A teacher from a local secondary school has stepped down as the chairman of the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority’s (HKEAA) Committee on Liberal Studies with immediate effect. This came after he apologised on Friday to the police force for ranting against them on his Facebook account.
On June 13, Colin Lai Tak-chung, who works at Sacred Heart Canossian College (SHCC), updated his profile picture to include the slogan “black cops’ families all die” in response to the clashes between anti-extradition bill protesters and the police on June 12.
Lai had also asked for and received preliminary approval to resign from the role of external vice chairperson of Hong Kong Liberal Studies Teachers’ Association, he said in his Sunday announcement.
Lai explained in his apology that he had been worried about his family, who might have been at the protest. He added he had withdrawn his statement and would remain politically impartial in his teaching.
His earlier online behaviour prompted the Education Bureau and legislator Ann Chiang Lai-wan to express worry that he would influence his students’ thinking.
Two SHCC Form Five students told Young Post that Lai had always “remained objective” in his teaching.
“As a history teacher, he presents us with facts and allows us to come up with our own analyses,” said a student who did not want to be named. “Even though he has his own stance, he is willing to discuss things with students, and he does not impose his views on them.”
Fellow SHCC student Natalie Mak, 16, agreed. While there are instances where Lai has expressed his opinions on current issues, she said, they’ve always been backed by facts.
“When he introduces us to historical events, he describes them [objectively],” she said.
Three hours after Lai announced his resignations, an SHCC alumna, Helena Kwong, made a Facebook post recounting her experiences working with Lai about 20 years ago, when she was on the student council.
She said that Lai had been receptive to the council’s ideas, and helped them analyse the pros and cons of making them a reality. Even though Lai would express his doubts, he gave students the freedom to pursue their original ideas, which was an example of how he nurtured independent thinking in his students.