HK Government’s most amazing achievement ever?

The new academic year begins, and just over one percent (‘at least’ six out of around 500) of Hong Kong’s primary schools are launching the new Moral and National Education curriculum, now simply referred to by many teachers, parents and schoolkids as ‘wash brain’. The ever-thorough Standard lists them. One seems to be run by an affiliate of the pro-Beijing teachers’ group that produced the now-infamous teaching guide about the superiority of the Communist Party’s ‘China model’. Another’s name includes an abbreviation of suspiciously United Front-style length. A third is the Fresh Fish Traders’ institution that seems to get in the headlines quite a lot (or is just that the name sticks in the mind?).

A report from last night’s protest at the Tamar government HQ is here, and a reminder that the world is watching is here. Even apologists seem uncomfortable with what’s happening. The latest situation is that the hunger strikers are still doing their thing, and the bizarreness looks set to continue through to the Legislative Council election on Sunday. The administration of CY Leung, with Chief Secretary Carrie Lam bravely serving as representative on Earth, is undergoing a crisis of cluelessness.

Just to remind ourselves: what was National Education supposed to do in the first place? The truth is that it seems to have been a symbolic gesture put together to appease local and Mainland complaints about Hongkongers’ apparent lack of patriotism, CCP-style. But the ‘official unofficial’ aim is to instill in young Hongkongers the sort of social and civic consciousness that leads them to share Mainland Chinese people’s broad acceptance of and at least occasional pride in the achievements of the nation under the one-party state. Now look at this picture from today’s South China Morning Post… 

What we see is a well-groomed, roughly 12-year-old schoolgirl in a neat and tidy uniform. She probably has a big stuffed Hello Kitty on her bed at home, and when not eating curried squid balls or studying her Level 1 algebra, she plays Angry Birds on her iPhone. Except that’s not what she’s doing. With at least several classmates, she is handing out ‘No to Wash Brain’ tags for fellow students to attach next to the pink furry thing dangling from their backpacks.

National Education has radicalized 12-year-old girls: the exact opposite of what it was supposed to do. It has turned entire classrooms of kids into thrilled freedom-fighting anti-government activists. The most cunning CIA operatives, the most determined Taiwan splittists, the most imaginative of Hong Kong’s pro-democrats couldn’t have pulled this off. For producing such a subversive movement, National Education would surely be illegal under the Article 23 security laws, had they come into existence. The cadres in Beijing’s Liaison Office in Western must be wondering who to shoot first.

To help them, I propose that the next Nobel Peace Prize be awarded jointly to Carrie Lam, the pro-Beijing National Education Services Centre and the porn website that shut down for the day to swell the crowds at Tamar.

Heck – Gandhi couldn’t have done it.

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21 Responses to HK Government’s most amazing achievement ever?

  1. Maugrim says:

    This is a little more serious than today’s post suggests. Have a look at this from last night’s ATV broadcast, something that quite rightly has HK’ers seething:

  2. Will.I.Am says:

    Gov’t’s true genius… unintended consequences. Good write-up.

  3. Bela Bevin says:


    1. Kowtow just a bit to the CCP Leftists to show them how nice you can be and to get elected.

    2. Throw up your hands in horror when the masses rebel.

    3. Abandon plan and garner popular support.

    4. Kick the Leftists up the ass.

    5. Er…

    6. That’s it!

  4. darovia says:

    Can’t say that I agree with legislation through hunger strike, but with a non-representative and dysfunctional government what else can one do? The worrisome bit is that we know NE must eventually be withdrawn, given the eventual risk of strikes by teachers and pupils. Why can’t CY and Carrie see it – this pattern is never ending.

  5. nulle says:

    guys, you haven’t seen anything yet.
    Now they are including a national education record for every primary and secondary student. If you don’t have ‘sufficient’ points you can advance to secondary education.

    this is getting scary…

  6. Stephen says:

    With a competent ‘opposition’ this would be a golden opportunity to give the Government (DAB) a right kicking. But with Albert, Audrey, Fred, Triad and Co I somehow doubt they will seize the initiative.

    Why is so difficult for the Government to understand that as soon as the CCP appears you’ve lost the China card with the majority of Hong Kongers.

    Olympians, Astronauts, Insignificant Islands – all fine. CCP not.

    And as for the timing !

  7. Mary Hinge says:

    “Why is so difficult for the Government to understand that as soon as the CCP appears you’ve lost the China card with the majority of Hong Kongers.”

    Pretty sure they do understand it, Stephen. They’re just not allowed to show that they do.

  8. mumphLT says:

    Everything they turn their dirty little hands to they manage to screw up totally.

    No wonder no one ever trusts them.

    I’m often amazed when they have these ‘approval ratings’ – where do they find, & how much fruit money do they pay to – the people that think they are doing a good job…?

  9. PropertyDeveloper says:

    CY must be wondering whether HK is governable, and how long he can hang onto his job. Tsang Yok Sing or Regina could then finally have their day of fame, before Peking decides enough is enough and imposes direct rule, a la Northern ireland?

