SCMP Saturday, September 29, 2001

Terror in the US should teach us not to turn our backs

I hope I am not alone in reflecting on the tragedy that has befallen the United States and absorbing the comments of Hong Kong's American community.
I was surprised and disappointed to learn that there were teachers and students who have not made the time in school hours to try to understand the terrible situation (Education Post, September 15).
When I expressed this concern to colleagues, many replied: ''What do you want young people to do? What is the point of discussing it? It is not our business.''
With Hong Kong, a tiny landmass in the South China Sea, seemingly geographically removed from the wider world, it may be easy for some to say that what is happening in other countries is none of our business. But that would be ignoring our connections to the world in all areas, and also turning our backs on our history.
These days, we chant that we seek quality of life. But that does not come without quality of thought, which will not happen without a well-planned education system. We need a mechanism to stimulate debate, empathy and examination of the past.
I beg Fanny Law Fan Chiu-fun, the Secretary for Education and Manpower, to truly reform our education system. We may be products of the old system which taught us technical and survival skills. But times have changed. We are now more affluent and advanced. We can no longer defend the old ways.
Tai Po