Sunday, December 10, 2017

Chinese attitude towards education

Star Online - A living legend from Guangdong (extracts):

Wong Chun Wai talks about (nay, not Sun Yat Sun or Wong Fei Hung or other martial artists in Guangdong) billionaire Yang Guoqiang, or Yeung Kwok Keung, his Cantonese name. [...]

He runs one of the top 10 Chinese property development companies but he began merely as a brick layer. His fortune changed when he began buying up land and developing them. He has always made it compulsory to build schools in his townships – both as a selling point and also because he holds dearly to the importance of education.

“I remember when I was 16, I couldn’t even pay that seven yuan (about RM4) school fees of that year. I had to go back to farming. Thankfully my teacher went to my house to tell my father (a farmer) that I was not bad in my studies,” he said in one news report. Eventually, he received a scholarship to cover the fees with some allowances.

Today, he runs a high school that provides free education for children from poor families all across China. Since its inception in 2002, more than 2,000 have graduated from the school, with almost all entering universities. He also runs two vocational training institutes that provide classes for free.

I have umpteen times written about education being a central pillar of Chinese culture. Today there are still Chinese millionaire-philanthropists though not as many as in my Uncles' days, where you heard of people like the renown Lim Lean Teng in Penang who built and financed Han Chiang High School, now promoted by PM Najib to be a University College.

At its peak it had students from foreign countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, Korea, Japan, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Brunei, etc, though the first two countries, Thailand and Indonesia, had the most. They were ethnic Chinese who did not have access to the study of Mandarin language in their home nations.

But the Thais also participated in English language schools such as the Methodist Boys' Afternoon School which catered for overseas students. 

had also written about dedicated Chinese school headmasters who would make the effort of seeking out parents of students with very high performances who mysteriously 'dropped out' from school as in my post on The 'rich' char koay teow boy.

not him but his stall was strikingly similar to this one 

I then wrote:

On festive occasions such as the Chinese Seventh Moon month-long rituals and the also month-long Tua Peh Kong’s birthday celebrations, their tour of duty would be extended by another 3 to 4 hours, from an early 10:00 am till 2:30 to even 3 am to exploit the custom of the flood of hungry devotees.

Though the Tans increased their revenue during these occasions, fortunately for the health of the two principal workers, these Chinese festivals was each only once a year.

Thus, whenever I read of some ‘far more fortunate’ people in recent times accusing the Chinese of being rich, avaricious and wanting more, I would immediately think of the Tan’s and many hundreds of thousands of Chinese Malaysians like (or even worse than) them who survived by the Churchillan phrase of sheer 'blood, toil, tears and sweat'.

The third member-helper was only required during peak periods (lunch period and evenings during non-festive season). However he was permitted to continue with his primary school education as he was only required in the evenings – the two principal players somehow managed during the short lunchbreak peak period.

But then, during the festive seasons, No 3 had no choice but to play truant to support the business.

Many were the times during the festive seasons (usually) in August and September that the local Chinese primary school headmaster would pay a courtesy visit to Mr & Mrs Tan to persuade them not to involve the laddie and disrupt his education, but alas, to no avail for the simple reason the family’s business and thus survival also depended on his participation.

Chinese folklore has many glorious tales of a poor peasant's son becoming the Emperor’s top mandarin, through the young man’s arduous and brilliant studies. Those historical tales have inspired Chinese society to educate their children well though with the brats of today I wonder, wakakaka.

In Malaya itself (and I am sure there would be equivalent tales in Sarawak and Sabah), legends abound of prominent surgeons, engineers and other notables of society who were children of poor hawkers or coolies, so poor that they had to study by the street lamps or flickering candles during their school days.

Those young lads, hardly in their teens, were also required to work for the family’s survival that it was a wonder how they managed to combine their studies with their apprenticeships as hawkers and labourers. Some even walked for umpteen miles to reach school. But they eventually attained their exalted positions.

