Historical Development of the Concept as a Hong Konger (2) – Development of Cantonese

There was no official language in Hong Kong in the 1950s. In that decade, Hong Kong population increased by several times, with immigrants from both Northern and Southern China flooding in. With such diverse origins of immigrants, we had different languages coexisted in this tiny place: Hakka, Shanghaiese, Teochew were spoken by many. There were even dialects from Tianjin and Peking. Hong Kong was a multilingual city.

The New Territories has been the habitat of Hakka people, mixed with many other ethnic groups, such as Tanka people. Hoi Pa Village in Tsuen Wan, Sam Tung Uk and Yim Tin Tsai Village in Sai Kung were famous Hakka villages, sharing similar architectural style with Hakka village in Mei County of Guangdong province of  China.

The rise of Cantonese to become dominant language in Hong Kong was the result of compulsory education. Hong Kong colonial government did not state clearly its policy in “official language”. Colonial government just carried out policies quietly without making clear instructions, yet the language used in compulsory education since 1960s has always been Cantonese.

Why was Cantonese chosen? It was due to the Leftist Riots in 1967. The United Kingdom adjusted its policy of Hong Kong. Hong Kong used to be treated as a free port with minimal restrictions to immigrants. The immigrants were viewed as temporary residents who would return to their homeland when the situation permitted. Therefore, there was no long term planning for this city, which was especially obvious in respect on cultural policies. There were hardly any cultural policies at all.

Of course, this was a pragmatic strategy, considering possible threat of annexing Hong Kong by Chinese Communists.

The Cultural Revolution in China caused a change to the picture. The refugees in Hong Kong became reluctant to return to China after witnessing the brutality of the Cultural Revolution. At the same time, the Revolution stimulated Chinese mainlanders in China to seek refuge in Hong Kong. 1967 Leftist Riots, which were highly correlated with the Cultural Revolution, alarmed these once fragmented and individual refugees of the imminent threats, making them to change their mind – starting to treat Hong Kong as their homeland.

The Leftist Riots ended by the order of Zhou Enlai. This hinted the “liberation” of Hong Kong was out of schedule for China. Hong Kong therefore became the shelter for those fleeing from the Cultural Revolution. This situation made the refugees to rethink of their roles. They could no longer treat themselves as passers-by; they became settlers. In this case, Hong Kong could no longer be managed like a large-scale refugee camp. Social policies had to be adjusted for its long term development.

From that point of time, the Hong Kong government had a drastic change in its policies: large-scale construction schemes of public housing for refugees to settle down; implementation of compulsory education, not only to improve education level, but also a process of identity construction. “Identity construction” meant a nation-building process, to create a new identity: a new identity with much stronger coherence, self-identity, sense of belonging and homogenous cultural characteristics among the residents. This was accompanied by industrialization, the strengthening of the trade networks with the South East Asia and Japan, the construction of desalination plant, while reducing its economic and entrepot trade dependence on mainland China. All these aimed at building up Hong Kong as a place for long term development.

Standard Cantonese was chosen as the de facto official language. Since then, the word 廣府話 (translated as Standard Cantonese, literally means the Cantonese primarily used in the core Canton/Guangzhou region) was renamed as 廣東話 (translated as Cantonese, which includes variations used in different regions of Guangdong province). “Cantonese” is a broader sense which includes “Standard Cantonese”. Treating “Standard Cantonese” as “Cantonese” served to consolidate the leading role of people from core Canton regions as the mainstream ethnic group in Hong Kong society. Simply speaking, that is to treat the people with core Canton origin as the major ethnic group among Hong Kongers. They served to assimilate the descendants of other refugees, which in turn strengthened the British rule.

Chinese and English bilingual subtitles were compulsory in the Hong Kong movies. “Chinese” became one of the official languages (This so-called “Chinese” language was de facto Cantonese, different from Putonghua of Communist China or Mandarin of Republic of China). These were the policies to nurture Cantonese as official language of Hong Kong. With favourable cultural soil, Hong Kong Cantonese movies emerged in this decade.

