Hong Kong Officials Retrained
Some people starved, some people posted their views on Facebook, and some people decided to prepare their own ‘teaching materials’ in response to the introduction of the ‘Moral and National Education’ subject.
The ‘Official Retraining Scheme’ Conceptual Art Exhibition, organised by C&G Artpartment, invited 12 local artists, who are also front-line educators, to exhibit their works reflecting on the controversy.
“We want to provide an open platform where people discuss how we deal with the so-called ‘brainwashing’ education from an art educator’s point of view,” said Clara Cheung, founder of C&G Artpartment.
Mau Lam, a secondary school visual art teacher and an independent artist, created a set of old-school copybooks. The exercise book contains sentences like, “A job of a citizen is to keep his mouth opened.” Through physically copying the sentences, Lam hopes Hong Kong’s officials would reflect on how they have ignored the voices of Hong Kong citizens. Visitors can also try copying the sentences, as Lam said with irony, “This might be a better form of civil education, if the policy must be implemented.”
Ricky Yeung, a rather well-known secondary school teacher and cultural activist, also feels strongly against implementing the subject. His work, Nine Lessons to the Officials, is a collection of eight book covers and Dali’s The Persistence of Memory, which Yeung has artistically altered into nine proposed chapters for the course textbook. Yeung took the satirist’s famous work to ridicule ideas inside the teaching booklet, China Model, published by National Education Services Centre, as ‘surreal’ ideas, if not factually wrong.
“We cannot sit here, do nothing, and let it happen. One day, if our offspring ask why the society has turned like this [brainwashed], I’d at least have an answer for them,” he said.
‘Official Retraining Scheme’ Conceptual Art Exhibition is at C & G Artpartment until Oct 14. Opening Hours: 2p.m. – 7:30p.m., Thursday to Monday, (Closed on Tuesday, Wednesday and Public Holidays)