A primary school like no other in Hong Kong, part 2

The persecution of Lantau International School at the hands of murky ‘rural interests’ and the Environmental Protection Department continues, with the Noise Control Appeal Board confirming the validity of a noise reduction order. When outside during playtime, the kids create a noise level of 62dB, which, in plain English, could be worse.  But it’s 2dB above the limit for the area, known for its graveyard-like silence and its local residents’ extreme aural hypersensitivity. So LIS has to find a way to cut the din.

The South China Morning Post reports the matter as one of a villager called Jenny Tam driven to torment by children laughing and playing music (as, in all frankness, I would be). An alternative story is one of apparent collusion between the EPD and the local village leadership who seem to have it in for the racially mixed institution; another school in the neighbourhood, full of all-Chinese students, can carry on as usual. If the Board’s decision is on the EPD website, they’ve done a good job of hiding it, but Kafka fans may see it here.

Lantau is a hotbed of scholastic strife. On the surface, it is a sleepy and happy land of buffalo droppings, snakes, mosquitoes, extraterrestrial mutant vegetation and people building houses on other people’s driveways. Dig down, however, and you find a battlefield of festering feuds in which everyone hates everyone else’s educational hopes and needs. The only thing that unites the community is the creepy Christian drug treatment centre, which they have nothing against personally but will torch if it moves its premises anywhere near them.

Interfere at your peril. A sizable, empty school sits idle in the heart of bustling Mui Wo. There are (officially) too few high-schoolers to make the facility viable, so, much to everyone’s fury, older kids have to commute to schools somewhere over near Papua-New Guinea. To a layman onlooker pulling tattered protest banners aside and peering through the locked gates of the deserted campus, it would seem perfectly possible that the authorities could justify reopening the place by (say) letting the local high-schoolers and/or LIS and/or the creepy Christian drug-fiend-rehab buffalo-rapists share it. Such a Solomonic utterance will have you scratched off every Christmas card list in town, in seconds.

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7 Responses to A primary school like no other in Hong Kong, part 2

  1. cecilie says:

    Ah, that LIS! Those children. They laugh. They stomp loudly on the pavement. They chat.

    Meanwhile, Pui O Primary School a little further up the road, uses LOUD loudspeakers for the “moral grounding of children” speeches the headmaster gives in the school yard every damned morning, tearing me out of well deserved sleep.

    You can hear the awful shrieks and whines not only in my gaff but all the way down to the beach half a kilometre away. But that’s not loud enough to break the decibel sound barrier, apparently.

  2. No. 20 says:

    Are there any illegal structures on house no 20?

    these get ignored unless someone complains

    Just asking

  3. duncan says:

    Fascinating db list, but please help me; what is a ‘bird call’ and what are ‘rustling leaves’?

  4. Maugrim says:

    Hmmm, I’d probably choose a school to live next to (which would be mostly silent on weekends) than the usual HK rabbit hutch that is accompanied by the dulcet tones of drilling at odd hours, pavements being dug up, bus noise, elephant feet upstairs, crappy plumbing sounds etc etc. I suspect the drilling sounds are audio tapes played to make residents feel as if they are still, really in HK.

  5. Jacqueline Berthier says:

    Yes, there are illegal structures in house 20. The DLO had been informed. Nothing happened…

  6. stu says:

    “Yes, there are illegal structures in house 20. The DLO had been informed. Nothing happened…”

    Perhaps that’s because Buildings Dept and not LandD handles unauthorised structures?

  7. Jacqueline Berthier says:

    Thank you, Stu, but for the exempted village houses, the Building Department has no saying. They are under the authority of the Lands Department and in the Outlying Islands of the DLO.

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