Thursday, 18 February 2016

Atsuna: Hong Kong Kids and Chinese Wolves

Hong Kong Kids and Chinese Wolves
Translated by Samuel L., edited by Karen L., written by Atsuna
Original: http://www.passiontimes.hk/article/02-01-2016/28483/ 

(The fact is, wolves will not get along with sheep.)

"Chinese Wolves and Taiwanese Sheep" was once a popular topic in Taiwan. Some grumpy old scumbags criticized the sheepish mercy in the Taiwanese youngsters to be unable to combat the wolfish brutality of mainland Chinese. Such wolfish brutality means the aggressive, greedy and cruel features in the new generation of mainland Chinese due to fierce competition.

Chinese kids will probably defeat Hong Kong kids easily as well, for such cruelty to achieve with whatever it takes can never be nurtured in playgroups or interest groups. As China opens up the policy for the second child, primary school kids there found an "Anti-Younger-Siblings Alliance" in order not to let their positions, pampered by their parents, be challenged by younger brothers or sisters. Some even put their lives on the line and force their parents to get an abortion. Cheating has always been rife in the Gaokao, the China University Entrace Exam. Girls may bribe or even prostitute themselves (See Laroussi Oueslati's case) for an overseas diploma. No matter how Hong Kong kids "do supplementary exercises day and night", they will always "lose at the starting line" in face of the Chinese wolves' cruelty.

Living in an environment where strong backgrounds and "guanxi" (Translator's notes: it is a Chinese term of "connections".) dominate, Chinese are taught by nature to live with cruelty. But can Hong Kong mothers really look on with a sense of indifference? They may be concerned and understand that it is no longer easy to succeed in Hong Kong. But Hongkongers always have a tinge of naivety. Nowadays, many Hong Kong kids have become far busier than full-time employees as their parents still believe this is the Hong Kong they know -- as long as one can graduate from an elite school, it doesn't matter if children sacrifice their bit of childhood training to be smarties, because it will redeem them a pleasant future.

But consider this: among the management personnel in local international banks, law chambers and financial institutions, there have been full of "second-generation rich" and "second-generation officials". As stated in editorial A Hong Kong That Leaves No Place For The Next Generation, even if you are graduated from Harvard, Stanford, Oxford or Cambridge and have earned a ticket to well-known companies, without the label of blue blood or billionaires, you will never be able to beat the heirs of communist capital. It is nothing about your ability but your lack of "guanxi". Naturally, more and more post-80s bankers choose to give up their well-paid jobs and open small shops instead.

Although Japan never has to contend with those Chinese wolves, the future of the younger generation there is as pessimistic as our Hong Kong kids. Masahiro Yamada writes in his book The Hope-Disparity Society (Kibou Kakusa Shakai) that Japanese education system is just like a pipeline system. Based on their examination skills, each and every one are distributed to different "pipes", namely industrial high schools, short-term universities, university research institutes, etc. But as the supply of graduates being much larger than its demand, reaching the finishing line does not guarantee a bright future -- some might end up as salespersons though their effort in school. Besides, there is also differences in risk among the pipelines. In particular, they may all be university students, while those from the medical schools bear the least risk, those from engineering and nursing are rather safe, and arts students are facing the highest risk.

The wealthy and visionary parents will probably guide their kids to the safest route, avoiding pipelines with cracks and leakages so as to secure them the seats of promising future and continue the reputation in the family. But for the poor Hong Kong dads and moms, even if they exhaust themselves as much as they can to push their kids into the Ivy League schools, the pipelines they're in -- the post-1997 environment -- are with flaws. In other words, they are no longer made locally, but in China. The less unfortunate ones may manage to escape from the lead-tainted water -- moral and national education or using Putonghua to teach Chinese Language Subject -- it's only a matter of time for the knockoff pipelines to expire. However much effort has been made, it would not beat those with communist-way-to-deal-with-communist-defect, and thus ends up spilling out of the pipelines midway.

The new generation Hong Kong dads and moms are "experts" in examination. That means, they will not bother you as long as you provide them with the rules. Why? All they know is to try getting the job done, and never doubt whether the rules are right or the other way. People with black eyes and black hair are Chinese? Not Everyone's mother-tongue is Cantonese so we should use Putonghua to teach Chinese instead? Prof. Johannes Chan fails to be promoted as the Communist hates him? Why should I care? These are not problems to the simple-minded moms and dads, and they could utter things like "that is what the textbooks tell... memorise it will do", "being trilingual can get a decent job", and "my kids getting into HKU is all I care!".

They are submissive enough to forget a simple fact: when we change our principle at our home and submit to the devouring Chinese wolves, it equals to giving them a message to pushing it. Telling people off in the park for speaking Cantonese like a master scolding a servant. Sound familiar? Hong Kong dads and moms spend time, money and effort they have to bring their kids up from this hell of competition. The rules yet breaks down day by day, becoming more unfair, more irrelevant to competence. They remain paying no regard to it, forcing their kids to win this game, which destines their failure.

I once asked my friends who teach in a band-3 school if they ever feel disheartened when teaching the most disobedient group of students? He teased the fact that they would only be able to enjoy these last few years and thus he would simply tolerate them. Most of the Hong Kong kids may be able to endure the hard life and not "die from overwork" due to myriad of assignments and  "interest groups", but they live a life more desperate than those of the band-3 students. When one's endeavour is rewarded, it presents hope. But if it's the otherwise, desperation instead will replace hope. At least the band-3 students can enjoy a few years of freedom, while most of the drained Hong Kong kids fail to gain the reward they are entitled to.

Overwork kills, so does desperation. Yet, in this society where the cart is put before the horse, the youth shall be blamed for having a low resilience. They say, all these efforts make the kids "win at the starting line". What a joke! It is apparently "dying at the starting line". 

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