The diminishing influence of Hakka dialect was more or less the result of government policies. The British made a generous offer to indigenous inhabitants allowing them to emigrate to the United Kingdom. In that era, migration to the Kingdom was rather easy. These emigrants often left in a scale which most villagers in the village emigrated at the same time. Though they may still have properties and lands in Hong Kong, they lost their cultural influence. This helped the British government to clear a major obstacle in construction of Cantonese mainstream culture in Hong Kong.

Of course, not all the inhabitants were gone. So the Cantonese in Hong Kong was actually a language which based mainly on Standard Cantonese, and mixing the dialects of Chaoshan, Hakka and other provinces to form the “Cantonese of Hong Kong”. The influence of other dialects can still be found today, such as the use of 伯娘 in greeting elder uncle’s wife.

With the grownup of first generation taught by official Cantonese, other dialects and Hakka would lose their influence. Most of current Hong Kongers speak Cantonese. So we can see that the rise of Cantonese as mainstream culture in Hong Kong was a process of cultural colonization, instead of protecting cultures. This was quite a rare case in colonial policies. British was using the tools of nation build-up to construct the identity of Hong Kongers – a cultural identity with its mainstream based on Cantonese.

Such nation-building is in fact harmful to colonial rules, as it may spark independence movements. However, Hong Kong was quite a special case. For a long period of time, the political pressure of Hong Kong was the imminent annexation from mainland China. Hong Kong population was mainly composed of refugees who concerned primarily of personal security. So the nation-building process not only did not cause any harm to the colonial rule, but served to consolidate Hong Kong society to become a stable society for prosperous economic development. The refugees once without roots were transformed into citizens taking their roots in Hong Kong.

So you may ask: why the British didn’t pick Hakka dialect as official language but Cantonese? The answer is quite simple: only Cantonese could serve the purpose. The cultural influence of Canton was too significant to be ignored. Since late Qing period, the power of local Cantonese culture strengthened with time, which reached a climax when the emergence of Cantonese warlords in the beginning of the Republic of China. Cantonese essays and writings were widespread, and many Cantonese words were invented for widespread usage at that time. The Hong Kong colonial government was just borrowing the accumulated achievements of Cantonese culture. The British picked Cantonese for its economic and cultural power, as well as its usage overseas.

My professor once said that he was asked to explain why Cantonese language and characters had such significant influence when he attended a conference in Taiwan. Why was Cantonese so well developed, while Taiwanese characters were lagged behind? The reason was the cultural accumulation. They had significant difference in historical heritage and the influence of talents.

In a wider scope, though Cantonese attained dominance in Hong Kong, Chaoshan culture still had significant influence in Singapore and Thailand. Min Nan and Chaoshan were close branches in language division. The role of Min Nan language in those countries strengthened the role of Chaoshan.

Cantonese achieved its dominance with the endorsement of Hong Kong colonial government, would it be able to surpass other languages in Southern China. Hong Kong used public resources to promote the role of Cantonese. It even established Cantonese database. Hong Kong government made use of the accumulated achievements of Cantonese culture for nation-building. Hakka was not so fortunate to have its own government or even country.

Without the support of media and education, Hakka culture could only rely on civil resources. With gradual loss of Hakka culture, Hakka people would become assimilated – blood linkage could not retain cultural heritage.

Strictly speaking, “Cantonese” refers to a language with primary Cantonese branch mixing with other dialects, which is different from “Standard Cantonese”. Though the word “Cantonese” was so widely known, it was actually a dialect when compared to “Standard Cantonese”.

