Education Goal Posts 
 (reflections while walking around the city Sanshui on Sunday morning June 15, 2003)

After being involved in education for some 30 years in Australia, Hong Kong and China, I can't help feeling  our education systems have lost the plot.

We (students/teachers) spend so much time on things/subjects that are of limited if any use for the future, and give little if any time to things/subjects that are most useful for the future.

Example: most overseas staff working with me here in China deeply regret / are even angry that they never had/took  the chance to learn a foreign language in their 12+ years at school.   Yet so  much time on maths/science which most people will never need.

e.g. 2: In most countries, after 12 years of education, many/most students have only one goal: to go out and live it up/down...with sad consequences for their health as they party and rage ...or do nothing.  Is this really the number one goal in life?

e.g. 3:  In most countries, after 12 years of education, most students are heading for marriage shipwreck.  Somewhere in the 12 years, shouldn't there be regular study of human relationships, social living... call it what you like?

e.g. 4: In most countries etc.....many/most students don't have the knowledge/will power/interest to practise proper health and fitness.....they are almost hell-bent on ignoring the practicalities of healthy living, not the least being the ability to avoid being hooked by alcohol/drugs/computer games/internet compulsions etc.
If you're sick, you should stay home...should not go out.....should not go out in rain without an umbrella....don't go to late night party when you're sick......or you'll just get sicker and sicker....and maybe spread the sickness to others....
To stay healthy....go for a walk/run/swim each day....don't skip meals/sleep.  This is a recording....

e.g. 5: Most education systems still give scant importance to things like community service / helping the poor etc....and as result are turning out an increasing number of self-centred, selfish, spoilt little emperors.   If only a regular visit to a seniors'  home and a bit of manual work  had been part of their weekly curriculum.....

e.g. 5: Most systems are turning out people  illiterate in many basic skills of human life: how to cook, how to sew on a button, how to change a tyre, how to garden, how to paint, how to fix a leaking tap...

e.g. 6 In and out of school,  young people are being harmfully  influenced by the increasing flood of negative/junk ideas being hurled at them all  hours of the day and night by the lower and lower standards of today's music, films, TV, computer games, email

e.g. 7  Biggest gap:  less and less attention, if any at all, is being given to the big questions in life: where did I come from? where am I going? what's the meaning of life? is there a God?  How should I live?  (Religious studies...prayer at on Sunday)

Numbers 1-6 naturally follow to the extent that number 7 is neglected/ school, at home, in society.  How much further down the tube do we have to go until some enlightened educationalists/government officials/parents  say "enough!"

A well-known man in Rome hit the nail on the head not long ago when he said society is moving away from LIFE values to a Culture of DEATH (go to and enter "culture+death+john+paul")

c.f. Hong Kong English

August 2003:  Response from Anne to the article about "Hong Kong English" by Kieran
(Kieran's article now undergoing surgery)

I'm writing to say a few words about the article written by Kieran days ago about "Hong Kong English", though I wonder would it be too late to do so.

As an foreigner like Kieran who is not studying English in HK, you may think that having a good foundation from Kindergarten school is a best solution. The real case is that, in HK, kids are really forced to learn English harshly, but, yes, without native speaking teachers who can teach them "Correct English". You said having these teachers will improve our English, but, are all the schools be able to paid for these teacher in this "Money lacking" city? is that all the parents have enough money to provide their beloved children a good English kindergarten school? Are these really the case? I doubt!! Please be reminded that kids studying in kindergarten schools in HK need to pay fees!! It, say, for a family which only earn $6,000 ( It's already a quite good figure for HK citizen nowadays as many people are redundant.), can the family afford the huge school fees, say $3,000 something to provide the kids a very good school? You may argue, if the parents really want their kids to hve a good standard of English, they'll do so, but, please, back to the reallity, definitely, not many parents will do so. LIFE IS TOO HARD!!

Besides, as what Kieran said, HK people refuse to use English or use poor English, I absolutely agree with this, as I'm an example a life. But I can tell you that, many of us are struggling to improve our way of using this fantastic language. We try to improve our English by reading, listening, writing and speaking (I'm saying, many of us), for me, one more, debating. We struggle, but as a lack of good teacher, mentioned by you, or as a lack of capital / financial deficit, mentioned by me, we are unable to improve much, luckily, a little, better than none.