That is why education is a very sensitive issue with Chinese Malaysians. That has been why the Chinese in Malaysia have virtually abandoned the national education system which they consider to have dodgy standards.

Chinese parents there have been known to mortgage their houses and worldly possessions to send their children abroad for tertiary education in Australia, New Zealand, UK, Canada, USA, China, India etc. Many have left very comfortable positions and lives to migrate abroad for such educational reasons.

The reasons for seeking university education abroad even though the financial cost threatens their economic position are three-fold – the dodgy standards of local universities, difficulties of getting a scholarship (there’s no HECs in Malaysia), but most significant of all, the very slim chance of even securing a place in a university study of their preference because the government’s affirmative actions have marginalised many Chinese and Indians.

Recently I talked to an Australian university vice-chancellor at a drinking session, yamseng wakakaka. He told me he had just returned from a trip to China to "sell" his university as a great place for Chinese students to study at tertiary level.

After regaling me about promoting his university together with his simultaneous enjoyment of China and its tourist spots, he suddenly looked down and remained silent for a long long while, That did make me wonder whether he might have too much to drink, wakakaka.

He then looked up at me and in a most serious voice said "Kaytee, those Chinese in China - do you know how much they respect, adored and worship education? To them it's a privilege, an honour to become a scholar", which was when I realise that being Chinese I failed to expect a Westerner would be so amazed by Chinese ├╝ber respectful attitude towards education.

He would probably faint from even mucho admiration if I were to inform him that Chinese parents, like my late mum and late granddad, would thrash the hell out of me if I were to step over a book, any book that was lying on the floor (which I sometimes did to my painful realisation of my gross disrespectful mistake).

Such was/(perhaps still) is the Chinese high respect for learning. 

He was so serious and spell-bound by what he discovered that I thought I would lighten the atmosphere by glibly saying, "Well mate, blame it all on that bloke Confucius."

Yes, t'was all Confucian doctrine. Thus, parental and society's support for the education of the young for people steeped in Confucian doctrines, ie. people of the Far East like the Chinese (including Taiwan, HK and Macau), Koreans, Japanese and Vietnamese, take their children’s education very very seriously.

A TV documentary informed us that in Korea, during high school or college examination days, government and commercial offices reschedule and stagger their business hours so that morning traffic would be decently light in order not to delay the aspiring scholars when they travel in their cars or taxis to the examination halls.

Meanwhile in China, the authority has taken the precautions one step further, by considering the feng shui aspects of the very important examination days.

During the day prior to school and college examination days, taxi companies in Shanghai would recall all taxis with the number ‘4’ on their licence plates so that the budding scholars won’t be hexed with the ‘shi’ (or in Cantonese ‘sei’) word, wakakaka.

That's because the word sounds like ‘death’ in Mandarin, Cantonese, Hokkien and Japanese, and ‘loser’ in the Shanghai language.

the number '14' rather than '4' is inauspicious


No sirree, nothing must be left to chance to affect the examinees’ prospects, not even a word pun which could invoke bad feng shui.

And don't forget we are talking about China, a communist ruled country, viewing and considering Confucian doctrines on education and feng shui seriously during school & college examination days.

But hey ho, we Malaysians don't worry about such silly stuff because tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of our school students could easily attain 17 A's in their final school examinations.

I'm ashamed to say in my days I attempted only 9 subjects and that was already a humongous struggle for poor me. 17 subjects? No way lah. But we Malaysians, that is excluding kaytee, are f**king smart lah!


  1. "now promoted by PM Najib to be a University College."
    Are you going to accept that Najib is also accountable for extremist religious actions like banning the Better Beer Festival?

    1. 1) that's a fact

      2) I wonder how much dedak Mahathir gave you, wakakaka

    2. Wakakakaka....I was thinking about the same le on this

      "now promoted by PM Najib to be a University College."!!!

      Freudian slip hits 3 liew.