Historical Development of the Concept as a Hong Konger (1)

Early British colonial rule

Chinese and foreigners were segregated under early British rule. The Europeans had their own buildings and facilities, similar to the other British colonies around the globe. Most of them lived in the Mid-Levels. The boundary of Hong Kong was open to China in the early days. The Chinese were free to travel between Hong Kong and mainland China. The Chinese were living in the villages in the foot of the mountain. In principle, the British didn’t intervene too much in the matters among Chinese. The Great Qing Legal Code still applied to them.

In the beginning, the rule of the British over Chinese was only through the Hong Kong Police Force, a small-scale colonial police force, responsible for security to fire services. The attitude of Britain towards Hong Kong was similar to its other colonies: non-intervention policy towards daily lives of local inhabitants unless absolutely necessary.

The United Kingdom has proclaimed clearly its principles in ruling Hong Kong in the beginning:

  1. Hong Kong to become a free port with no tax levied, open to the world for trading;
  2. To respect the customs of local inhabitants

During Taiping Rebellion, many merchants in Southern China escaped to Hong Kong to avoid warfare. They employed many labours from Guangdong and Fujian, this resulted in great surge of population. Hong Kong naturally took the path to become an entrepot (there was often a misunderstanding from mainland China that Hong Kong became a rich city from entrepot trade), with over a hundred thousand population. As Hong Kong was an entrepot, everyone could do business here regardless of your origin. In the early days of colonial rule, no tax was levied. Commerce became prosperous under such free environment.

As mentioned above, under the principle of the colonial government in respecting local customs, there was no town planning at all for the Chinese community. This resulted in serious hygiene problems. When epidemics broke out, not only the Chinese were infected but the British. Only for this reason did the colonial government start to intervene on the rule of the Chinese community.

The most important change was the decree issued in 1865 proclaiming the equality of the law of Hong Kong towards everyone. The original texts with discrimination to Chinese were abolished. This marked the ground stone of the rule of law of Hong Kong.

Another change was the establishment of the Urban Council, with similar functions of a council. This elected council functioned as an institution to tackle with home affairs, such as hygiene problems in the city, and the development of utilities like gas, electricity and freshwater. To the British, it was most important to maintain good hygiene in the Chinese community. That is a typical colonial policy, pragmatic and free from ideologies. The British colonial government in Hong Kong has been a pragmatic one throughout the colonial history of Hong Kong.

To sum up the British rule in one sentence: the colonial government refrained from intervention in local affairs unless absolutely necessary. The Manchus were unable to rule, while the British didn’t want to. This resulted in a free environment for knowledge and business to thrive, and the result why Hong Kong later became the freest economic entity in the world. It is better to say Hong Kong people were the few lucky ones who could disregard the rulers throughout human history, then they were contented to the rule of the British.

Hong Kongers’ identity as refugees

Hong Kong has long been separated from Chinese rule for over 150 years, a much longer period to much Chinese sovereignty on Earth. However, the history of growth of self-identity was not that long, it was only the matter of recent decades.

Hong Kong was a society composed of refugees. We had refugees from mainland China, India and Vietnam. They formed a majority of the Hong Kong population (Hong Kong’s population increased for several times after World War II). Many families took root in Hong Kong for only two to three generations. Therefore, their mindsets developed in their origins were brought to Hong Kong, many of them with certain political backgrounds.

On the other hand, the education system in Hong Kong was not unified. There was no legitimate official concept and ideology in the education system. The system allowed the Government and civil society to establish their own schools. The school authority had the rights to implant the concepts they wanted to disseminate in their curriculums. There were school institutions with different backgrounds, from religious groups, industrial associations, clan relative societies, academic institutions and political groups (such as Leftist schools), with religious variations from Buddhism to Christianity to Muslims. Different students from different schools will therefore hold different values.

This resulted in heterogeneous and diversified mindsets and values in Hong Kong, many of them were quite radical. Few could find somebody else with congruent views as himself. Everyone is more or less different from the others, and that’s why many find themselves confused in the question of self-identity. The identity as a “Chinese” and as a “Hong Konger” gradually becomes antagonistic, especially when this “China” is so distinctively different in its culture, thinking and concept from Hong Kong, the antagonism is further sharpened.

