Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Olive Branch Comes Too Late

Until reading Chris Leung's timely reminder about the definition of "national education", I didn't realise this term means something so different from what it is understood – or meant to be understood – in Hong Kong today.

I looked up a few more news reports in the international English press and found that "patriotism lessons" may be more accurate and appropriate to describe what the controversial syllabus really is.

It is no news at all that many, if most, Hong Kong people are anti-communist or communist-phobic. But it is still somewhat surprising to see that Chief Executive Chun-ying Leung doesn't seem to give a damn to address this most overwhelming emotion of all.

"Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration." So the famous lines of Dune read. You may say the protesters have gone a bit too far to accuse the proposed curriculum as "brainwashing", because the schools and teachers are free to teach whatever they think appropriate. But when scepticism and suspicion are in place of mutual trust, which is exactly what has driven the current standoff with the government, people will find good (and bad, of course) reasons to doubt and shut off their ears and minds. Failure to understand these compelling and enthralling emotions, address them upfront does not mean you have taught a small frenzied mob a tough lesson. Instead, you are just fuelling it to grow out of everyone's control.

Apparently Mr Leung's long-due offer of an olive branch yesterday is not going to take the gridlock to anywhere. He has already missed the opportunity of reconciliation. God knows why he has been so stubbornly defensive of the patriotism lessons with which he has little to do. Scandal-ridden since being elected, Mr Leung must be desperate to score and prove himself. It is perfectly understandable. Unfortunately he has chosen the wrong, if stupid, path. If he were smart enough, he should have blamed the previous administration for having done a bad job and start all over again. But after all these weeks and months, his refusal to consider the scrap-off option just seems incomprehensible. Does he think the people will come to their senses one day and talk "reason" as much as "professionals" like him do? Or does he think talking to nasty people would taint his "professional" – or honourable – image? Or does he think he has nothing to fear with backing from Beijing? Doesn't he know that oppression, even disguised in carefully crafted rhetoric, doesn't work for Hong Kong people? The more high-handed you are, the stronger the resistance you will face, and in this case, the farther away you will push Hong Kong people from China, both the state and the nation. Someone has already left a message on this blog asking, "Why study Chinese history? Why not the history of Hong Kong where I live?" Don't you see the problem, Mr Leung?

For better or worse, the clock is ticking. Everyone is impatient. We need to resolve this matter sooner than later. Unfortunately there only seems one way out now – and certainly not the best option that we once had.

4 comments:

  1. Anonymous10:43 pm

    If the following history and issues can be discussed in classrooms followed by literature research in library and web sites in HK,that will be good. The pre-requisite is that books in library and information in public internet web sites should not be filtered and blocked by government nor teacher’s teaching indirectly controlled by any political party.

    1. 國共精誠合作
    十萬兵力的會戰有二十二次。共軍無參加淞滬會戰、台兒莊大戰、武漢會戰、三次長沙會戰、常德之戰、衡陽戰役、緬甸戰役等。

    2. 打殺民主
    一九五七年,毛澤東將五十五萬黨外精英打成「右派」,打殺社會民主。

    3. 破壞生產力
    一九五八年,毛澤東掀起「大躍進」,搞得「大煉鋼鐵」,令生產力受到極大破壞。

    4. 大饑荒
    一九五九年,毛澤東在廬山會議又將彭德懷元帥等打成所謂「右傾機會主義反黨集團頭子」,釀成餓死幾千萬。人的大饑荒。當時,全國人民吃飯要糧票,吃肉要每月二両半肉票,吃魚要每月二両半魚票,穿衣要每年一丈三尺六布票,生活苦不堪言。

    5. 幹部忙
    中央幹部忙組閣,省市幹部忙出國,地縣幹部忙吃喝,區鄉幹部忙賭博,村裏幹部忙偷摸。

    6. 政府大運會津貼
    貼近大運會設施的住戶接獲政府通知,在關鍵日子不得外出,由住所門外把守的公安代勞買日用品;晚上須打開窗簾,保持燈光通明,好讓各國感受中國之光明磊落。服從指示的住戶每日獲津貼人民幣一百元。

    7. 鼓勵全情投入盛事
    深圳市內有港商接獲通知,大運會開幕、閉幕前後幾天必須讓僱員放假,以鼓勵他們全情投入盛事。港商繳納價值等同所有員工這幾天有薪假期的額外稅款,員工對大運會卻完全拿不出興趣,外省員工趁機回鄉,本地員工則選擇陽光海灘或到香港購買日用品。

    8. 事故的灾难报道充满温暖
    事故的灾难报道,各官僚媒体机构,全都放上头条,以“救援第一”质疑铁道部。最后,中宣部下令禁发,以“充满温暖”收局,堪称完美。可见,中央各机构对此灾难报道,准备非常充分,配合默契。