      Two different persons raise the same common capped phrase after reading yr write-up, must mean something!

      Perhaps, u unknowingly projected yr inner 'desire' in yr writing due to intense kpi requirement.

      Betul ke????

    3. Make it can't help thinking...are all this Chinese education story just to slip in this 'promotion' by a SINCERE promoter of "I help you, you help me"? wakakaka

      How sincere could a leader be....check out what one commentator had said..."talam dua muka... depan trump pijak semut tak mati.. blkg trump membela nasib umat islam.." wakakaka, that's 100% sincerity for us rakyat.

      KT can wax lyrical all he wants for his master as the GE approaches but isn't it a bit too late in the day? How to mask the nauseating stench that stubbornly clings...all the perfume of Arabia would come to nought. But I guess, it's all business for an addicted dedak eater, hehehe.

    4. high negativism - mesmerised by anwar then and mahathir now, wakakaka

    5. Who is been mesmerised by anwar then and mahathir now, of their respective misdeeds le?

      That's high negativism. For u, lah.

      R u going to change yr broken record for a one that keep chanting pinklips/hippo?

      That will be yr true positivism lah.

      The more u r pretending, the faster u r sliding down that Freudian slop!


    6. you talk black and I don't talk black, perhaps white, grey etc.

      you're thus angry with me for not toeing your line, aiyoyo you're very very intolerant like an ulama

      btw, The more u r raving and ranting wakakaka, the faster u r sliding down that Freudian slop! (incorrect spelling) slope (wakakaka)

    7. Now u want to be a wordsmith!

      Make up yr mind lah.

      Oooui...can point up where the colour pixels r?

      Angry with u??

      Why should I?

      Wakakakaka....tsk..tsk...sigh..self-love freak w/o shame!

  2. The approval of Han Chiang's University College application is an education matter which should have been handled administratively on objective merits.

    Instead it has been turned into a political circus-show and weaponized by Ktemoc to promote Najib as some kind of "moderate" (fake).

    I have supported Han Chiang financially for years, but All in all, this episode leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

    1. the chinese educationists asked for it and got it - so where's the "political circus-show" - I believe you have bad intentions towards the Han Chiang authrotiies

    2. Ktemoc the cyber-trooper for Najib....wakakaka..
      By the way, I've contributed hard-earned money to support Han Chiang over many years.
      You ?

    3. what a boastful bullshitter, wakakaka

    4. U r playing blur ke?

      Education matter is the jurisdiction of education ministry.

      Why should the ministry of finance, the prime minister want to get involved?

      Too free ke? (Perhaps that's why the country is in the mess)

      Or there political brownies to be won!

    5. another dedak makan-er, wakakaka

  3. I realize whoever is/are giving comment/s here that is/are not favourable to the current PM is/are categorized either as/as DrM, Anw. or/& LKS fan/s. The owner seems to be hellbent to defend the current PM from all negativities by all means while accusing others of dedak eaters of his opponents when they question the PM. It's interesting to see though that they still didn't give up in 'enlightening' him for the 'bias or lack of objectivities' while he defends the PM to the end, pushing all the blames/faults on the ex-3rd PM or people beside/below/associated with him or his party, absorbing all the bad elements fully.

    The only enabler for these situations to continue is his permission to allow all these 'anti-PM/& his wife' comments to appear while he keeps on defending the PM, dismissing them as myths/hearsays.

    It is therefore unique to see where this will lead to in the end. I think I only see this pattern happening in this blog/site, where the 'negative' comments outweigh the PM defenders/supporters. It is kinda interesting situation where you can hardly find elsewhere.

    I personally agree with the opponents, who question how much a perfect PM he is trying to raise/defend him to be. So it is true as they say, a believer will believe whatever he/she believes. In politics, money & power talk while principles take a back seat. This is the same for the diehard supporters/believers.