That is the infant stage of the identity as a Hong Konger. There are not yet any significant figures or groups. Hong Kong people are awaking. When you start to find yourself have something distinctively different, it’s hard to cheat yourself anymore.

The Weakest Link of the Hong Kong Democrats

The pro-China inclination is the cancer to the Democrats of Hong Kong, a ghost which has been haunting them for a long time which they find it hard to be free from it. As long as the Democrats have such inclination, the interests of Hong Kong will be inevitably sacrificed. Many Democrats are good people in terms of moral standard. However, what is the point for them to exist as a political power if they cannot stand for the interests of their local voters? The root of the Democrats is in Hong Kong, not China. Hong Kong is the place where the Democrats can take root. The image of beautiful China in their mind is only an illusion implanted in their mind through education since their childhood.

That is the weakest link of the Hong Kong Democrats. They just can’t break up with the Chinese patriots. Among the Hong Kong Democrats, many of them are Chinese patriotic leftists with connections with Chinese Communists. They have no self-identity as a “Hong Konger”. In the era of British colonial rule, these Democrats were against the colonial government by identifying themselves as Chinese. Such kind of movement was the extension of the struggle of Chinese nationalists against colonialism. Their ideology rested on their patriotism on China and the leftist socialism. Although these Chinese nationalists broke up with Beijing authority after certain incident (Note: Tiananmen Massacre in 1989), they were far from setting free from the ghost of self-identity as a Chinese. They had no clear and definite self-identity as a Hong Konger, and therefore unable to identify themselves as a group different from Chinese. These Democrats were cautious when they dealt with the Communists, but they had no immunity against China. Once the Communists cast the spell of nationalism, Democrats find themselves paralyzed and unable to counteract.

As long as the Hong Kong Democrats are the advocates of Chinese unification, they are the hostages of Chinese Communists and Chinese colonialism. That is why when the local interests of Hong Kong are exploited for the sake of China, the Democrats never voice their protests. Hong Kongers have never learned to become masters themselves. They were contented to keep themselves away from politics, and the position of Hong Kong as a mere economic city. In the meantime, Hong Kongers’ attachment to the “Greater China” was so severe. Local media and Chinese schools have been brainwashing Hong Kong people with distorted Chinese nationalism. This made them become paralyzed in their struggle for democracy: whenever they protest for democracy, the Chinese government cast the spell of nationalism, then the Hong Kong people find themselves paralyzed. The basis to fight for democracy is to regard yourself as an independent region with unique cultural heritage. Only when you find yourself different from the others, you have the aspiration to become the master of your own. Such difference is not just in terms of economic standards, the sense of group identity makes much more importance.

China is difficult to be changed without efforts for several decades to several centuries. Those who wish to change China are at the end changed by China. Preserving yourself and to keep an eye on the change is the only true path to take.

The Origins of Political Parties of Hong Kong

The political environment of Hong Kong in 1960 to 1970 was quite severe.

It was the era of fierce conflicts between the Kuomintang (or Chinese Nationalist Party) with the Communists in Hong Kong. The Cultural Revolution in China was the catalyst to the 1967 Leftist Riots in Hong Kong. As you may know the term “paid thugs” (Note: it means the thugs paid for by the Communists to stir up the riots), you know that is closely connected to the political movements in China. Hong Kong was exposed to the threat of military attacks during the decades of 1960s and 70s. It was rumoured that the British had plan of nuclear counterattacks. Therefore, the Hong Kong people in these two decades were living in the threat of the Word War III.

The pro-democrats and native power were nurtured by the Chinese Communist in their infancy. “The 70s”, an old political magazine in Hong Kong, had been censored by the authority in Taiwan. In the old days of Hong Kong, there was no such thing as “Localists”. (there were only roughly three divisions existed: pro-British, pro-Taiwan/Kuomintang and pro-Communist). The rise of sense of consciousness as a Hong Konger was a recent development since 1970s. It was the time when the identity of “Hong Konger” was born.