    9. 事故调查成了反腐调查
    内地“铁道事故抗议者”到香港,要求人大调查事故的腐败原因。国务院的调查组不会出结果,最后提交到人大。摇身一变,事故成了反腐调查。以往的事故调查,治安侦察,央视会播放模拟事故场景。这很好,大家一起分析,还原事故,也就能解决问题。钱云会事故,还有公民团可以调查。而在胡温直接指导下的事故,却不能公民参与,更没有信息。至今,仍是雷击,天灾层次。

    10. 中国一派和谐
    温家宝事故发生以后,只说了两个字,就是救人,千方百计救人。铁道部门有关方面是否做到这一点,要给群众一个实事求是的回答。7.23事故调查拖上一个月,将淡出人们的视线。我相信党中央国务院:我们有信心,我们准备好了。确实,中国一派和谐。

    11. 上訪人的下場
    到京城上訪的人是不會有好下場的!」他改為向中央政府書面申訴,在不同日子寄了三次,但至今未獲任何回覆。他開始明白,凡衝擊共產黨威權,必遭打壓,此乃在中國社會「和諧」之要義。

    12. 趕工獻禮工程
    因為趕工,獻禮工程竟變成了獻醜鬧劇。膠州灣大橋通車後,人們發現還有很多螺栓沒擰緊,有些地方連隔離護欄也欠奉,照明設施還未裝上。南京南站更可怕,開通不到十天,北廣場有數千平方米地磚要全部敲碎,準備重新鋪設。當局聲稱,原有地磚只是為趕在「七一」大限前通車鋪設的「臨時設施」,重鋪是為了確保工程質量。站內的冷氣配套工程同樣未搞掂,車站竟要出動冰塊為乘客降溫。

    13. 抄襲假唱獻醜
    北京奧運宣傳曲抄襲醜聞。林小妹妹「假唱」。

    14. 天子權力
    中國自古以來,全部權力皆屬天子所有。天子一日未死,朝代一日氣數未盡,天子一日仍是全國話事人。是故,天子彌留或病重,宮廷必門禁森嚴,周圍必然是天子繼續生存的受惠者;圈外人根本無從得知禁宮中發生的事,只能猜度天子生死,對傳出來的聖旨是真是假,亦無從質疑。既得利益集團包圍不省人事、可能已腦幹死亡的天子,甚至包圍屍首,訛稱天子未死,目的只有一個,就是要保障自己的利益,包括確保新登位天子能一如既往,繼續讓其享受榮華富貴,不會剝奪其一向擁有的權力等。

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous10:44 pm

    15. 荒誕的時代
    中國到了一個非常荒誕的時代,鼓勵你唱革命歌曲,但是不鼓勵你革命;鼓勵你看《建黨偉業》,但是不鼓勵建黨;鼓勵你聽中央三天後公佈的已定性的真相,但是不鼓勵你在現場找尋未定性的真相。(中國政法大學教授何兵)

