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myHK: Feelings Smeelings!

Good day everyone,

As many of you know, I’m a primary school teacher here in Hong Kong at a local public school.  I’ve actually been at my current school for 7 years now!  It makes me cringe just a bit putting that in writing…

I have actually taught primary 1 students that have gone on to graduate!  I’m having former students of mine revisit, the “Old Mr.J” here, and it’s a constant reminder, along with strange hairs on my ears, that I’m getting older.

But, don’t worry! This blog isn’t about me and my mid-life crisis!

You see, now that I’m starting to see students of mine graduate, I have started paying more attention to the end of year ceremonies.  And one of those is the announcement of which secondary school these children will go to.

As I’m sure you’re aware, in Hong Kong the school you go to is extremely important!  It’s do or die!

Students are required to list their picks for potential schools.  Everyone wants their first option, but of course that isn’t possible.  So, students are recommended to select their top 30 school choices!! How do you distinguish between your 26th and 27th choice?

However, most children do get one of their top 3 picks, unless they were very unrealistic in their selections.

Now, I’m thinking back to my university days and how many schools I applied to.  I remember checking the mail every afternoon eagerly awaiting the response to my school applications.

Well they do it a little differently here in Hong Kong.

On one morning in early July, all graduating P6 students and their parents come to the school where they are handed a paper with the secondary school chosen for them, all at once.

This results in many parents and kids dancing, with hugs and high fives everywhere.  In the same cluster of bodies you have parents and children crying madly because they didn’t get a school they wanted.

I asked a colleague why they don’t just mail the results to the children, and she responded with, “Hong Kong people don’t really care about feelings.”

“Brilliant!” I thought.  She summed it up so perfectly.

As a teacher, I’ve had students call me fat and thin on the same day! Not sure if it was the same child…

But, Hong Kongers, in my opinion, so easily forget that golden rule, “Treat others how you’d like to be treated.”

Am I wrong in thinking this?  Do you have any examples of how other’s feelings are such a low priority in Hong Kong?



Hope you are all not melting away in the Hong Kong heat!  I’m in beautiful British Columbia soaking up BBQ’s and well powered drinks with my friends and family.  

Make it a good one wherever you are!


2 comments on “myHK: Feelings Smeelings!

  1. brielle87
    July 16, 2014

    So happy to hear you are enjoying your summer vacation. Is it as hot up there as it is over here in New England? Hideous heat mixed with torrential storms and stifling humidity…ach!
    Now as to “treating others as one would wish to be treated”. I think it is truly more of a “modern” thing, rather than a Hong Kong thing. I find people, in general, to be less thoughtful of others and how what they say may affect another. I think it is just the velocity at which things move these days, at lightning speed, and how people tend to speak before the brain has processed what comes out. I think manners in general have suffered from all of this, not to mention interpersonal skills in general. C’est la vie, I guess…

  2. thisgirlabroad
    July 16, 2014

    I’m a teacher here as well and one of my favourites was a parent asking me, “why aren’t you married?” as if it was unfathomable that I was a single female expat in HK. I mean, I’m not even that old!

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