The Development of Democrats in Hong Kong

Democrats in Hong Kong shared the same origin from the “Leftists” (In political sense of Hong Kong, it always means “Pro-Communist” and “Pro-Beijing” political view). It was the Tiananmen Massacre which led to their breakup.

That is why we see the Democrats are still chained by their belief, and why they cannot view an issue from the view as a Hong Kongers. That is why I say Hong Kong may take the path of fascism someday. It is a supplement to the impotence of the Democrats in taking side with Hong Kongers.

Tiananmen Massacre led to the breakup of Leftists and the founding of Pan-democracy camp. In the days of British rule, they were actually the Leftists, or to put it more clearly, Communists. Many politicians today were the leaders of labour movements under British rule.

The Development of Leftists in Hong Kong

The emergence of the Leftists was similar to that of Pan-democrats: it composes of people holding different ideas: there are discontented labours, patriots, bandits, speculators, native nationalists, and even prodigals.

Radical leftists have their markets. Whenever there are the poor, there are always radical leftists. In a society where the poor is the majority, radical leftists have large lebensraum.

Radical leftists have not much political power. It is because they don’t know how to organize it.

The Leftists in Hong Kong has long relied on the Chinese Communists to get the nurture of ideology and assistance. Soon they become reliant and lack the power of self-sustainability. How can you succeed without weaning?

New Leftists will soon rise in Hong Kong. They will emerge from the poor. No matter how rich Hong Kong is, there is always good supply of poor people. While the Leftists mentioned in the previous paragraphs, are merely pseudo-leftists.

Karl Marx was actually right in many things with many correct observations. He only failed in making predictions.

Revolution and Angry Youth: The destructive power of violence

The Violence of Revolution

Even in the peaceful days like today, many people still think that the solution to many problems is to “kill those bad guys” or “force them to do what we want with guns on their heads”. One of the most instinctive reflections of humans in solving the problems is to eliminate the “bad guys”. When humans can’t think of the ways to solve problems, violence becomes the way out.

That’s why we have so many wars. Yugoslav Wars is a real example. When the society evolves to a stage when the social problems cannot be solved, people tend to blame on the “bad guys” and to eliminate them as the way out. As in Nazi Germany, whether the Jews were really the problem to the Reich was not the point. The point is that Hitler could make use of them as the scapegoats for the Germans to vent their angers when they found themselves leading a hard life.

The Breeding Ground of Angry Youth

Angry Youth is the product of the environment, angry youth doesn’t shape the environment.

Looking back in history book, you will find that the rise of Angry Youth in Japan and Germany was the result of their unresolvable despair in their economic conditions. Humans are the animals who can live comfortably when the economy is fine. They won’t resort to radical solutions.

Those living under heavy pressure become Angry Youth is that they find no way out. The feeling of frustration is the breeding ground for Angry Youth.

So it’s still the result of the economy. The distant cause of Angry Youth is the distorted development of economy, which is the hardest problem to resolve. During the recessions, everyone suffers, even the rich, the landlord, the tycoons or bureaucrats. Recessions are always the breeding grounds of Angry Youth. Once you say you have to down with them, you become an Angry Youth.

If the economic problems get no way out, the society either declines, or gets controlled by the Angry Youth.

Angry Youth’s Political Speculations

The People’s Republic of China has always been led to the wrong way by the Angry Youth since its establishment till today.

You may offend anyone except the Angry Youth. Why? First of all, Angry Youth mentality is an epidemic, it can spread through different ways: by literature, by discussion, by education or by television. Mind control or media control cannot curb its spread. You may curb the spread of democracy and freedom, but not the Angry Youth mentality.

