Monday, 30 July 2012

Hong Kongers March Against Brainwashing

Children and their parents braved the heat to protest
The Hong Kong government is inadvertently encouraging its citizens to get fit -- by participating in protest marches every weekends.

Yesterday afternoon was the latest one with somewhere between 32,000 (police estimate) and 90,000 (organizers' estimate) people were out in force to show their opposition to the government's national education program.

Traffic was halted from Central to Wan Chai in the late afternoon, even beyond when transportation officials believed the protest would be over, which means the larger turnout figure is more likely. I waited for a bus at the Bank of China building in Central going westbound, but traffic eastbound had ground to a halt for a while already. Trams were pretty much emptied out while truck drivers opened their doors and read newspapers.

While this was a minor nuisance, the people were protesting for a good cause.

A group of students called Scholarism joined the National Education Parents Concern Group and the Professional Teachers' Union in stating they would not join a government proposal to set up a committee to examine how the subject would be taught in schools.

While the idea is typically bureaucratic, it's also because the issue is so divisive that you're either for national education or not.

Organizers expected 10,000 people, about nine-fold showed up
Many believe the national education program is a way to brainwash the future generation. Critics already have proof thanks to a textbook called the Beijing Consensus Handbook published by the National Education Services Centre that says the Communist Party is "united" and "selfless", and saying the US-type of democracy is "inefficient".

This is the same company that was given HK$70 million over six years with another company, both run by Yeung Chiu-chung, a Beijing loyalist and Hong Kong deputy to the National People's congress.

Many feel the fact that the government is instituting national education is wrong mostly because it is an agenda set by the mainland to impose its version of history and culture to young minds.

As Hong Kong is a relatively free city, how would sensitive issues, particularly June 4, 1989 be treated?

Meanwhile the Hong Kong government denies the new courses will mimic "patriotic education" teaching in China. "Brainwashing is against Hong Kong's core values. We would not support or accept that," said Education Secretary Eddie Ng on Saturday.

However, if the government does not accept brainwashing, why don't Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and other senior officials take the lead and publicly make comments about June 4, political dissidents on the mainland and other social issues in public?

Then that would give us all a very good idea of where Hong Kong stood on national education.

But the fact Tsang's administration and now Leung's are silent only says too much about their stance of the subject.

Hence the need to speak out.

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