Public Eye

Educational justice for ethnic students at last

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 22 January, 2014, 4:34am
UPDATED : Friday, 25 September, 2015, 11:14am

Just HK$200 million a year? Is that all it costs to enable thousands of ethnic minority students to learn Chinese as a second language? Then why did the government wait so long? Why did officials herd minority students into apartheid-like "designated schools" with a curriculum that left them ill-prepared to fit into society? Well, it's because Hong Kong's ethnic minorities are lazy. And they stick to their own culture. They have only themselves to blame for being so lousy at Chinese. Not our words, but those of a top education official, according to Fermi Wong Wai-fun, a long-time campaigner for minority rights. Racist words? You bet. Wong didn't name names, but Public Eye knows who the official is. Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying finally allocated the HK$200 million last week. He deserves applause. However, it still rankles to know that the government thinks nothing of spending hundreds of millions on scholarships for elite students and bends over backwards to accommodate children born in Hong Kong to mainland parents, yet doesn't give a damn about minority students who are true Hong Kong residents.


Indifference of immigration officials simply stunning

Public Eye agrees totally with human rights lawyer Robert Tibbo. It is astounding that Hong Kong immigration officials did nothing when domestic helper Erwiana Sulistyaningsih passed through the airport on her way to Indonesia even though she obviously appeared to have suffered horrific abuse. Would they have turned a blind eye if a Hongkonger or Westerner was in such a state? We suspect not. We can't help but compare the uncaring attitude of our authorities to the over-caring attitude of United States officials in the case of Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade, who was accused of abusing her maid. US police handcuffed and strip-searched her. Our officials only acted after a public outcry over Erwiana's alleged torture by her employer.


Shenzhen residents should learn to hold their noses

Public Eye has waited a whole week to say this to Shenzhen's politicians and residents: "Shove it." It was reported last week that half of Shenzhen's legislators and more than a million residents signed a petition against a planned landfill extension in the border town of Tuen Mun. And the reason? The landfill stinks, sending foul smells across the border. A senior Shenzhen politician and leading opponent of the landfill warned darkly of Hong Kong "lifting a rock to drop it on your own toes" if we pressed ahead with the extension. Again, we say: "Shove it." Our smelly landfill is our own business. If you don't like our stink, hold your noses. Air fresheners might work, too. Hong Kong, like every other city, needs landfills. The Tuen Mun site and other dumps are almost full. But our politicians are too chicken to admit the urgency. They fear losing votes in the next election if they approve a long-standing government request for funding to expand the rubbish dumps. That's why they have kowtowed to the "not in my backyard" bunch. There's only one way Public Eye will support the Shenzhen demand to shelve the Tuen Mun landfill extension: we'll stop exporting our stinky smells to you if you stop exporting your filthy air to us. Deal?


Michael Chugani is a columnist and TV show host.