Alpais Lam

I wanted to quit my job, says teacher in video controversy

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 12 August, 2013, 8:54am

The award-winning educator who sparked Sunday's protest says she thought of quitting her job after a video of her hurling profanities at police officers went viral late last month.

Alpais Lam Wai-sze, 42, who works at Pui Ling School of the Precious Blood in Fanling, has taught for 18 years. In the 2010/2011 academic year, she won the Chief Executive's Award for Teaching Excellence alongside her school's teaching team for moral and civic education.

In an RTHK programme aired on July 28, Lam said the subject helped pupils learn how to relieve pent-up emotions and build stronger bonds with people.

While she appeared to enjoy teaching, she said the July 14 video of her shouting obscenities during a dispute with police officers in Mong Kok caused her to consider resigning.

In the clip, Lam was seen openly criticising the way the police were handling a confrontation between the Falun Gong and the Youth Care Association.

Appearing agitated, she demanded to know why the officers had cordoned off an area at Sai Yeung Choi Street. When they threatened to arrest her, she shouted abuse at them.

In a Commercial Radio programme yesterday, Lam spoke on her thoughts of quitting: "The school can't function if everyone keeps discussing the incident. In the end, those jeopardised … are the pupils and their parents. We can't be so selfish."

She said her school was harassed after the video went viral. It received nuisance calls and wreaths with her name, and banners criticising her were put up outside the school, she said.

After those incidents, the guilt-stricken teacher penned a letter to her pupils that was published in a local newspaper on Sunday. In the letter, Lam, who also teaches Chinese language, said she hoped the controversy caused by the video would not affect her pupils' lives.

"Perhaps you can't analyse what's right and what's wrong - and also what's real and what's not - right away. Let's sleep on this," she wrote.

"My faith is to care about our Hong Kong to ensure that it retains our core values - defending our freedom of speech and belief is our responsibility."

Lam apologised for her actions on July 26; she issued a second apology yesterday.