10 February 2015

Atsuna: Why Is Military Training A Must for Kids in Hong Kong Mums' Minds?

Why Is Military Training A Must for Kids in Hong Kong Mums' Minds?
Translated by Chen-t'ang 鎮棠, Edited by Karen L., Written by Atsuna
Original: http://www.passiontimes.hk/article/01-26-2015/20786 

Hongkongers radically do not have a clue how to hit the country's spot: bootlicking seems to be the best tune, but in fact it goes to the wrong way.

When the people from mainland China are "in cahoots with foreign powers", Hongkongers rather give in the world and accommodate China as the new one; When the people from mainland China are learning English with eagerness, Hong Kong on the contrary ruins the generation's English by the "Mother Tongue Education", and even promots "Putonghua as the medium of instruction for Chinese subject" (PMIC); when the mainlanders cast doubts on the military training on students, Hong Kong rather fervently advocates "military summer camp", and now goes so far as to "Hong Kong Army Cadets"!

In China, it is compulsory for high school students (Grade 10) and university freshmen to participate in military training (MT). Military Service Law in 1955 provids the grounds for MT, but before the Tian'anmen Massacre in 1989, students were not forced to do so.

A Chinese writer therefore marked  1989 as the first year of MT, and since then nearly all freshmen have to receive MT for at least a month. Peking University being the staunch supporter of 1989's student movement was even given a year of MT for every student. Even though this one-year MT rule didn't maintain for a long time, it is crystal clear of its motive taming the revolutionary students.

No wonder Chen Danqing, a painter, said on his Weibo, "MT on students acts in no good purposes. This is a form of education turning men into slaves, and should it only exist in authoritarian states like North Korea. Do we opt to training a healthy, independent and free-thinking future generation, or simply obedient machines one after another?"

News covering severe corporal punishment in the training has made Chinese starting to cast doubts on the purpose of MT. Alone in 2014, there is quite some scandals happened. In Hunan, 42 injuries in total, and one of them is a teacher, who is in critical condition. All beaten by the instructors; In Liaoning, a female high schooler committed suicide after criticised of a disqualified posture; In Xi'an, a male student fell on the ground during training, and was certified dead during the way to hospital.

Well, just as I expected, flunkies popped up in time and categoried these as "exceptional cases". They criticised the youngsters are unable to face adversity, and said things such as "Many Chinese parents condone and spoil their only children, and MT can help build up their kids' team spirit and discipline". It does sound familiar, isn't it? These are precisely the reasons Hong Kong mums sending their children to MT camps!

The "Hong Kong Youth Military Summer Camp" and "Hong Kong University Student Military Life Experience Camp" are free in charge. I believe those mums will not value Chen Zuo'er's words ("Brainwashed by the Western theories and have to be refill their brain with the correct thoughts") much, but still pushing their young adult daughters and sons to participate in these camps. Why? Discipline training and advantages taking. In some weirdo university students' minds, "Work life is surely going to be much harder than studying. Through the camp, I can prepare myself to be more tenacious!”

Apart from parents, there are some school headmasters who force their students to join "discipline training camp. The harshness is indeed not comparable to MT, but running around the field, standing still under the sun and doing conditioning are matters of course. Be it MT or discipline training camps, through torturing your body, the endgame is about tearing down one's self-worth and turn people into more "disciplined" selves.

The main course includes severe conditioning punishment due to some slightest issues. Everyone gets to running around the field and doing press-ups. The "team spirit" the camp has attempted to build is based on collectivism. If one cannot be found obedience, it will make them all "villains". Those cocky or go-one's-own-way students are therefore the targets. Added with looped scolding and peer pressure, the students are "re-moulded" as "good" students who will succumb to authority.

Mere punishment is known to be insufficient. This is where the existence of "self-repentance" lies to complete the program. Under some sentimental music, exhausted students are forced to think through what they did wrong to their parents, their teachers and even the universe. Some may even kneel before the teachers and cry, swearing that they will start with a clean slate. If an outsider is to watch the scene, he or she might have thought the students have commited some sort of serious crime.

Not a few parents strongly believe such training camps can turn their kids into tougher ones, as it is known that students are supposed to suffer there. Yet, when they get out from the bars....I mean camps, they might be good boys and girls for a few days, however, it is but a on-the-spur-of-the-moment thing. Expecting a weekly camp to get rid of bad habits that has been accumulated for years, isn't it too greedy?

Knowing that the environment can change a person, Hong Kong mums get used to compare their kids with the same age from mainland China. These mums blame their kids for being less industrious than the ones there. Satirically, for years, these mums have instructed the domestic helpers to take care of all the "irrelevant" matters for their kids so that they can focus on practical skills such as English, Mandarin, piano, painting, dancing, etc – What so surprise if such kids cannot endure hardships?

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