June 8, 2011

Shame on you, woman!

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There has been a good amount of public furore during the last few days over a speech made on June 5th by Cherry Tse Ling Kit-ching (謝凌潔貞), the Permanent Secretary for Education for Hong Kong.  The speech was given at the graduation ceremony of a local school, and the fact that it was made just a day after the 22nd anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre obviously hit a nerve.

During her speech, the Secretary discussed the public's penchant for focusing on issues such as June 4th and Ai Weiwei.  There is a feeling by the public that the failure of teaching materials/education system to discuss these topics means that the Chinese government has something to hide and wants to sweep these issues under the carpet.  The public also feels that the Chinese government is attempting to brainwash them.

She tells the students that the public is wrong on both counts.  Every individual must also belong to a group, be it member of a family, member of a school, member of Hong Kong society, member of the country and also a member of the world.  There should be no conflict between each of these different roles that we play.  (Meaning...?) She then goes on and delivers a passage which is kinda confusing to me, which goes something like this:

"The world is arranged according to countries, and this fact is indisputable ("在這個全世界,世界是以國家來安排,這是一個不爭的事實").  If people are worried about brainwashing, then they lack confidence in Hong Kong and in themselves."

Well, hell yeah!  Of course I'd be worried about being brainwashed by a government that is authoritarian and can only tolerate a single party!  (Does Singapore ring a bell?  Pre-DPP Taiwan under martial law?  The Soviet Union during the Cold War?)  Hong Kong may nominally have multiple political parties, but let's not kid ourselves... it's the bosses up in Beijing who really call the shots.  You think Bowtie would dare take a piss without getting a nod from the central government?!

Madam Secretary continues her speech and tells the students to broaden their knowledge; to question the knowledge and information that they receive; to evaluate and carefully consider the information; to tell the difference between right and wrong; and finally to be stay the course and persevere to do what you think is right.  If people stick by these simple rules then they should have no fear of being brainwashed.  I do agree with this part...

Then comes the famous phrase, loosely translated as:

"In the long river of history, it's inevitable that there are some pebbles and sand... When we look back from our childhood to right now, has each of us not done something that we now regret?  I believe there must be..."

What, exactly, is she talking about?  The public has taken issue with the phrase "pebbles and sand (沙沙石石)", and feels that she has insulted the memory of those who died in the Tiananmen massacre by reducing them to something as insignificant as sand in the river.  While you may think that people are being overly sensitive, I myself do question this analogy...

Next comes an example of how, when she was little, she lied about not having done her homework at school... WTF does that have anything to do with anything?!  Is she trying to equate telling a little white lie to the Chinese government's denial regarding the thousands of people which it killed one particular night 22 years ago?!

Another example is cited regarding meeting an American couple during a visit to the US some years ago.  The couple's only son had been drafted during the Vietnam War, and was subsequently killed in action.  The couple hated the US government for going to war in Vietnam, and were devastated at the loss of their son.  Nevertheless, the couple still loved their country; the American flag was still proudly displayed at their home; and the couple still spoke of America's achievements with pride.  Then Madam Secretary again started to use the phrase about the "pebbles and sand in the river of history"...

HELLO?!  There is a HUGE difference between the action of the US government during Vietnam War and what the Chinese government did in 1989.  Uncle Sam drafted young men into military service and sent them overseas in the name of protecting US interests, and the soldiers who died were killed in action against foreign enemies.  Whether or not Americans should have sent troops to Vietnam in the first place is an entirely different issue.

The Chinese government, however, mobilized its military against its own people - a group of people who, from April 15 to June 3, had been staging a mostly peaceful protest.  When did the group of peaceful students - many of whom are among the country's intellectual elite, whose hunger strike, incidentally, were harming no one else but themselves - become enemies of the state who must be eliminated?

Instead of shouting empty, pointless slogans then going home and forgetting about it all, people should learn from history and take concrete action.  That, Madam Secretary felt, is the real way of progress.

Wow!  Lemme get this straight...  Is she actually suggesting that the people of Hong Kong should follow-up on their protests with some real action and affect change?  I'll bet lots of people would LOOOOVE that, if only they had the actual power to do something about it! So the people should stand up and fight for the full-fledged democracy that they have been clamoring for?!  They should go and change the system so there is universal suffrage in Hong Kong?  Hell yeah!  Bring it on!

The fact that the Secretary for Education - the person charged with educating an entire generation of youngsters - thinks it is OK to omit, brush off, and ignore a hugely important chapter in China's history... is akin to the Japanese educational system distorting the history they teach their young about Japan's role in World War II... For years, Japan's Asian neighbors have protested loudly about the Japanese teaching a watered-down version of the atrocities they committed during the 1930s and 1940s.  China has been among the most vocal of the protestors.  Guess what?  China is being completely hypocritical and doing the exact same thing!

One interesting fact:  While this story has made headlines among the Chinese-language press and elicited plenty of reaction on the internet, it is curious to note that English-language press such as the South China Morning Post - whose owners have extensive business interests in China - have failed to mention a single word on this.  Not one sentence.

Shame on you, Cherry Tse Ling Kit-ching!  You and your boss Bowtie are nothing but puppets and mouthpieces for your masters up in Beijing...  I really feel sorry for future generations of youngsters in Hong Kong, as they will grow up under the tutelage of these lackeys who will do nothing but recite the Communist Party mantra...

Here's a recording of the speech:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Totally support your view !!!


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