PUBLIC EYE MICHAEL CHUGANI
Public Eye
by

Independence talk is civic learning, but national education is brainwashing? The hypocrisy defies logic

How can young minds be groomed to think for themselves if they are only exposed to one side? Let children discuss independence but let them also learn about their country

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 16 August, 2016, 6:27pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 16 August, 2016, 6:51pm

Listen up, all the hypocrites out there. This is about you. Here is a question: to teach or not to teach? When the government tried to introduce national education in schools you said it was a ploy to brainwash our children. Such was the outcry that the government had to ditch its plan. But now teachers and academics who opposed national education have organised groups to discuss Hong Kong independence on campuses. When the Education Bureau warned they would lose their teaching credentials if they promoted independence to students, they accused the bureau of white terror. They insist discussion of independence is part of civic education, which helps students make their own choices.

Watch what you say about Hong Kong independence, CY Leung warns local schools

Let’s get this straight. Allowing discussion of independence is part of civic education but teaching the constitution is brainwashing? I am befuddled by this logic. Does it mean it’s good to teach children to decide for themselves if they want to break away from their country but bad to teach them about the country they may choose to break away from? How can you decide if you want to break away from your country if teaching you about that country is brainwashing? I’m keen to know if independence discussions would involve armed revolt as well. I know I’ll be labelled a Beijing bootlicker for writing this but that’s the price you pay nowadays for calling out hypocrites.

Trust teachers’ judgment in tackling independence sentiment in Hong Kong schools

For the record, I believe campuses should be places where young minds are exposed to all ideas so they can make informed choices. But that’s no longer what’s happening on our campuses. The political divide that is tearing apart our society has invaded our campuses. Increasingly, students are being taught not to think for themselves but to advocate. This was evident during Occupy. Many academics backing the uprising encouraged students to do likewise. If that’s civic education rather than brainwashing, why is national education brainwashing instead of civic education?

I am not advocating national education and bashing discussion of independence. My point simply is that if we have one, we should have the other. How can young minds be groomed to think for themselves if they are only exposed to one side? Let children discuss independence but let them also learn about their country. Let’s do it as part of their education, not as a back door to corrupt their minds.

mickchug@gmail.com