    1. Thanks for your take, but I am disappointed with your "... accusing others of dedak eaters of his opponents when they question the PM" without putting the matter into correct context, namely that I started doing this after facing a barrage of low-class slurs and insults that I am a dedak eater, wakakaka, to give the accusers a taste of their silly low-class accusations. Some couldn't take it, telling me how rich they personally are and do not need dedak, wakakaka, not that I care in the least - as the Bible tells us "Do unto others as you would they do unto you"

      Please don't look at only one side of the coin as that will make you biased.

      By the by, I have never erase any comments save those (a) which will get me into legal trouble and (b) those completely in a language not of English or Malay - some smatterings of Penang Hokkien and Canto are acceptable. I welcome but prefer civilised comments but I have been tolerant of CK who has been particularly and unnecessarily vicious and abusive in his language towards Malays

      Lastly, I did not nor will not push all the blames/faults on the ex-3rd PM (Tun Hussein Onn) - it's the 4th I am going for, wakakaka much to the consternation of some of my visitors here who show their ardent support of him.

    2. Secondly and more importantly I notice how bloody intolerant some of my visitors have been, accusing me of supporting Najib when I actually did not (directly anyway).

      Just because I did not write on 1MDB I made them angry, wakakaka. I am the blogger and it's my right to write on this or not on that - not for visitors to demand I write on that rather than this.

      Just as an example, it's a fact Najib approved Han Chiang to be a Uni College so I touched on that in a Chinese education post and everyone, well almost everyone gets angry with me for mentioning on a known news - why? want me to cover it up?

      It seems I am REQUIRED to talk bad about Najib and good about Mahathir. I like talking bad about Mahathir, wakakaka. But because I have been accused of makan dedak from Najib even though I did not promote him directly (just did not post anything on 1MDB) I want to accuse those 'accusers' of makan dedak themselves for defending or promoting Mahathir, wakakaka - c'mon what's good for the gander should be good also for the goose

  4. Sure, pardon me for getting the 3rd & 4th PM mixed up. That's what I like about this site/blog because the pattern is totally reversed. Everyone of us has the right to defend what we believe in. Whether the motive is money/power/principle/moral obligations, well, we can sccuse but can't prove it anyway unless we personally know each other wholeheartedly. I just find it interesting, no hard feelings guys...

  5. u r fitnah-ing me!

    "CK who has been particularly and unnecessarily vicious and abusive in his language towards Malays"

    I qualified my words towards ketuanan freak, blur-sotongs & zombies.

    Anything wrong with that as u r with yr flowery diatribes on manmanlai/mamak/Judaism/Jews???

    I've paid tributes to Za'aba, A Boestaman, T Dr Ismail, T Ghazali Shafie, T Ismail Ali, Hassan Merican, Tok Guru Nik Aziz etc. Ain't they melayu?

    "Wakakaka, to give the accusers a taste of their silly low-class accusations."

    WHY not admitting straight that u have been caught red-handed & thus CAN only resolve to yr so called a taste of silly low-class accusations in the onslaught of facts, logic-based counter comments!

    WRT pinklips defenses, u r behaving just like that mom fame. He & U have yr ego bruised, completed with a big wounded pride after been exposed forcefully in related blogs.

    Mom resolves to allowing only his choirboys to comment, with occasionally negative comments sieve through. Thus leading to his rapidly falling readership.

    While u wakakakaking in pain to allow our comments through. Bcoz deep down u know that w/o us to comment, yr blog will soon dying like many others. U just don't have quality choirboys to chant with u!

    To be fair, majority of our comments r not jingoistic & full of air like many of mom's choirboys.

    We can argue based on facts, history, science, economy & politics! That's WHAT one doesn't see in many other blogs originated from M'sia.

    KT just doesn't understand HOW the sharing of minds work amongst us. Thus, over the years his readership has deteriorated, leaving only a fews of us still making sensible, intelligent comments.

    BTW, KT lies, when he claimed that he have never erase any comments besides his 1&2! He SHOULD get looes74 back pronto!!