In conclusion, we HK students are really using poor English or even, I shouldn't call it English, it's Chinish, but many of us really want to improve. I really find that my schoolmates refuse to speak English even though it's an EMI College. In the club that I join, the Public Speaking and English Debating Club, members don't even want to speak when they are asked to use English. Hey, imagine, a English Debating club holding its regular meeting without anyone delivering opinion in English!! I just wonder what's the use for them to join this club? Wasting their time?? Satisfying their parents' wishes? Or to improve their skill in "Not Speaking English"?? There's no solution to due with this great problem, but just to be brave and use this language, for we HK students. No one can help if one refuse to do something. That's all what I feel as a HK student.

P.S. I found my English improved a lots since I joined the debating club and made friends with native English speakers like Father John, Kieran, Michael, Aron, Matthew, David and some other friends/teachers who are also native English speakers. I found these ways are effective as debating and making friends are two of my interests. I think learning English is a great fun if you relate it with your hobbies. Well, please give me some response and advice in learning English if you have, e-mail to Thanks for giving out your valuable time to read my "article"!!^_^

By, Anne Tong, a Hong Kong student^_^

July 17, 2003 : Young `missing out on life role models 

MONASH University's first graduate, the former Salesian College teacher Michael Lynch, says young people need life role models like Collingwood legend Bobby Rose, who died last week.

A keen Western Bulldogs fan Brother Lynch, who works at the Salesian Missions Office in Oakleigh, said many young people did not have the family support or mentoring of role models, like the former Magpie champion player and coach, to guide them.

"What is difficult for young people today is getting fixed terms of reference to what is right and what is wrong," he said.

"He was, in a sense, the epitome of a previous generation - some of the modern footballers don't seem to have that steadiness, strength of character, and leadership qualities Bobby Rose had."

Brother Lynch said football had been "killed" by the money being paid to players and coaches.

"The money footballers are getting is really quite obscene," he said.

"I don't think Bobby Rose became wealthy out of football.

"The sort of money he would have got would be chicken feed compared with what some coaches get these days - it's quite absurd."

Brother Lynch, who last week left for East Timor to co-ordinate a food supply program for starving children, said generations of youngsters faced different problems.

"We all come into the world at different times and we have all got challenges of our own. We didn't create the world that we came into, but we have to try and make sense of the world in which we live.

"All children were born with potential and cope with a different set of challenges during their lives."

Brother Lynch said it was almost "providential" that he attended Monash University when he did.

"They were great days. I regard it as sort of providential that I was at Monash in those early days. It had just opened, we knew everybody and there was a feeling we were part of something big.

"In the first year there were only 347 students which meant the university was smaller than the secondary school I'd come from."

In 1964 Brother Lynch, a 21-year-old lay brother of the Catholic Order of Salesians, was chosen to be Monash's first graduate following a ballot among the three faculties: arts, science, and economics/politics.

He was awarded a bachelor of economics at one of two ceremonies in which 337 degrees were conferred.

Monash Journal

August 2003: see my reflection at bottom of photos of August 21 of CAS Australia Tour

September 9, 2003 (from today's diary):

Old man's reflection: Our dear lovable modern world (every country) is not only increasingly apathetic to family/common sense / life/ caring/sharing /good's now leaving the apathetic stage and entering the hostile that any individual/family/group which tries to practise/promote a "culture of life" (Pope John Paul)  is now often likely to experience isolation/ridicule/opposition.......resulting in, for e.g....more and more parents/teachers "giving up" and letting children/students do what they like (...stay up all night playing computer games.....sleep in class....). What chance do parents/teachers have against the  largely "culture of death" (JP)  media/entertainment/tv Juggernaut of junk ideas  to which young people are now subject?
Urgently needed: a dedicated, determined, daily antidote  of good ideas/values/ found in The Bible  (..instant reaction:... "no time/interest"..)...which is why my village English classes in the evening (from next week) are all going to include a more explicit Gospel segment...for Primary 1-4 using Gospel artwork to generate English words and games.... for Primary 5-6/ secondary using games based on Gospel Stories ....and for adults using Gospel Bible Quiz passages for study and discussion.  Can't help feeling what every country/diocese/town/parish needs is a Bible Study program whereby as many people of all ages get together at least once a week (preferable every night in family groups) for Bible Study...leading to a rediscovery/protection/growth of Life values....values that lead to action/sharing/caring...locally and globally.
Dear Lord, let it be....

January 30, 2004  Two in good soil (faith, family prayer/devotion), plenty of nourishment (faith re-inforcement at school / Sunday worship), protected from harm (family/school/society standards/laws)

The other poor soil (no family prayer, little family faith), lack of nourishment (poor faith environment at school, no contact with local church, low standard of morals in media / among peers)

First tree....good soil, nourished, protected
Second tree....poor soil, little water, assailed by strong winds, dogs, insects

How difficult it is for today's young trees to stay spiritually healthy....