Saturday, 16 August 2008


There have been many inspiring moments/conversations/people these days.

I was very pleased today to have a very engaging debate with the participants of my workshop (which takes place every Saturday morning at my old school). It was probably the most engaging debate of my entire time with them this year and last year - a testimony to their improvement :) It was on the motion, 'Functional constituencies should be abolished.' I was very impressed by the depth of their ideas and the quickness of their rebuttal. More importantly, their brains were set in motion and the arguments both sides put forward kept advancing as the debate went on. That was a proper exchange of views and clash of ideas - very thought-provoking indeed. ^^

It started off on a rather superficial level regarding purely the representation of the interests of the industries in the legco. But we later debated on deeper questions like how the interests should be represented (by a secure vote or other ways?) and what kind of political system Hong Kong really needed (a completely democratic system with universal suffrage or a continued dwindled role of functional constituencies) and discussed the compatibility between functional constituencies and universal suffrage. It was a very dynamic debate. I'm very proud of them They are doing what I couldn't have done when I was their age. :) They are now debating in English comfortably with some scant notes. Maybe I was being too pessimistic about the change of times and all the generation comparison prejudice. Please forgive me if I have been in any way too mean.

I joined in as well to fill the numbers and it was a lot more fun getting involved myself. I hope I gave them helpful guidance without being intimidating or too much of a bully. They inspired me to think a lot and set my mind working. I was still quite rusty but debating reminded me of my days in HKU Debate team. I realised that though I didn't fully grasp the techniques then, a lot of the good models I had seen had somewhat mellowed these few years ad I matured a bit more. It's a good feeling to see that I've made some progress these years. My thinking is slowly taking shape now. I hope I can pass it on and am helping them to improve.

Another inspiring conversation was at a very congenial dinner with a very harmonious and accommodating family after my informal and non-professional attempt of legal consultation to Mr R. W. R shares a similar background to mine and their family prepared a seven dish meal for 5 people - goodness me what a tremendous effort it must have taken his mom. I have always enjoyed seeing relatives of my friends because that helps me to see where they come from - what makes them how it is now :) His family is very intelligent and observant. I couldn't believe they could actually prompt me to make a tirade and withstand it all. And I was talking about what many people find boring eg my time in oxford and all the academic struggles, as well as my Finland project and Scandinavian systems etc. It was a very sweet time and I understand a bit more now.

I guess it left me thinking about myself and comparing this experience to my own family. We're both going after a very similar route with very similar goals. We've been feeding off our families and it's our time to contribute in return for their kindness. I wonder what it will be like in ten years' time.

Monday, 11 August 2008

A new beginning

So I've finally refurbished my blog with a nicer picture that symbolises the breadth of a whole new world out there to explore.

I can feel that I'm reawakening now lol. The last few weeks since I came back to HK from oxford, and then the exams, and the trip, and a two-week void, I think I've been worn out somewhat. The previous year has indeed spent all my energy and enthusiasm, and all this is really my post-oxford syndrome. The actual workload has physically increased my headaches and the readjustment is slowly coming by now - yes i'm settling in HK again (though I'm about to leave again)... A chat with Ray has clarified this stage that i'm going through - a feeling of being constricted and stifled within the confines of HK (its lifestyle, mentality, climate, physical conditions etc). There's been pressure from different sources which I haven't had to deal with for a long time when I was abroad, and now all of it came together. In other words my excuses of being abroad and having finals to work towards (amongst others) are gone.

I am also feeling that what I have acquired and learnt, all the insights and beliefs seem to be slowly fading away - yes already in such a short time. I really don't want my passions and ideas to die away, so I must revamp this blog and recreate a new world. It doesn't have to sound so cheezy but I like this phrase, and it sounds better lol.

This blog was originally dedicated to intellectual exchange of ideas and sharing of experience. I have evidently not done enough to promote this blog, let alone having abandoned it for so long. But I agree that the internet is the way to go, and it's 21st century after all... I'm in particular interested in education (and predisposed towards ranting about my life), but anything is welcome here.


Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Maybe life is really like that

A friend of mine used to repeat all the time, 'life is like that.' I had thought that it is up to the person in a way - even for the darkest clouds, there's a silver lining. If you catch that chance and go for the opening, you might be able to escape from the cage. Of course experience only tells me that the chance doesn't show itself as "EXIT" or "AUSGANG"; even if it does, there are usually enough hurdles in your way and the chance disappears soon enough.

Youth has an appeal. A friend told me last night, 'your niche is your youth.' I keep wondering what i means. Maybe it's because I can start the race a bit earlier, and logic tells you that in a marathon, the earlier you take the lead, the easier it is to win the game. Maybe it's because I have the energy of a young man. Maybe it means every decision I make is not laden with the same burden that an older man in the same position would. But is that true?

I'm feeling rather annoyed because every decision I make now feels a lot heavier than before. The room for change is getting reduced, and every spare day is a luxury of time. Every decision has a much stronger impact, and the pressure against change is ever greater. Lets say I plunge into the legal profession as soon as I graduate, everyone tells me I won't ever be a teacher again. If I get married to someone now, I'll have to get divorced if I want to make love to someone else legally. Is the decision worth making? I don't really like commitments.

Maybe that's what is going wrong with the society nowadays. People fear commitments. And only commitments can produce some lasting relationships between people and things. And only lasting relationships will establish a meaningful product and a continuity of traditions.

It's a vague thought and a massive generalisation. But it may be the time to take things a bit more seriously.

Sunday, 3 August 2008


We've all been taught and might have even taught others ourselves. But what exactly is teaching?

Some say teaching is about passing on knowledge, but others say it's about getting others to think in response to some sort of inspiration. The idea really is about getting the student to learn 'actively'.

I haven't tutored for three years now and I'm feeling very rusty to start again after a long break. I'm slowly getting back into it now - yes after a few rather lame and boring lessons. Teaching is meant to be interactive and I think the best teaching should be responsive to the needs of the student. Thats what I'm trying to do with my students.

When I first began teaching, I used to keep imposing my own thoughts onto my students especially when I get impatient with them. (very often I'm not very impressed by what they have to say in their writing)

But I'm making more of an effort to hold back my judgment and ask them to reflect themselves first on their own reading alound and writing, for example.

This is however nothing compared to the way the Finnish teachers apparently teach. All they do is to help the students to find the answers themselves. Their students can have their own schedules in their schooltime - any age, any level, anyone. Each student has their own agenda and quietly does their own work, at their own progress in the classroom every day. I really can't picture that in my mind.

Will write more on Finland later.

I'd better pull myself together again.