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1 March 2021

1 March 2021
Form 6 students just had their last school day; we took class photos together with masks on.  I was troubled because we could not show our full faces in these photos; this batch of graduates suffered much in the past 20 months, like all their peers in other secondary schools.  They lost all the fun elements on campus; learning through computer screen will surely hurt their eyes somewhat, and the lack of peer interaction is undesirable. But then again, we all learn to make do, to live our life to the best we can. Putting out our best effort.
We learn to make do by common sense, by a set of value we have been a part of, by social norms; we also learn through textbooks and day-to-day interactions with others, and through our compassion towards others’ needs and emotion.  All of the above are around us, we only need to observe and then we learn.  But we are also governed by laws which we do not have knowledge of.
Some Hong Kong laws are strange.  According to Young Post (2 October 2019), you need to take food scraps or pigwash to a licensed pigsty.  Do we do that at home? Many of us just take care of it in our own way.  The same article also mentioned being drunk will land you a fine, while drunk with riotous manner will result in a heavier fine.  Do you know that?  Many of us know very little about laws for legal courses are not offered at the secondary school level; otherwise, there is no need for solicitor and barrister.
Besides common sense, we depend on advertisement of public interest (API) to learn a little bit of this and that.  For example, beginning 2004, passengers must buckle up on minibus if seatbelts are available; beginning 2017, if one wants to clean windows, only his arms are allowed to be outside the windows. If you missed the news then, we still have plenty of those APIs around to remind you. A simple umbrella slogan “don’t break the law” is insufficient to educate for most of us do not know the law particulars.  I am not saying if we have to agree to the law, we just don’t know what the law is. Common sense for this matter, from any parties, is absent.
The two law examples introduced in 2004 and 2017 explained that our society changes from time to time, values, moral standards, safety, status, concepts and so on change over years.  It is indeed more complicated than we think. Sometimes I wish I could keep all students in school, rather than sending them off to an adult world where they face plenty of unknown. But we are confined to keeping students for six years only. Good luck to graduates; come back to tell us your ups and downs every now and then, and share with us your newly-earned common sense.
Anson Yang