No to brainwashing

No to brainwashing

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Scores of local university students show defiance against the proposed national education curriculum.
Scores of local university students show defiance against the proposed national education curriculum.
Photo: AP
When I was still a primary school student, we raised the national flag once a month. We stood in front of the flagpole and sang the national anthem as the flag went up the pole. Our headmistress then gave a speech about why we should love our country and how wonderful Chinese culture is.

We didn't know why we had to do all those things, but we just accepted them as our monthly routine.

A few years later, when I saw and understood more about what was going on around us, I started to question the purpose of such displays. The question I've asked myself is this: did I learn anything useful or memorable from watching the national flag going up and down every month?

To put it in another way: why do we have to be taught to love our country?

National education can indeed increase some children's love of the motherland - temporarily. But when they see the violent and uncivilised protests taking place on the mainland against the Japanese, they may begin to have doubts.

The protests have seen local reporters being beaten by mainland police for absolutely no reason. They have seen private and public property vandalised - again for no reason. They have seen police beat people seemingly at random.

How can Beijing expect us to love the mainland in the face of such awful things?

Or is national education just a tactic to make us love the Beijing government itself?

Some people argue that core Hong Kong values are dying because of the continuous influx of mainland culture and social values.

They see national education as part of that trend. Now that the subject is still not completely abolished from schools, we should insist on protecting our own civil rights.

We need to keep up the fight for a more democratic Hong Kong so that local children can make up their own minds about what they think our country truly is like.

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