Aug 09, 2012|
CY Leung and his officials are most naive if they believe they can both maintain high favorability ratings and preach “national education” to those parents in Kwun Tong and Tin Shui Wai who cannot afford a life raft for their own children at a British boarding school.
Heroine dealers persuade drug addicts to purchase their products, but never let their own children take a hit. To frame it as a politically correct historical metaphor that’ll help the Chinese understand: Captain Elliot and the crew of the East India Company never let their children taste opium in England in the 1830s, not even for fun. “The opium was sold,” they would have told them, “to a bunch of poor and stupid barbarians in the Far East, so that daddy could make a good living there to pay for your school fees at Eton.”
CY Leung and his officials have remained embarrassingly silent over public questioning about why they’ve packed their children off to British boarding schools or local international schools, preferring that unpatriotic, non-Maoist, western English-speaking teachers civilize their offspring over the past 15 years while condemning the children of the masses in Hong Kong to “national education,” a curriculum that includes dressing up five-year-old schoolchildren as the Red Guard and school trips in tribute to Mao, the great mentor of Pol Pot.
As the world has entered the cyber ages, Hong Kong politicians have been obsessed with image-building and the art of oration. The Yes-We-Can American president and, before him, the cigar-chomping prime minister of the UK have been cited as role models in this field. But Obama hasn’t sent his children to a Beijing kindergarten; instead, his younger half-brother is known for running a snack bar in Shenzhen. As for Winston Churchill, he was an officer and a gentleman who didn’t earn his historic status through double-talk and hypocrisy. To his foreign secretary, Lord Halifax, Churchill once said: “I shall take my rifle (I am not a bad shot with a rifle) and put myself in a pill box at the bottom of Downing Street and shoot till I have no more ammunition, and then they can damned well shoot me.”
Churchill went to Harrow and Sandhurst, and worked as a war correspondent during the Boer War in South Africa, where he took part in a battle when a military situation turned nasty. His words were never doubted by the foreign secretary and other cabinet members. This integrity, I presume, is what Churchill used to learn in Harrow—an institution now known among Chinese parents as the Louis Vuitton of boarding schools.
Chip Tsao is a best-selling author, columnist and a former producer for the BBC. His columns have also appeared in Apple Daily, Next Magazine and CUP Magazine, among others.