Universities can help students understand engines of power in society

PUBLISHED : Monday, 31 October, 2016, 3:57pm
UPDATED : Monday, 31 October, 2016, 11:31pm

Our political climate has become quite heated due to calls for “independence” voiced by some young people and university students.

Most of the earlier agitation resulted from the flawed decision by mainland authorities to cripple our political progress by opposing election reforms for the SAR chief executive. These outsiders badly underestimated our political maturity and merely bowed to local vested interests. Big money usually trumps small people.

History teaches us that social unrest and agitation are almost invariably the result of politicians’ failure to move with the times and meet new demands.

China’s dowager queen is perhaps the example best known to Chinese people, but her counterparts are found in every nation undergoing change. The founder of modern China , Sun Yat-sen, had to deal with this reality.

Scholars and students are the ones who reflect on, analyse and deal with change, so it is understandable that they will criticise political systems and call for needed reforms. But as history again reminds us, they are often condemned and persecuted for their efforts.

Actually, a good education what helps young people not to become pawns in an existing unjust social system, but to question it and reform it, and to prepare for a more equitable and decent society, based on more humane and peaceful values, not on aggression and dog-eat-dog competition.

Our universities should have courses in “social analysis” that help students become aware of the economic and political engines of power in their society. They should learn why there is corruption and imbalance in modern systems, why there is such a tremendous gap between rich and poor, and what needs to be done to reform unjust systems.

If our higher centres of learning do not perform this function, our graduates merely become cogs in an unthinking machine that deprives us all of dignity and true value.

This is a task that our major social, religious and educational organisations should be committed to. Our young people are our future.

If they merely accept existing flawed values or the views of shallow political outsiders, we will not make progress. The call for “independence” is really a substitute cry for more equality, decency and honesty in our political life – something that we all need and deserve.

Are our politicians and liaison personnel willing and able to work toward this?

J. Geitner, Sham Shui Po