Update on education, followed by a test

Being the offshoot of Sing Tao, the Standard occasionally scoops its paid-for alternative. And today’s front-page story suggests that CY Leung’s shining radicalism (or at least willingness to do something) can’t help bursting through his Beijing and Mainland patina from time to time. It looks as if the administration, in a sharp turn away from the hand-wringing obfuscation of its predecessor, will restore the English Schools Foundation’s level of funding and thus pretty much incorporate the institution into the existing system of subsidized-but-independent schools.

Parents who whine about the ESF’s insatiable appetite for higher fees and even a debenture scheme will be happy (if that’s possible). But the implications – if the story is correct – go much further.

It means the government is embracing something that previous officials feared as politically incorrect: a chain of colonial-era, English-language schools that can hardly be funded by the taxpayer. This is probably pragmatic rather than ideological, to accommodate the needs of a multi-cultural population. But it will really upset some patriotic types and the ‘Sino Pride’ cultural warriors who write all those South China Morning Post letters against Western influence.

It also means the leadership is showing approval for schools for which many Hong Kong families have a strong preference – a preference much resented by the civil servants in the Education Bureau because it’s such a vivid rejection of the style of education they seek to force upon the city.

CY is irritating all the right people, for a change.

A quick test based on today’s meaningful Hong Kong news…

1  After agreeing to appear on TV, your airhead bim wife is upset to see that the broadcasting company – CCTV, no less – bizarrely portray her as an airhead bim, with the extract even appearing on YouTube, where it has so far attracted a relatively modest 33,000 views. Do you: a) keep quiet and look into yourselves to ask the meaning of what has happened, possibly referring to Ecclesiastes 6:2 for inspiration; or b) take legal action, so it gets into the press and loads of people who would never otherwise have heard about it check out the video and wonder what ghastly people you must be? (Based on the first 1 minute 36 seconds, which was all I could stand.)

2  Upon concluding that your kids are too dimwitted to get into a brand-name university on their own merits, you engage a ‘college admissions consultant’ who tells you he can get them into Harvard for US$2.2 million. When he fails to do so, do you: a) keep your mouth shut and reflect on how shallow and distasteful your behaviour has been, maybe seeking guidance from, say, Matthew 16:26; or b) go to court, so the whole world can see how pathetic you are and wonder if everyone in Hong Kong is like you and Airhead Bim Taitai YouTube Lady and Cecil Chow?

3  Finding yourself starting to look a bit middle-aged, do you: a) live with it because you’re in your 40s or 50s and that’s what happens, and you still have a few decades of life ahead of you; or b) go to the DR beauty salon in Causeway Bay and pay some stem-cell-spouting quack to inject you with processed blood, after which you succumb to a major infection, ultimately dying in hospital, leaving your loved ones with no choice but to listen miserably at the funeral as the pastor reads out something like Genesis 3:19?

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17 Responses to Update on education, followed by a test

  1. Lola Bugatti says:

    All the stories you highlight have one thing in common.

    It’s the mystical belief in Hong Kong that money can do anything: educate, vindicate, decorate.

    Tell that to men who drive sports cars. They always have small appendages and the car never grows it one millimetre.

  2. PropertyDeveloper says:

    So all Heather Du Quesnay’s efforts changed nothing, and it just took was a quiet word at a private function to get $120 m a year?

    I suspect some of the trolls in the various forums are paid by the article/word/key word (local, international, colonial, patriotic, reunification, consensus, etc).

  3. Vile says:

    That’s what Gerald Chow gets for employing a middle-man instead of visiting Harvard himself to make the “donation” in person, like everyone else.

  4. Mr. Chipping says:

    If its true that a quick word over cocktails sorted it for the ESF … so be it. That’s the way of the world I’m afraid. Chris Patton landed the job of Governor of Hong Kong because the people of Bath rejected him at the general election and his mate John Major felt sorry for him. It’s all about connections and contacts.

    Praise for CY for being pragmatic.

  5. Ralph Pixton says:

    Also in the news…

    Digital-only broadcasting is notoriously difficult to maintain on a commercial basis – commercial meaning that you expect to pay presenters huge salaries, and why else would they be doing it in Hong Kong, where everyone is convinced he is a star.