The mentality of the Angry Youth is basically to blame all their failures to “foreign enemies”. This claim is a tautology which can no way be verified. So to become an Angry Youth is always easy, like addiction; while keeping away from it is hard. It’s hard because you have to convince yourself that the “foreign enemy” is not the problem.

The wish of an Angry Youth is the rise of the nation, rise to an extent strong enough to make a big mistake. Of course, only for a country with potential to become a power can nurture the Angry Youth. Their hope is to accumulate more cards enough for them to bet them all. That is like a guy working in McDonald’s for ten years and to bet all his savings in a night in a casino.

If they win the bet, they will bet more till they lose. That’s like the teaching of the “Art of War”: a country wins all the wars will perish. A country which wins the wars all the time becomes more arrogant and eager to wage wars (as demonstrated by Japan). They think that we used to win before, and we are winning now, so we will win in the future. This kind of gambler will always end as a beggar.

A major setback is good to them. This can wake the Angry Youth up from their dreams and perish their unrealistic hopes. Only by failures will they be convinced that their country has no hope to become strong.

(Imagine the mentality of the Japanese Imperial Army when they heard the “Jewel Voice Broadcast” – Japanese emperor’s script on unconditional surrender of Japan in World War II)

Only when the hopes of those Angry Youth perish with no more illusions on the rise of their nations, those countries get salvation.

A country will become more sensible when it becomes free from those self-proclaimed patriots.

Reason of Revolution and its Participants

There are always a majority of common people hoping for stability with some vested interest groups which form our society. They have no interests in revolutions and are insensitive to political developments. What they hope for is to get some power and interests and keep the status quo forever. However, it is exactly such mentality and behaviour leads to revolutions.

Revolution does not need the support of the majority. It will not be a peaceful one or ordered. It is not like those portrayed in media or books as an enthusiastic movement participated by all the people. It rather turns out like this: when a significant group of insensitive people suddenly find their interests greatly affected, they will rise up and call themselves revolutionaries, even they have no idea on the meaning of revolution the day before.

Angry Youth should not be trusted, Politics should be violence-free

I can’t see the bright future of the human society from the Angry Youth. They always call themselves patriotic; they hope for the rise of China, imagining one day China’s sovereignty will extend to where, and who will be beaten and conquered, and so on. Yet they have no idea how to promote the well-being of humans; what kind of thinking, systems and virtues they can deliver to the mankind. They don’t care about solving the problems of humans and the nature.

This is no patriotism. They are just demanding others to sacrifice and kneel to the knees of the country, but not themselves. This is hegemony, not patriotism. But they don’t know the difference between the two.

A country full of hatred and hostility to the world will only bring a dark future to the mankind. Their success will only lead to the rise of a dark and evil power. Politics should always be based on the love to the world, the nature, mankind, civilization, freedom and life.

Social Movement and the Adverse Effects of Heroism

Regarding to the Tiananmen Crackdown, my point of view is that: the mindset of Angry Youth and the Pro-democracy activists were actually the same. Those who said “We must unify the country at all costs”, or “A revolution is not a dinner party”, were based on the same mindset as the Angry Youth. That is, the advocating of bloodshed, only to get scared when it became a reality. (Note: this comment points to the statement once made by the Pro-democracy activist leader, Cai Ling, “What we hoped for was bloodshed”, during an interview with a U.S. journalist). You will see that these people often show contempt or mock on peaceful social movements.

What they hope for and what they admire is a revolution with violence. Peaceful revolution without bloodshed is often regarded as something mockable, impossible and unrealistic.

Such belief in the power of violence and the impotence of non-violence lead to no way. If you hold such a view, you will first realize that as a civilian, you get no violence. This kind of belief can only lead to a cynic conclusion: no political view is rational, and there is no more rational strategy than joining in the establishment, which monopolizes violence. This kind of thinking leads you to nowhere but to produce a cynic.

Why such belief is prominent? It is the result of “heroic education” in China.

The education in worship of heroes leads to radical reactions. The reason why the students in the Tiananmen Incident acted rather radically was more or less the influence of such kind of education.

