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National education in Hong Kong

How Hongkongers can learn to celebrate their national identity and anthem

PUBLISHED : Friday, 30 March, 2018, 5:17pm
UPDATED : Friday, 30 March, 2018, 6:52pm

National education, the legitimate responsibility of governments the world over, has got off to a bumpy start here in Hong Kong.

The administration’s approach to enacting a national anthem law has evoked mixed reactions and criticism. Given our colonial background, many people suspect that the legislative move is initiated by the central government. It gives the impression that patriotism is being imposed on Hongkongers.

In this regard, education and persuasion are better than legal approaches. Teaching Chinese history, starting from primary school, will make youngsters feel for what China has gone through the past 50-odd years to make it become one of the world’s leading countries.

Singing the national anthem at the daily morning assembly has a strong effect in making nationalism a part of the lives of pupils.

Entrepreneurs should join in by displaying the national flag wherever appropriate to awaken positive feelings among the people towards the motherland. Official and formal meetings should start with broadcasting the national anthem.

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The entertainment industry could help, by making films about heroic deeds of patriots, and song writers can also inject similar content into their creative works. Together, a cultural atmosphere would be built up for a worthy cause.

It is hoped that by active demonstrations – whereby people hear and see China’s image everywhere they go – a sense of nationalism will be inculcated among Hongkongers.

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Such public education efforts are necessary when we are now seeing the emergence of “localism” and “Hong Kong independence” which most people in the community oppose. With efforts made by both the government and the community, it is believed that Hongkongers will slowly accept their national identity.

Identifying with one’s own country is something that comes naturally without any restrictions. Young people will not insult the singing of the national anthem when it has already become a part of their lives.

Patsy Leung, Mid-Levels