    A few hours of research would have revealed the absurdity of DBC’s intentions – for example, looking at digital-only stations in the UK and discovering what profitless money burners they are.

    But beating some people away from a microphone requires more than a shitty stick. It requires bankruptcy and bailiffs for the message to permeate the cerebellum, inflated as it is by the natural egomania which afflicts Hong Kong media personalities.

    As it is, digital radio is clearly awry in Hong Kong with the nominally best candidate for it, RTHK Radio 4, completely unrepresented in high-fidelity DAB. Listening to RTHK 4 on the Internet is mostly like listening to an Edison phonograph cylinder. It generally comes over at a maximum 32 Kbs, which is lower sound quality than a telephone call. The so-called high-fidelity stream is inaccessible on mobile phone and RTHK’s own apps don’t stream it either.

    Hong Kong. The high-tech city. Always overlook the obvious, unless there’s a dollar dangling in the breeze.

  6. Maugrim says:

    All of the stories mentioned above are some sort of HK version of the Canterbury Tales.

  7. Joe Blow says:

    Does anyone know how Albert Cheng made his money ? He seems to have an endless supply of it.

  8. Henry says:

    Hey Ralph

    Keep on subject…. what’s the point of the comments here If we all add stuff completely unrelated to the original post. You could get your own blog If digital radio is your hobby horse.

    On a related point (to the original post, that is, not to digital radio), PropertyDeveloper, I suspect if HDQ had been quiet these past 5/6/7 years ESF probably wouldn’t exist any longer. The catalyst for restoring ESF funding is a new administration who have marginally more vision than the last one (which isn’t saying much I know)

  9. pcrghllll says:

    Nice idea, Maugrim! Hemlock’s next book!

  10. Stephen says:

    Well done CY for showing a bit of realpolitik. The ESF is a fact of life here and its crammed full of middle class Hong Kong kids whose parents are not the sort of ones you want engaging in hunger strikes outside the Legislative Council.

    Will the irritating Heather Du Quesnay now f*ck off ?

    And as for the video it reminded me of the worse of Brenda and Kai bong.

  11. Mr. Chipping says:

    @Stephen. I think we are stuck with Heather the Champagne socialist. She pinned her colours to New Labour and now that her patron Tony Blair is out of favour, she is likely stranded in Hong Kong. Don’t forget she was appointed by Blair to head his centre for educational excellence despite never having being a head teacher. She pioneered change in Lambeth, London, by introducing public-private partnership. In other words turning education into a business that generates profit for share holders with all adverse consequences of such a set up. Sounds familiar.

  12. The Regulator says:

    Lorea Solabarietta is an English public skerl gell

  13. Chimp says:

    “It’s the mystical belief in Hong Kong that money can do anything: educate, vindicate, decorate.”

    This is unique to Hong Kong?

  14. That’s the ball scene side of Hong Kong. Hong Kong Tai tais have to shop in Paris to make sure their dresses worn at the charity balls are not the ones others can buy in Queensway or Central.

  15. Jon Dica says:

    Not to defend Ms Chor, but honestly it was a pretty brave move to let reporters into their little glass world. If any of you actually watched the video through, it ends on quite a sad note. Sure, they milked it in the beginning for her ridiculous HK$900,000 handbags and her vapid lifestyle. But turns out she’s basically like any lonely mother; wants to see and be closer to her kids, wants to spend more time with her always-on-business husband. Proof that money can’t buy you happiness.

    Also it drove me crazy that their flat looks like every other HK flat people at that income level seem to have. When you’re given all that space and all that money, why leave all the walls bland/bare? Why hide the refrigerator behind a cavalcade of cupboards? As in the video, it boils down to the basic “keeping up with the Chans”.

  16. Gerald himself used the tutors himself to cheat his way through Harvard, look at what was posted on the Boston Globe site:


    look at what the chap himself paid for! this is the HKG way, buy your own harvard degree, save kids for second.

  17. isomoliu says:


    The consultancy name IvyAdmit is simple, to the point and I like how they have incorporated a Chinese character into their logo.

    They are also plain-speaking, their services include “working closely with you to transform your basic rough draft essays into the final polished versions…”

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