They had no contingencies at the planning stage. They thought that provided that their cause was righteous, and that they were on the right side, they were the heroes who would win anyway. Therefore, there was no need for contingency plans. This could be very attractive to the supporters, and that was why they were at a state of ecstasy for a period of time. What they thought of was not to bargain, but to achieve an “ultimate victory” through bargaining. But what precisely is the “ultimate victory”, they could only give obscure answers.

It must be wrong to blame them as selfish. The truth was that, at the time that they showed contempt to any activities to seek for self-interests, they did not realize that setting a realizable objective as way to maximize self-interests is a rational activity. Only such kind of people knows the timing to make a deal and to reach consensus.

The Pro-democracy activists were not working on realizable “interests”. They were working on the achievement of an obscure “victory”. They were trying to win, instead of trying to get something concrete. This made the incident hard to resolve. No one knew what they want precisely, and so did they. They even didn’t think of what they wanted. They were just looking for the feeling of victory. But the question is, how to define “victory”? There must be some measurable yardsticks. No, they got none. That was the effects of heroic education.

Those who say “unifying Taiwan can strengthen China” today are not much different from those who said “China will be better off with democracy”. The former ones have no idea of the functions of Taiwan and what to do after unifying Taiwan. Their view is “Let’s think about it only when the unification is realized”.

For the latter ones, it is quite the same. How can democracy wipe out corruptions? Their view on democracy is the same, “Let’s have democracy first, and we talk about the rest later on”. They have no idea how to implement it, but just to leave this problem to others, that is, the Communist Party, to deal with it.

Their emphasis was therefore not to achieve anything concrete, but to feel that they win. That was why they were in a state of ecstasy and commented on everything. Their ideals were just too obscure.

If you ask the Chinese people, “do you advocate the liberation of Taiwan at the cost of lives of 100,000 people?” I believe many will say yes. But if you add a condition in the question, “How about if you and your family and friends have to take the guns to take the beachheads?” , I doubt how many of them will nod without hesitation. That was the same question put to the Pro-democracy activists at that moment. Revolutions are often bloody, yet they were too late to realize that, and who was to shed his blood. This sounds ridiculous, but was common to the participants.

That was not the problem of the leader. In contrast, it was more the problem of the followers. If they had put someone on the position of leader with the willingness and ability to make a deal, the situation could have been better. But the question was, were they satisfied to have this guy be the leader under such state of ecstasy?

That is why they had Cai Ling.

If there is another Tiananmen Incident, will the result be better? Well, I don’t think there will be much difference for the students. But for the Chinese government, it may be different.

Characteristics of Chinese-style Education

Lack of Logic

I always find it surprising that the Chinese students studying humanities receive no education on logic.

Division of arts stream and science stream is an odd thing. Arts stream students do not study logic, while science stream students do not student history. The output is therefore skilled workers, but no intellectuals.

The weakness of Chinese in thinking is due to their superstitions in Classics. Even when you make an illogical statement, if you can quote something from the Classics to support your statement, many people dare not to criticize your words. While facing the authority of the Classics, be it real or fake, people just have no guts to challenge it.

That is the reason why illogical statements are so prevalent in the Chinese society. Chinese education in humanities discourages the study of logics Those who work on history and social issues in most of their lives receive no logic education. These people use the word “logic” in a causal way. They just label the word “logical” on the statements which is correct from their personal view. Such education system must be reformed.

That is why there are so many tedious and long articles in our Chinese society full of circular reasoning.

We always blame on the foolishness of the mass, and say that is the reason why they need to be ruled. However, our education system never focuses on turning the foolish people into clever ones.

Logic is not something that complicated. There are only few major rules. Chinese people have so much time to spend on educating students to love the ruling party and to love the country, but find no time to teach those few rules. Isn’t it ironic?

We always say that the politicians are shameless. Then why the people are always fooled by the shameless politicians, but are never convinced by those with shame?

