All things bright and beautiful

We should do everything in our power to ensure the safety of our youngsters and promote their welfare. Eddie Ng (inset) is playing deaf and blind. Photo: Xinhua, HKEJ

Christians must be very familiar with the hymn All Things Bright and Beautiful. It’s an anthem for Christian schools, reminding everyone how beautiful the world is.

I am reminded of this hymn as I read the sad news about a recent spate of student suicides.

About 20 students have died since the start of the school year, the youngest being only 11 years old.

While some hosts of television and radio programs share their own experiences in going through tough times in a bid to lift up the spirit of students who may be facing difficulties, our Education Bureau is playing deaf and blind.

What makes me angry is that when asked about the issue, Secretary for Education Eddie Ng Hak-kim merely encouraged the students to be strong and appealed to schools, teachers and parents to pay more attention to the youth.

Of course, parents and schools have their responsibilities. But so does the chief of our education bureau.

The Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union decried the fact that the authority is unwilling to face its own responsibility and listen to complaints of work overload among students and teachers.

Public criticism has pushed the education bureau to call an emergency meeting with the major stakeholders to tackle related issues. Why did they have to wait until the tragedies accumulated before they decided to do something about them?

On the other hand, the government was quick to condemn the students who barged into a meeting of the University of Hong Kong's governing council after it decided to delay the appointment of a pro vice chancellor last July.

This made me think: Are the lives of students less valuable than the reputation and personal safety of the HKU Council members?

Of course, the education policy is not solely to blame. The belief that one's success can be measured by how much money they make is the real killer.

Comparison with others is meaningless. You should only compare yourself today with what you are in the past.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on March 11 under the pen name Bittermelon.

Translation by Myssie You

[Chinese version 中文版]

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