2010-12-28 04:42
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"Hong Kong kids"

【明報專訊】"HONG KONG KID " is an expression that has lately become popular in Hong Kong. It refers to children and students that are unable to look after themselves, have low emotional intelligence and are vulnerable to adversity.

Last week a snowstorm paralysed London Heathrow Airport. Many Hong Kong students who were to come home for Christmas were stranded there. Some slept on the floor in it. Airlines had others stay in hotel banquet rooms and wait for their flights. Some complained airlines had made very poor arrangements. Other said those hotels were like concentration camps. The SAR government once considered having a chartered plane fly to the UK. Some parents called radio programmes. They said they were worried and urged the authorities to help bring students home as soon as possible.

It is natural for people to be concerned about their children. It is understandable that they were upset and grumbly. However, they should ask themselves why they behaved as they did. The airport was only hit by a snowstorm. No hostages were taken there. It saw no terrorist attack. Hong Kong students were only stuck there. They were sheltered. There were eateries, lavatories and clinics at Heathrow. They were not stranded on a barren hill. They were not in imminent danger. Those who go to school in the UK mostly come from middle-class or better-off families. They were anxious to come home only to spend their holidays.

It helps foster children's self-reliance to have them go to school abroad. Did they not have an opportunity to toughen themselves when they were stranded at Heathrow? We saw some, unlike "Hong Kong kids", were calm and collected in the face of the chaos. If parents encourage at every opportunity their children to face difficulties and try to deal with problems by themselves, they will grow up more independent.

It is common in affluent societies that young people are vulnerable to adversity.

As some experts in education have pointed out, it is because of Hong Kong people's parenting that there are "Hong Kong kids". Some dote on their children so much that they do everything for them. Their children are constantly looked after by their foreign domestic helpers. That is the root of the problem.

Many Hong Kong students are pampered and spoiled. They have the "princess disease". Parents who do not want their children to become "Hong Kong kids" must change their own mindsets. For example, they should adopt "positive non-interventionism". They should allow their children to face difficulties on their own. Good to look at as they may be, flowerets in greenhouses are not resistant to wind and rain. Parents should bring themselves to leave their children alone and let them go their ways. If they fall, they should let them get to their feet by themselves rather than hasten to help them up.

Hong Kong people are not required to serve in the armed forces. They are therefore denied an opportunity to learn to be independent. Therefore, the government should seek to provide remedies by changing the education system and school curricula so that students will be more resistant to adversity and can better look after themselves. Parents who have their children go to school abroad necessarily allow them to be away from home and become independent. Heathrow is a protected safe place even after it has been paralysed by a snowstorm. Parents ought to have seized the opportunity to get their greenhouse flowerets tempered. However, some have lost the opportunity to allow their children to grow up. Their anxiety has caused their children to be labelled "Hong Kong kids". That is a shame. They should draw a lesson from that.










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