Those who have shame will tell you something you don’t like to listen. Those shameless will try to tell you that the society will become more stable and prosperous, the future economy will just be good, the future prospect will just be great, and so on.

To a certain extent, the presence of numerous shameless politicians is due to the fact that people prefer them. People just can’t live without these guys.

Many belong to the group who has vested interests often lack of logics They just don’t know how to teach their children. Even they themselves are aware of their chaotic minds, they still don’t know how to deal with it.

Under this kind of education system, even the top rulers will become foolish.

We are just not used to think logically. In fact, logic is never taught in schools. Logic should be a part of moral education. I think logic should be taught at the early stage of life as a part of elementary education. This is the knowledge for people to judge what is right and wrong, what is real and fake. This is as important as the learning of language and writing.

Lack of Rewards to Hard workers

The change in socio-economic factors and the lack of opportunities of career development are the indirect causes to the present problems in education. What wait for a hardworking person with good virtue is not opportunity, but belittlement and helplessness. This society is rewarding those who are selfish but “smart” persons, while punishing who work hard with sweat and toil. This is also reflected in the minds of the students. Hardworking students are sometimes regarded as guys leading a hard life with nothing to envy.

Demeaning the Value of an Individual

Our culture discourages us from admiring an individual. A cleaner working hard to clean the streets gets no recognition. A scholar who makes achievements in academics gets no recognition. A programmer who can write good programs gets no recognition. Our culture teaches us to pick on the trivial matters of those who make achievements. If nothing can be picked on, that guy must be a hypocrite.

When we witness somebody making achievements, our society is keen on finding reasons to prove that “he is just an average guy with nothing great”. When we witness the failures of others, our society will celebrate on it. You will hear people say “he deserves it by taking risks”.

At the end of the day, we admire no one; we do not appreciate any ideals. What remain with us is no more than fear and the desire to acquire more. What we worship is nothing but the pure and undeniable power: may it be violence, power or money. We deny all other values except these three.

Encouraging Collectivism

Chinese people do not emphasize on the education of the sense of belongings. The sense of belongings is being neglected in different aspects of government policies. The policies are often lack of tolerance. Our education policies even serve to suppress the nurturing of the sense of belongings.

For example, self-motivated supports from students are not encouraged for inter-school competitions. Some schools neglect them, while some others make support compulsory (that is, to organize students to support and make it a compulsory activity), either of these is no good to build up the sense of belongings.

Besides, the absence of mother tongues in education (which is common to mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Among the three, it seems the situation for Hong Kong is better). This leads to the lack of identity of the students to their mother tongues. This also makes students to regard the language used in teaching as a more superior tongue (e.g. Mandarin or English), and to regard their mother tongues as something secondary, or no more than a dialect. This nurtures a mindset regarding foreign culture (usually the language used for teaching) as superior.

Demeaning the value of mother tongue and regarding it as the barrier to communication lead to more conflicts of values. This curbs the build-up of the sense of belongings. The sense of belongings is in itself exclusive: when you attach yourself to a certain identity, it necessarily weakens your sense of belongings to the others. Let everyone to have something unique to him, and to recognize it, is an important factor to nurture the sense of belongings. However, the Chinese society is repulsive to this kind of view.

It is quite apparent that our education is encouraging collectivism than respecting individual differences. We always want our children to be the same as the others. We don’t wish them to become unique or having a strong character. Likewise, we don’t wish our children to be different to the others in culture or language. This kind of education produces a group of people lacking of the sense of belongings. A very common example: we would force our left-hander child to become a right-hander.

This kind of teaching of course strangles any sense of belongings. Under this kind of education, the “self” has been strangled. An individual is nothing more than a member of a group. Of course, this doesn’t mean that all will solidarize under the group. This only nurtures a group of individuals who assume the authority of the group as his own, a group of individuals who wish to profit from the achievement of the group.