When in Rome do as the Romans do.

2018/06/12 04:12:31 網誌分類: 生活
12 Jun
          When in Rome do as the Romans do. This famous saying originated in the 4th century when Saint Ambrose, a bishop of Milan, first used it to give advice to a younger saint. The ancient proverb means when you are in another place you should respect and follow the customs of that place. It is such a well-known saying that many people shorten it to “When in Rome”. I am not sure if the people who make decisions at the Harrow International School Hong Kong know the meaning of “When in Rome do as the Romans do”. It is important they learn it because they need to understand that when in Hong Kong do as Hong Kong people do.

          Hong Kong people use traditional Chinese characters, not the simplified characters used in mainland China. But Harrow has decided to teach only simplified Chinese characters to younger students starting next year. It will continue to teach a mix of traditional and simplified characters only for students in Year 6 and above. The reason Harrow gave for imposing this change on parents baffled (confused, puzzled) me. To impose something on someone means to force that person to accept a decision. Harrow said it needed to prepare students to be fully literate for the new situation Hong Kong will be in by 2047.

          The Basic Law states Hong Kong’s capitalist way of life will be guaranteed for 50 years after the 1997 handover. How does Harrow know what Beijing will decide for Hong Kong in 2047, which is 29 years away? Does Harrow have a crystal ball? A crystal ball is a transparent glass ball that fortune-tellers look into to see the future. But a crystal ball, of course, cannot tell the future. People often just say they don’t have a crystal ball when asked to guess what will happen. It is insulting for Harrow to say people won’t be fully literate by 2047 if they don’t learn simplified characters. It is unacceptable for Harrow to change its teaching policy midstream. The word “midstream” means part-way through something. Harrow should ask parents before changing its curriculum instead of imposing the decision on them.


          When in Rome do as the Romans do. 這句名言出自四世紀,是米蘭主教聖安波羅修給予年輕聖徒勸告時首先說到的。這句古老諺語的意思是,當你身處他鄉,你就得尊重當地的習俗,入鄉隨俗。這句格言眾所周知,以至許多人會乾脆將其簡化成“When in Rome”(在羅馬之時)。我不肯定哈羅香港國際學校的決策者是否知道「入鄉隨俗」(When in Rome do as the Romans do)的意思。他們好應學習這句話,因為他們需要明白,在香港就得入鄉隨俗,跟隨香港人的做法。


          《基本法》列明,香港原有的資本主義生活方式,在九七回歸後保證五十年不變。2047年距今仍有二十九年,哈羅又怎知道北京到時會怎樣決定香港的模式?難道哈羅有一個水晶球(crystal ball)? A crystal ball就是算命師用來預知未來的透明水晶球。然而,水晶球(crystal ball)當然不能預示未來。當人被問到未來會發生甚麼事時,便常常會說他們沒有水晶球(they don’t have a crystal ball)。哈羅說人們若不學習簡體字,到了2047年就沒有充份的讀寫能力,這樣說是很侮辱性的。哈羅中途(midstream)更改教學政策,是不能接受的。Midstream的意思是某事進行的中途。哈羅在改動課程之前,應先詢問家長的意向,而非將決定強加(imposing)諸他們身上。


        Michael Chugani 褚簡寧
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花姐 2018/06/18


Michael Kwan
Michael Kwan 2018/05/31

You are a journalist. So you prefer to work in Hong Kong over Singapore. That syas it all. The most sensitive issue in Singapore is press freedom. That's what Lee Hsien Loong evaded in his speech. When it comes to religion, race, class, the Singaporean government deserves praise for having done a good job. These are not too sensitive a issue in Singapore. They live in harmony, and that's why Lee need not evade such issues in his speech. On the contrary, mentioning the issues draws applause. So why not do it?

Thus, your observation is too superficial and naive. When it comes to press freedom, people are even liable to imprisonment. Look at how the Singaporean government treated the 16 year old teengager several years ago. That guy had to go on exile in the US.