HONG KONG - Educators are urging young people to show a greater appreciation of the need for kindness in Hong Kong after highly insensitive messages were posted on university campus billboards.
The messages appeared at the Education University of Hong Kong and City University of Hong Kong last week. They insensitively mocked Under Secretary for Education Christine Choi Yuk-lin over the recent death of her son.
At the 2017 Character Day Hong Kong on Wednesday, Character Education Foundation Chairperson Christine Ma-Lau condemned these callous messages.
Ma-Lau, who is also a professor at EduHK, told China Daily that saying hurtful things was easy, but young people should make a deliberate choice to be kind.
Leung Kee-cheong, former principal of Fresh Fish Traders’ School said: “Young people these days like to advocate justice. But they should think about whether attacking people with malicious language is just.”
Leung is also an ambassador for this year’s Character Day, which featured the theme “kindness” with the slogan:“Choose Kindness”.
Speaking at the launch ceremony on Wednesday, Leung recalled his own younger days growing up in Hong Kong in the 1950s.
He said life was difficult but people did not complain much and the atmosphere was friendly and pleasant.
“If the parents of a family were both stuck at work, the kids would simply go to the neighbors’ and they would be fed,” remembered Leung.
He said young people now were affected by the cyberspace culture, where extremist messages easily attract attention and go viral.
Leung called for the young in Hong Kong to stop following trends, develop independent thinking and carry out rational debates.
His remarks came after posters advocating “Hong Kong independence” appeared on university campuses since the beginning of the new semester.
He said the “one country, two systems” principle protected Hong Kong. “It’s something we should cherish.”
Bernard Chan, convener of the Executive Council, also shared an important story relating to these incidents.
Chan recalled attending the Homeless World Cup in Oslo, Norway, three weeks ago to support the Hong Kong team.
He said he felt very proud when offered a team uniform with Hong Kong’s regional emblem on the chest and the words “Hong Kong, China”on the back. This showed that the special administrative region was part of the nation.
Alman Chan Siu-chek, principal of Christian Zheng Sheng College and another ambassador of the event, said those who put up offensive posters did not represent the majority of Hong Kong’s young people. “Most youngsters I encountered are genuine and kind.”