Education

I stood in front of this painting in the Pompidou Centre in Paris for a full 10 minutes before I was dragged away from the canvas.

Education

This reminded me of all the painful exams I undertook when I was a teenager. Recitation after recitation. It was more important to memorise the sequence of a biological pathway than to understand each step.

I, myself have been the victim of Hong Kong’s old education system. Seeing the letter “A” next to “Chinese Language” on my HKCEE certificate, I felt as if I have scored a victory goal in the World Cup Final. Instead of screaming my head off with joy, I nearly soaked the bit of paper with tears. Afterall, it is difficult to remain sane after a full month of cramming paragraphs after paragraphs. “Answers to questions” on those  exam guides were the most merciless. If I had any imagination it would have been ironed out of my head straight away. Of course, the “answers” escaped via my ears from my folds lacking brain the minute I exited the examination hall.

If you have exam phobia, my consolation goes out to you for you are doomed in a stressful setting such as this. The old education system defines a student by the amount of As they achieve. Kisses fly your way from your parents and teachers if you have done well in your exams.

If you have exam phobia, my consolation goes out to you for you are doomed in a stressful setting such as this. The old education system defines a student by the amount of As they achieve. Kisses fly your way from your parents and teachers if you have done well in your exams.

I went back to this painting. I stood in front of it lamenting the time I wasted on useless education. There are many ways to interpret a painting. I saw it as “a vicious cycle”. Messing with a child’s brain they’ll end up messing the next generation.

Now that my education is relocated to England, a massive impact of my past is imposing on my present. Say, in a group project, my instantaneous creative response is never as sharp and intuitive as my colleagues. The old education system in Hong Kong “prepared me too much” and I’m terrified to “make mistakes”.

In real life, there is often not a black and white answer to problems. One arrives at a logical deduction via trial and error. In life, you only get wiser by making mistakes. It seems too lucky to me if someone never has to learn by mistakes.

Every mistake you make on paper a glittery point is taken away from you. Success or failure almost ties itself with how many points you get. This is where the old education system in Hong Kong deviated from reality.

The new 3-3-4 school system is ready to replace the old one. Whether or not the teachers – who were all victims of the old system are ready to agree with the ideology behind the new system is questionable. With less emphasis on exams and tests, teachers from my old secondary school are sceptical. I inquired if more coursework is going to be a happier ending for the new generation. They, teachers and parents, simply wonder if this is going to be a lazier ending for the new generation.

Understanding the significance of this change traverse the longstanding cultural beliefs within the Chinese communities. We have been ladened with exams since the Emperor’s Annual Exams to select government officials 1000 years ago. To make people appreciate a more diversed and balanced education that is brought about by dynamic teaching certainly requires more than mere PR skills from the government officials.

Teachers and parents play huge parts in a child’s education. Redefining a school system is only a small part to transforming “Education”. Not only students, but our older generations need to understand this change too. I am hopeful this time. I think they have finally got it right. Time will allow everybody to realise that in real life, spoon-feeding doesn’t do anyone any good.

Che Guevara

I bought this much loved t-shirt the other day:

I Heart World

I Heart World

Thinking back I don’t think there is one single place on earth I have been to that I don’t like. Learning always begins with passion and appreciation. You cannot learn piano if you didn’t enjoy it in the first place. Hence you have got to love the world if you want to facilitate change on your own. It is difficult to make better your own place if you didn’t prefer some qualities in a foreign bit of land. It is, I admit, a divine work of art to tweak between plagiarising and learning. How does one retain its uniqueness while absorbing the goods of your counterparts?

I try to recall as closely as I can to a quote in the film Che: Part 1.

What makes a revolutionist? -the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love”

Without love, no matter how true your cause is, you will never succeed, let alone sustain.

A Revolution

Can we find uniqueness in Hong Kong anymore?

Can we find uniqueness in Hong Kong anymore?

Of 22 years of age, not a lot of mental pictures have sprung to mind when one inquires what is so special Hong Kong. Any sightings or happenings that can be classified as truly authentic? I would have to blame my unfortunately sized brain for not recalling many as such. As an intruder to another culture, never has it slipped my mind the importance of having a “root”. Your root gives you your distinctive identity. Backgrounds, traditions, cultures, beliefs and mindsets that solely belong to you and your people only.

Hong Kong without a doubt is one of the fastest changing cities in the world. The glory it brings about include unprecedented infrastructure, economic prosperity and stability based on its ability to change and adapt to the global needs. A mice’s reaction time is nothing compares to our people’s. We see an opportunity and seize it; renders Hong Kong one of the best places in the world to be entrepreneurial.

Futuristic Road Connections

Futuristic Road Connections

An insightful Chinese proverb goes, “Ends of a needle are never both sharp.” I wonder if we  have thrown behind anything at all to float our economic success? Let’s not discuss the norm for example the Gini Index or the government failures that seems to appear on the newspaper front page almost every day.

“You can’t carry along with you anything when your legs are straight and stiffened.”  Hong Kong excels at providing herself with opportunities to grow.  We pave way for it; nothing will stop us. We tear apart buildings, relocate people. “Huai Jiu” or in Cantonese “Wai Gau”, an appreciation for the old things, can only exist in words and photographs. When we completely obliterate our past just to squeeze every last drop of milk, I wonder what have we removed for our children and grandchildren? What can we take away when we die? Are we sabotaging our grandchildren’s rights?

One question I would also like to ask is: have we been so focused on pleasing the world that we have forgotten who we are and what we stand for? This not just a question to the brand “Hong Kong” as a whole, but to every single individual that has helped founding and will help sustaining the brand.

Where is our individuality? Where is our root?

While moving forward so rapidly, is there a balance point where we can savour our past and at the same time not compromising on economic gain? Do we have to forgo everything the old Hong Kong stood for to pave way for the future? When the Star Ferry Pier was set to be demolished I was so sad. The pier could surely still provide functionality to the habour as a whole; improvements can be made so that our future can fit in our past, demolishment was completely unessential. Einstein’s relativity theory says it is impossible to travel to a time before now. But it says nothing about erasing your past. One clearly can.

Shops reiterate on the same road. Same road, same shit.

Shops reiterate on the same road. Same road, same shit.

It is certainly special that we always find a Mannings next door to a Watsons; a Bonjour next to a Sasa; a Luk Fook next to a Chow Sang Sang. It is certainly special that all “cool” fashion houses in Hong Kong are owned by one single person; almost all singers/artists have the same manager; all fashion magazines are owned by one publisher…

Why this phenomenon?

We aim to set out to ask the right questions, get the right solutions. We start our very own cultural revolution.

We love Hong Kong.