Veteran Malaysian journalist decries deficiencies in HK education system
Updated: 2019-10-31 07:15
By Shadow Li in Hong Kong(HK Edition)
A veteran Malaysian journalist said schools in Hong Kong have become breeding grounds for anti-government protests – giving rise to irrationality and lawlessness in the once-law-abiding city.
Wong Chun Wai, the former group chief editor of Star Media Group Berhad, a leading Malaysian news company, made the remarks on Wednesday in an interview with China Daily.
As minors clad in black go on rampages on the streets in Hong Kong, Wong believes the education system, particularly how the curriculum is delivered, should be re-examined.
“There’s something wrong when 12-year-olds, 15-year-olds, or 14-year-olds are involved in these protests – just really wrong … It would not happen anywhere else in the world,” said Wong.
The media veteran, with over 30 years in the industry, believes today’s young generation – who will be the future leaders of Hong Kong – are being raised with hatred and disrespect of the law.
Bad seeds sown
“What kind of generation is going to come up? … And worse, you have teachers who should know better, but you have teachers who are sort of encouraging students to go and protest,” Wong said.
He cited the case of an 18-year-old student who slashed a police officer in the neck with a box cutter. His school responded with veiled support by saying he would not be expelled.
“As a foreigner who is reading this from somewhere else, I’d say, ‘What is wrong with Hong Kong? What’s wrong with these kids and teachers?’ ” he said.
According to police, from June 9 to Oct 24, 144 of the 2,711 arrested were younger than 16. They were arrested on charges that included taking part in a riot, wounding, assault occasioning bodily harm, common assault and arson. One-third of those arrested were students.
He believes Liberal Studies has played a role. Many community leaders have said Liberal Studies is a key reason for the prolonged unrest and the high proportion of youth participation. Wong said it had failed in its mission to encourage critical and rational thinking.
Schools should be incubators of noble values, such as respecting your parents and elders, and not be breeding grounds for anti-government activities, he added.
Violence and chaos have gripped the city for nearly five months. The street violence, which has made headlines across the globe, is damaging Hong Kong, a city Wong said he no longer recognizes despite a strong emotional attachment with it.
He was saddened by the situation in Hong Kong, as were many of his friends and the majority of Malaysians, who don’t condone violence and want an end to this “bad movie”, Wong said.
Taking a toll
What the radical protesters have been doing have “not only hurt” themselves, but also are “shooting themselves in the foot” by destroying Hong Kong’s economy, which “may plunge into a technical recession” after it is likely to record full-year negative growth owing to the protracted violence.
The recession might be just around the corner. Wong recalled he was one of the few people lining up at the immigration booths at 6:30 pm on Tuesday when he flew into the city.
“This is the first time I have come to Hong Kong and found a virtually empty immigration (area),” Wong said.
If Hong Kong enters a recession, the cost of living will be higher, and the standard of living will go down, with jobs being slashed and the currency depreciating, Wong said.
“So they need to understand that the rich will just migrate. But for the majority of people in Hong Kong, they will be stuck in Hong Kong. So life will become much more difficult for them. They need to understand that the destiny of the city is in their hands,” Wong said.
(HK Edition 10/31/2019 page4)