Monday, 29 September 2014

My take on Occupy Central

It’s human nature to react emotionally rather than rationally whenever there’s some kind of mass disorder. The Occupy Central movement, misplaced in Admiralty, is of course no exception.

A friend has a valid point: Most if not all student movements have underlying reasons that we should not simply shrug off. So, what’s Occupy Central about, and what could be the extreme outcomes?

Underlying Frustrations

Hong Kong craves the reset button for a few reasons. Education (both at school AND home) is a key one. Having popularised the university degree in the 1990s, everyone feels entitled to a better job. Ironically, quantity has achieved the opposite. We now have many graduates aspiring to be managers, but stuck with making telephone sales calls. Today’s mainland China has many more poor kids. But they have dreams and hopes to soon become nouveau riches. Most of them are (relatively relatively) happy and self-driven. On the other hand, Hong Kong’s social permeability has dropped significantly. Poor kids feel stuck. Middle class ones growing up without having learnt to tie shoe laces feel their enormous sense of entitlement denied. They’re unhappy. 





Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Superstition in Science


Two erudite correspondents have been engaged in a thought provoking e-mail debate over the merits of science. They both have taught science subjects at university level. One thinks science the most elegant approach to universal wisdom. The other regards it yet another grand human illusion.

I actually agree with both and, paradoxically, don’t think they have much disagreement in their passionately divergent viewpoints. Perhaps they’ve set aside a huge swathe of worldly commonality to expostulate over a philosophical posture? Academics and intellectuals love to do that you know.

There are ample examples how applied science and technology have improved the lives of many over the past century. Science could have been indisputably beneficial, had we not overused and misused it (once again!), rendering it destructive — self-destructive — to humans.


兩位筆友,最近經電郵激烈辯論科學迷信這議題。一位認為科學是探索宇宙最高智慧的優雅手段。另一位認為科學無非人類又一偉大幻覺,與最終現實拉不上關係。兩位都是僑居海外的教授級學者,都曾經在大學教理工科。我覺得他們兩位的論點精辟, 而且分歧不大,只不過抓住了一兩個原則上的分叉,爭論一番而已。老九們,不論香臭,都有這份嗜好!