Here's my letter from last week:
As a parent and former secondary school teacher, I have examined the current situation of the Christian Zheng Sheng College and the Mui Wo community very carefully.
I am all too familiar with the difficulties of troubled adolescents.
However, when weighing the needs of both populations, I have concluded that it makes more sense for the local children in Mui Wo, mostly Chinese, to have priority when it comes to using the school premises that are now coveted by the Christian Zheng Sheng College. Mui Wo is rapidly expanding. The playgrounds are full, the village school is crowded and the children deserve better facilities.
The Christian Zheng Sheng College is a wealthy institution with plenty of resources. Given that its student population comes from all over Hong Kong, the college's location in the town of Mui Wo is not paramount to its existence.
Supporters of the college's bid for the premises in Mui Wo need to move beyond a knee-jerk reaction of accusing the Mui Wo population of Nimby-ism (not in my backyard) and ponder the following points. How many families experience dysfunction, fatigue and stress due to the travel time that their children must undertake in order to obtain an education? How many young people travel two hours one way to get an education that could be obtained a few minutes away by foot or bicycle?
And, ironically, how many young people turn to substance abuse as a result of being displaced from their communities?
Mui Wo people have legitimate concerns about the schooling of their own children. There are many other locations that the Zheng Sheng college could have, so why does it insist on using a facility that is needed by the local children? It makes no sense. Should a philanthropic institution truly be concerned with bettering the lives of young people, it would act to avert problems, rather than to further perpetrate them.
Stephanie Han, Lantau
On the Home Front-Goodbye NEH NEH
He's a little boy.
And this past weekend, around September 23 or so, he stopped nursing. He still clutches at the bottle before bed or his now diminishing naptimes, but no more neh-neh. Big lifechanging fact. For Keohi and for mommy. He nursed about 2 years 7 months. Mommy is glad that it is over.
It's a new dawn.
That said, it's good for people to remember that the WHO does suggest nursing until age 2, and The Academy of Pediatrics until age 1. But it's not easy for women to do so. There are not enough people helping mothers with nursing in the early post birth days, and very few workplaces support it. In Norway, they even have breaks for nursing mothers during graduate school exams.
I feel like I've been in the wrong part of the world for my entire life. Whenever I hear about what they do in Norway or Sweden or the Netherlands, I realize I have never experienced life in a progressive country...or a country that prioritizes the social and physical welfare of its inhabitants over massive consumerism. It's cold there, but maybe cold weather is okay with great healthcare and more gender equity.
Getting ready to move into our house in November. Must kit out kitchen and bathrooms. I kind of miss the tyranny of Home De(s)pot these days and those big warehouse stores where they sell 5 versions of everything. Here are thousands of little shops selling tons of styles of bathroom taps. And you must visit dozens or a good many. That with my zilch Cantonese makes it a nightmare. I'm just a product of American convenience. I fully support all those tiny stores. And I will go to them. But I don't enjoy it. An interior designer friend said shopping is all the fun. But I'm not a shopper. I appreciate design, but I'm not a designer. I'm a basic end user.
Literally. Speaking of end use...
Truly weird is watching people try out toilets in the showroom. Watching couples talk to each other while sitting on different toilet seats, pointing to others sitting on seats. Fairly entertaining and the high point of my fixture trips...
FACT: Low toilet seats and height are good for peristalsis. So you high toilet seat and high toilet seat height folks are not doing your bowels any good. The ideal is to replicate the position of squatting as much as possible.
YES. Let's RETURN TO THE HOLE IN THE GROUND.
Speaking of which, they are still killing the marshlands here. And sewage is coming to Mui Wo! Look out! (Most are on septic). Right now however, much of the wetlands still serves as a natural drainage system before the sewage goes out to sea. Some of the old homes are not on septic, even. As a result, if it's not all timed right and with the full intention of the developers to destroy the environment to make a buck, we'll all be subjected to cholera, dysentery, or what have you.
The beautiful white birds that crowd the tree at dusk will be desperate for a new place.
Question: Why is it that people can get organized and involved about the school and no one cares about the fact that this entire community's eco-system may soon be destroyed as a result of building over the mangrove?
Skimming Freakonomics by Levitt and Dubner. My students kept talking about this (secondary). Some interesting stuff, and some plain silly stuff. Everything down to numbers and quantifiable, but crucial aspects of life and questions of humanity can never be answered by this type of analysis.
Back to critiques...