National Education

25 Sep

 

The chicken here has bones, all of the chicken. No matter how you order it you can be assured there will be bones in it. A friend told me it has to do with Asian cultures focus on wanting food to be fresh, so if the chicken was deboned no one would know when the meat was processed. Besides the chicken the thing I had the hardest time functioning with is the Internet. It took me four weeks to get Internet set up in my room, and even then it’s spotty at best.  Adjusting to a new country has its difficulties, but as soon as I opened my eyes up to the issues surrounding the world I’ve interjected into my adjustment problems seemed quite small.

In 1997 the British handed over control of Hong Kong to the Chinese, China promised that they would essentially keep their hands off Hong Kong until 2016. Too rapid of a change would upset the people, who are used to their Hong Kong lifestyles and proud of the freedoms they have.

A few weeks ago a policy was implemented which, from the viewpoint of the people of Hong Kong, violated Hong Kong’s right to the freedom of an unbiased education. The government wanted schools to start teaching elementary students Nationalized Education, education which talked only about how great the Peoples Republic of China was by excluding historical events such as the Tiananmen square massacre. The people of Hong Kong felt as though their youth were about to be brain washed.

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The first weekend 170,000 thousand people protested outside the Legislative Council of Hong Kong office building, which is Hong Kong’s equivalent of a parliament. The scene was breath taking, I had never seen so many people all standing together so peacefully in defense of their political ideologies. A week ago, the protests continued, with students from every university in Hong Kong, and protests on my university campus this week.

It is humbling to see and live in a community fighting for the right to keep their freedoms. Americans talk a lot about freedom, but I’ve never heard someone so proud of the fact that they have the freedom to express their own ideas like the people of Hong Kong. A few miles north of here, in the PRC, citizens can’t freely express their own ideas. They can only protest over sanctioned topics and only use specific authorized symbols. Seeing the difference between these two nations so close to each other has made adjusting to the food and Internet a little easier. The small beds are a completely different story.

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