    16. 左傾
     由重慶刮起的「唱紅」、「崇毛」之風吹向全國,和《國際歌》「從來就沒有甚麼救世主」針鋒相對的《東方紅》「中國出了個毛澤東,他是人民大救星」歌聲又響徹中華大地;
     電視螢幕盡是文革「忠字舞」、「紅衞兵戰歌」的造型再世;
     重慶衞視更是以董仲舒「罷黜百家,獨尊儒術」的手段,只讓「紅色文化」一花獨放;文革時期血債纍纍的「蒯司令」在清華百年校慶招搖過市,為毛澤東、江青歌功頌德;
     「馬克思主義經濟學家」劉國光重彈「階級鬥爭」舊調;
     極左派巢穴「烏有之鄉」在二十多個省市發起簽名運動,叫囂起訴公審兩位實事求是評毛、在意識形態上撥亂反正的公共知識分子;
     前身是《紅旗》的《求是》雜誌連篇累牘發表文章,猛烈批判以自由、民主、人權、法治、平等為核心的普世價值;華東政法大學一名教授在課堂上批評政府,竟被兩名女學生以「反革命」罪檢舉,警方居然介入;
     重慶一位公務員發了一條五十九個字微博諷刺時弊,竟被抓去「勞動教養」一年,平均每個字坐牢六天!繼重慶三峽中心醫院用紅色文化為精神病患治病新聞後,又有重慶官員宣傳服刑人員「唱紅」可減刑奇聞等等。
    17. 階級鬥爭
    一九九二年,鄧小平南巡之時,總結了中國革命和建設正反兩方面經驗教訓,提出了「主要是防止『左』」的英明論斷。若任由「左」毒回潮,必然導致「階級鬥爭為綱」、「無產階級專政下繼續革命」一套復辟,發生第二次「無產階級文化大革命」,中國就會走回頭路,吃二遍苦。
    18. 政治體制改革滯後於經濟體制改革
    改革開放以來,中國弊端叢生,主要是:
     官場腐敗,官商勾結;
     分配不公,貧富懸殊;
     一切向錢看;
     道德淪喪;
     政壇假大空成風,商場假冒偽劣毒成災;
     土地徵用中強拆迫遷,民眾合法權益受損;
     司法不公,有法不依常態化;
     治安不靖;
     環境污染;
     官民對立,政府公信力缺乏;
     經濟發展模式不對頭;
     系統性風險與日俱。
    而這一切「陽光背後的陰影」,恰恰都是由於政治體制改革滯後於經濟體制改革,司法體制改革亦滯後於經濟體制改革所致。
    19. 絕對的權力產生絕對的腐敗
    因為政治體制改革滯後,權力的授予、監督、制約制度建設不到位,基於「權力產生腐敗,絕對的權力產生絕對的腐敗」,故此便有了以權謀私、錢權交易的尋租土壤。加上「上級說你行,不行也行;上級說你不行,行也不行」的用人機制,造成買官賣官、「帶病升官」大有空間;而既得利益勢力的抵制,使領導幹部及其家屬財產申報公示制度「只聞樓梯響,不見人下來」,至於「擁有財富與入息不相稱即可檢控」的廉政撒手鐧,更是提都不敢提!
    20. 黨政官員並非民選 民眾權益如何有保障
    由於黨政官員並非民選,故官員普遍缺乏公僕意識,只會逢迎上級而毋須對人民負責;而「輿論一律」的傳統做法和習慣思維,又令輿論廢去監察權力的「武功」,且成為粉飾太平、報喜不報憂的工具。凡此種種,試問腐敗如何能遏止,民眾權益如何有保障?
    21. 推進民主與法制
    司法是維護社會公平正義的最後屏障,但目前司法體制根本搞不清「黨大還是法大」,除了聽命於黨的政法委之外,由於公安、檢察、法院從人事到經費都受制於各級政府,所以不存在真正的司法獨立。當某地政府財稅收入依賴當地「利稅大戶」時,便形成「官商勾結」;而當地公、檢、法的運作資源是以當地政府為「米飯班主」時,很自然便衍生「官官相衞」:當政府以「維穩」壓「維權」魚肉百姓時,司法腐敗便為行政腐敗「保駕護航」,社會公平正義的最後屏障不能給受害人一個「說法」,受害人被「逼上梁山」,遂有「楊佳現象」、「錢明奇現象」的產生。 而易見,改革開放以來所派生的社會弊端,只能夠靠深化改革,即靠政治體制改革和司法體制改革的推進,沿着民主與法制的軌道加以解決。這才是對症下藥、有的放矢之舉。
    22. 黨內民主逐步施行
    實施黨的中央委員和國會代表大比例的差額選舉,充分發揮黨代會的民主功能,成立九十周年、執政六十二年的中共應該在政改方面具備更大的自信,邁出更大的步伐。黨內民主逐步施行,社會民主循序漸進才有堅實基礎。
    23. 有法不依、不按程序辦案的做法
    至於司法體制改革,鑑於有中國特色社會主義的法律體系已如期建成,當務之急是落實「有法必依,執法必嚴,違法必究」,注意目標公正與程序公正相結合。像處理趙連海案、艾未未案等表現出的「有法不依」、不按程序辦案的做法,只會引起中外輿論反感,從根本上破壞社會和諧,這種現象不利於國家長治久安。
    24. 文革浮屍
    文革期間,維港有五花大綁浮屍隨珠江水流漂過來。受過這種「國民教育」的孩子,對祖國若仍印象良好,肯定是神經錯亂。
    25. 愛國
    愛國不等於愛一個領袖、愛一個主義或愛一個政權。

    The 4th of June incident is well known but is not acceptable by Beijing to be discussed openly. It can be skipped for the time being until the two critical figures pass away.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Dear Madam,

    Thank u for an exceptional good message. I tend to call patriotism education.

    Cheers!

    Dr Peter Y Lam, Hong Kong.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anonymous10:23 am

    “National Education” or any other terms and their correctness in the English usages are less important. The devils are in the details.

    Let us do a reality check. As far as I can recall in the world history, no country and jurisdiction ever gave in to the demand of a popular movement. The only way seemingly to achieve a popular demand is by revolution. Are HK people prepared for a revolution either violent or velvet? The irony is that the administration after the revolution may not be satisfactory to the populace than the earlier one that they deposed.

    In HK’s situation faced with a tyrannical Beijing regime and the Imperial Guards grinding their swords every day for a chance to strike, what options did people really have? It seems a misplaced strategy by keeping on shouting “objection” and “withdraw” of the national education programme. The uncompromising confrontation ultimately will only invite the action of the Imperial Guards.

    Let us understand that CY Leung and his company are selected to govern, no matter how unpopular they are. They are sitting between two fires, the angry HK people and the unyielding Beijing masters. CY Leung may lose almost nothing hard-balling with HK people while he may lose his head if he is not careful enough handling the other fire in Beijing.

    Fortunately in HK, there is still room for passive resistance. Henry David Thoreau and Mahatma Gandhi were the two well known pioneers in this tactics, thanks to the British Common system. I have written my suggestions many times in Christ Leung’s blog on what can be done by those involved. I will not repeat here.

    Samson,
    Ontario, Canada

    ReplyDelete

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