got there. Because of this, anyone who has graduated from anything (or gone to school at all, or ever used a road, been housed in a building, or drank water, or consumed food) must be eternally indebted to the government which lavished them with the aforementioned provisions, and therefore never ever complain about said government...about anything...ever.
See, this is the thing with CCP stooges. They think citizens should be in servitude to the government, and be thankful for the opportunity. Of course, that is the distorted CCP way. In reality, government should be there to serve the citizens. Sure, governments do good work, as they should. But that doesn't give them immunity from protest or disagreement.
pslhk
Dai Muff
Is Palmerstone’s Britain of opium wars
the same as Cameron’s Britain of today?
Wake up and get real
-
Among those who left China having their properties expropriated before the 70’s
the more and most successful ones began to invest in China in the 80’s
Slow learners and their children agonized by envy and their own stupidity
try occupy as a scorched earth tactic
Beaker
Maybe you should consider that the students and their families really have no respect for the persons nor their positions to give them any respect? Maybe they see through the ruse and you don't, or you are trying to pull off the ruse with your minders in BJ, Alex Lo, or whatever your pinyin name is. In the military, you may hate your officer, but you are taught to respect the position. In this case, both the person and the role deserve no respect, so none is given. It has nothing to do with politeness. You seem to lack critical thinking. The actions of the last graduation class has nothing to do with this graduation class. The deeds are not accumulative from class to class. I rate you of moderate intelligence, at best.
Dai Muff
Respect is earned. Not given freely. It would be indefensible of the APA students not to protest an indefensible government.
nmp_inc
Lam is fronting an undemocratic government which is increasingly authoritarian. She is the front person for a chief executive who increasingly cannot show his face in public without provoking anger and demonstrations. So, in this context, in the position of Chief Secretary yes she is an appropriate protest target. If she does not agree with the government policies then she should step down. Whether or not the forum for the students protests was the most suitable is obviously up for debate since the SAR Government is pursuing policies that affect the students in their everyday lives and seriously impacting their future opportunities. Why should they be 'polite' if the government is not going to be 'polite.'? One bad turn typically leads to another in return. Perhaps the government should reexamine its public engagement and policies from the peoples' perspective instead of vested financial and political groups.
whymak
nmp_inc:
Is advocacy of demonstrations and disorderly conduct in public your means to force HK officials to resign? Tell me if your tactic follows any of the following: Islamic rioters of Tahrir Square in Cairo, Thai red or yellow shirts, Ukrainian mobs in Kiev. BTW, the rioters everywhere all professed to be nonviolent too. They all demanded the government to "peacefully" disintegrate. When their demands were not fulfilled, something would inevitably set them off.
Are you the police, the judge who sanctions HK officials, vested financial and political groups that don't suit you? Sure, flunkies all blame everything on government, including their own poor grades that make them unfit for employment. Are you one of them or a grown-up going on 21 with your old grievances?
321manu
Whoa. Easy on the rhetoric. Sure, they showed up Lam. But "disorderly conduct"? How do you figure, exactly? Then you compare these grads to "rioters"? I know you're into comparing apples and oranges, but isn't this a bit much even for you?
And what's your reasoning for characterizing post-secondary graduates as "flunkies"? Do you ever at least try to modify your standard rant for the situation at hand?
pliu
Well said Alex! Selfish and disrespectful of some APA students. They have brought shame to the HKAPA, their teachers and parents!

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