The South China Morning Post may have revamped the look of both its printed and web editions but the letters page still seems to belong to Pierce Lam and his extended rants against any perceived (or should I say “pierceived”?) remnants of colonialism. I don’t check the letter column every day so I’m glad I didn’t miss his rage over the failure of the MNE program in Hong Kong.
The anti-national education movement is a farce. It rather resembles a self-fulfilling prophecy which, according to Wikipedia, is “a delusion declared as truth when it is actually false” and “may influence people either through fear or logical confusion”.
Thanks Pierce for supplying the definition of that term because I’m sure that no one reading your missive would have been able to grasp the meaning otherwise. Incidentally, according to Wikipedia, the phrase originated with an American sociologist. I’m surprised that he didn’t try to claim it as a Chinese concept.
The delusion involves the false characterisation of national education as a plot to brainwash freethinking students into purblind communists. Started by some dilettante teenagers, the movement gains traction as it attracts, among others, those who don’t want to appear too thick to discern the plot or too servile to refuse indoctrination. The fact is, in any open and well-connected society, brainwashing is either impossible or inevitable, depending on how narrow or wide the meaning one gives to the term brainwashing.
The fact is, China is neither an open nor a well-connected society.
The vociferous contrarians can neither clarify their criteria for distinguishing education from brainwashing, nor point out any example of how national education is being taught objectively elsewhere. They can’t, because as Karl Mannheim observed, “knowledge has a social origin and social use”.
I’m not sure what this has to do with the price of tea in China but never mind. Go on, Pierce. Oh, wait, blah blah blah skip ahead a bit.
Nowadays, it is generally recognised that the result of international competition will be determined not by whose army wins, but by whose story wins. The Chinese have a greatly respectable national story to tell.
Do they? What is the story of the past 63 years of China? 30 million dead under Mao. How many dead in Tienanmen Square? How many currently in prison or in labor camps for merely attempting free speech? How many corrupt officials at every level of government? How many still illiterate and living below the poverty line? Poisoned baby milk, collapsing schools … yeah, but some people got really rich so that offsets everything, no?
It is pathetic that some in Hong Kong have only learned to blow other people’s trumpet. This anomaly reflects a form of Stockholm syndrome. The brainwashing education of the city’s colonial past has turned many of its citizens psychologically dependent on, and irrationally worshipful of Western traditions, oblivious of experiences of discrimination and Western institutions’ blatant defects. National education is the right cure for such infestations.
Of course, it’s not a Pierce Lam letter without a reference to the colonial past. What Western traditions do they worship? Oh, yeah, freedom of speech and the right to vote. My lord, those are horrible and must be eradicated!
Doubts about national education reflect only the doubter’s lack of self-confidence. As the Bard said, through Hamlet: “nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” We need positive thinking and not knee-jerk movements to make the best out of the opportunities under the blessing of “one country, two systems”.
No, you douche bag, doubts about national education do not reflect the doubter’s lack of self-confidence. They reflect the doubter’s lack of confidence in China. Until Pierce removes his blinders and stops seeing the world through his racism and hatred, I suppose we will be given the blessing of many more of his letters filling up space in the SCMP.