  10. Old Timer says:

    I play Angry Birds on my iPhone, too. Emily Lau is my favourite.

  11. nulle says:

    well, guess what…the CCP propagada streak is beginning by HK ATV…claiming that London and Washington is behind the protests for National Education…

    (even scarier, isn’t it?)

  12. Real Tax Payer says:

    This feels rather like Tiananmen deja vu, except that it’s school kids now, not students

    I’ve a feeling the govt will not back down. so let’s hope they handle the demonstration and shut it down better than in 1989.

  13. Headache says:

    Where are the CY supporters and apologists now? Do they still believe he aims to govern in HK’s best interests? That suspicion of an assimilation agenda is unfounded? HK is circling the plughole, my friends.

  14. Real Scot Player says:

    @OldTimer LOL

  15. Pruny Wong (constipated) says:

    Could this be the beginning of the “Chinese Spring” ?

  16. Real Tax Payer says:

    This also has a sense of deja vu re Art 23.

    Remember that what we all got pissed off about re Art 23 was not so much that it was a “bad law” ( it wasn’t really) but it was a supreme case of “bad law -making” ( which it certainly was, really )

    And now to make it worse :

    1. The govt is bombarding us with TV commercials telling us all to vote on 9.9 ( except the kiddies, of course) and the various parties are therefore legitimately stomping around banging drums and waving banners : some like nazi brown-shirts

    2. The govt has given the kiddies a tailor-made cause to behave as “grown ups” and even wear black shirts . Sh1t ! They can even hold a 2 – day hunger strike before they are ambulanced off to Ruttonjee in a “hello-kitty- and-Mcdondalds-deprived- coma ”

    Indeed , the kiddies can even hold the govt to ransom , if not emotional blackmail

    Now is that or is that a good result of national education?

    Guess the May 5 students, not to mention those on June 4 would say YES !

  17. Will.I.Am says:

    @ Nulle

    Big Agreed.

    The Commies must be thinking the “Two Systems” part of the deal with the SAR is starting to go to peoples’ heads and they’ll be putting a stop to it in short order before this virus spreads.

  18. Real Tax Payer says:

    @ Pruny Wong ( constipated or otherwise):

    Your simple one-liner may turn out to be prophetic, certainly prescient .

    Wouldn’t it be the ultimate irony ( and the ultimate “good thing” – to quote “1066 and all That”) if a simple demo by 4,000 school kids : innocent, totally naive, and probably mis-led by a few agitators with hidden destructive motives, but school kids very computer- (and hello-kitty) -savvy, protesting against a top-down imperative that they MUST study the dreaded ‘National Education Agenda’ becomes the tipping point for the tens of thousands of micro-bloggers in the Mainland ( to which we are now umbilically linked, like it or not : I like it ) who are protesting as to why a top cadre who was tipped for the new Polituro had a son who was so rich that he could drive around with a naked Mongolian girl in a Ferrari so fast that he ultimately crashed out of control and was killed.

    If that was Carrie Lam’s son in the Ferrari and it happened on the Shatin freeway would Ms Lam now have the face to stand up and address the school kiddies ? I think not.

    But the Ferrari crash was true, and is viral.

    The school kiddie’s demo and “hunger” ( well: eat-no-McDonalds) strike is also true and is viral .

    Fact is :people are getting angry and NOTHING can silence the internet .

    And sometimes children speak more truth than adults.

    I don’t want “revolution” in the middle-eastern “Spring” sense for China .

    Neither does anyone with any common sense who went through the 1960’s and 1970’s , nor even the 1980’s with Tiananmen. NEVER AGAIN, Pray God.

    But I do want a peaceful ” revolution” : slow, gradual, and sensible, which will benefit us all, because like it or not, we are indeed all part of the Motherland. (And if you don’t like it, then please leave HK tomorrow)

    How funny it would be if a common love of Hello Kitty was the final ( peaceful) “tipping point”

    Food for thought

    PS : Strange how Hemmer’s blog stimulates active thinking, especially when further stimulated by other commentators with active brain cells who contribute constructively, as I hope I do by and large

  19. PropertyDeveloper says:

    Pruny, More likely the Hundred Flowers?

  20. Real Tax Payer says:

    @ PD :

    If you pick this up : NO Hundred Flowers which was a Mao witch hunt

    I hope we have gone beyond the witch-hunt era ( and count yourself lucky you did not live in that fear- filled era)

    What we need for China is a super-soft Jasmine change ( don’t even use the “R” word)

    It will take 50, maybe 100 years , but then so did America take over 100 years to get where they are today , not to mention a civil war en route ( only votes for every tax payer, blacks and women in the past century )

    I DID study US History as my major

    RTP aka USA Historian

  21. Ping Che says:

    @RTP: From which of the civil wars in the Chinese history should we start counting the 100 years?

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