Why am I fighting alone ?

When I was distributing the Leaflets To stakeholders at the footbridge of WY in October 2011, one parent of a Form 1 boy and one parent of a Form 2 boy whose sons both were using the Vocablearning program regularly approached me and asked me the same question : “Why didn’t the school put the interest of the students first and use your program to greatly enhance the learning efficiency and English standard of the students ?”.

My answer to them was : “Don’t be too naïve, monarchy never puts the interest of its people first”. They both offered me that they were willing to take the lead to garner the support of the parents in order to channel the view of the parents to the school so that my project can be moved forward. (Note : According to a survey conducted by the school, the number of parents opting the vocablearning project as compulsory outnumbered the number of parents opting the project as voluntary.) I turned down their offer simply because I know that no matter what is going to happen, if I disappear the conflict will disappear soon. If any parents are involved, the power struggle may go on forever. Moreover, I also don’t want them to take the blame that may come afterwards. I am ready to take the blame because the campaign is a well-thought decision to me. I don’t know whether they have mulled the issue over thorough enough.

Some of my Wah Yan classmates advised me to enlist the support of more people for my campaign but I simply don’t want anybody else get involved, though I know that this may not be a very wise political decision for my Project and myself.

Academic problem ought to be tackled academically; political problem can only be solved politically.

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    • . on 21 January, 2012 at 4:16 pm
    • Reply

    Will you go home during the 21 Day Hunger Strike?

    1. May be a few hours every several days so that I can take a bath and change my clothes if I get really dirty. At the same time, I will keep a body weight chart at the footbridge to prove that I do not cheat in the whole period of 21 days.

        • . on 22 January, 2012 at 12:17 am
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        Then you will sleep on the footbridge somedays?

        1. Most of the time.

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    • Ricci Choi on 27 January, 2012 at 3:00 am
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    When you read this, I think you may not remember who I am at once since I have left Wah Yan for almost 4 years. However, I believe that you can recall your memory when you read the following.

    I always remembered your great plans about improving our academic performance when I was having Chemistry lessons throughout my last 2 years in Wah Yan. Unfortunately, very few of us really took your advice and followed your plan, and I was the one belonged to the majority who responded by simply ignoring your effort. As a result, my A-level results were not satisfactory and I had to study in a Higher Diploma programme for 2 years before I could be admitted to a degree programme last year (at September 2010).

    During these days, I reflected on every aspects that could lead to my failure in A-level exam. I found out that an inefficient learning and revising method was the most important factor. On the other hand, I was very regret of refusing to learn from both you and the Physics teacher who passed away a couple of years ago. Soon I changed my way of studying and my results were at least better, but it was still not very good at all.

    When I first saw the photo of your hunger strike poster through one of my former classmate’s Facebook page, I didn’t know who will run this campaign at first glance. After I clicked on the website you’ve put on the poster, I skimmed through the contents of this site and I realized it was you immediately when I saw the term “vocablearning”. Then, I read all the things you’ve put up here during these days. Now I have realized how serious the problem is.

    I really hope that only a few of my “師弟s” (sorry for this as I cannot find an appropriate term to describe current Wahyanites) have to repeat my complex, both time and money-wasting way of entering universities in the future (because of few unexpected situations, or simply bad luck in public exams haha). However, most of the “‘prestigious’ stakeholders” (as described by a Chinese teacher of Wah Yan on his blog) don’t know the true nature of the problem. Besides, some “師弟s” even want to insult you by having lunch in front of your “campsite” when you are running the strike. I was really disappointed with them when I saw this on Facebook. So, I think this is the right time that I should come back and put my greatest effort to change the fate of Wah Yan.

    I am sorry about I cannot offer some real kind of support to you, but I will pray for you everyday and come back to visit once I am free when you are sleeping with an empty stomach under the footbridge of my dear school.

    And one more thing, my family had gone through drastic changes and currently I have to take a part-time job to support my daily spendings. This means that the study methods I used in the past 2 years did not work anymore, ended up in poor performances in last semester’s final exam. I realized that this semester is the key period to get my GPA to a level well secured for a degree with 2nd upper honour when I graduate next year (I already admitted that graduating with 1st honour is out of my ability since day 1 of my life in Form 6). I really want to seek advice on maximizing my learning ability in a limited amount of time. So, would you give me some tips at that time? Many Thanks!

    1. I am sorry that your family had gone through such a drastic change. Let me know if I can offer any assistance.

      Thanks a lot for your understanding of the campaign, we simply need more alumni who have gone through the whole process to tell the uninformed what the real situation is.

      For enhancing learning efficiency, the first bottleneck is reading/listening efficiency, thus the input process. And the first bottleneck to reading/listening efficiency is lack of vocabulary. The vocablearning project was built to cater this bottleneck. Here is a registration code for you to sign up an account at http://www.vocablearning.com/Signup.aspx : XXXXXXXXXXXXXX.

      You need to spend about 10-15 minutes a day, everyday, to key in the unfamiliar words you encountered on the day into the system and do the vocabulary exercise once. This will help you to remember all unfamiliar words you encountered. The most important thing is persistence and this is also the most difficult thing. http://www.savingthewahyanites.net/?page_id=1055

      Besides the input process, the memory of and interconnection of subject content are also important. For this problem, I wrote a revision roster function (Study Plan) to address the need. This was what actually helped the wahyanite who only got 4As in HKCEE to get 4As in HKAL as well.

      http://www.vocablearning.com/TestimonialOfRevisionOrganizer.pdf

      Once you signed up and logged into the vocablearning system, click the “revision” hyperlink at the upper right corner. Pick the subjects that you are studying. (The subject name is not important. You can simply choose anyone as the alias for the actual subject that you are learning. e.g. “Physics” for “Operation Research”). At the end of every day of learning, click the “Enter Learning Record” button and enter the pages you newly learnt on the day. e.g. “Fundamentals of Operation Research pg 20-30”. Click submit to register the record.

      Finally, click “Records Of the Day” button and the system will give you a revision roster to finish. Scan through all the pages that the system tell you to read. The whole process should take about 30-60 min if you do so everyday. This will keep everything in the long term memory for your final examination.

      http://www.savingthewahyanites.net/?page_id=476 (Read the presentation slides pg29-37)

      Wth best wishes,

    • A young and old boy on 3 February, 2012 at 3:23 pm
    • Reply

    I remain neutral to your proposition of our historical admission rate of UGC subsided degree program. I am not interested in discussing the effect of your vocablearning either because, pursuant to my limited knowledge in methodology of thinking, I understand that people can always have different views over a matter with this nature, to which even endless arguments can’t lead to a universal-accepted conclusion. Nevertheless, I can’t help being disappointed about the way you have been handling this campaign.

    In your application letter for the post of assistant principal, you mentioned about your desire to channel more resources to sports development in order to enhance the unity among Wah Yan, and your confidence in assisting teachers working in troublesome classrooms without offending them. These, to large extent, have shown me that both (1) unity and (2) respect were some of the elements that you then cherished much.

    However, when you run the campaign together with more and more aggressive yet disturbing and provoking actions such as the distribution of leaflets and hunger strike, have you ever thought of whether and how your actions can spoil the 2 aforementioned elements? Apart from putting the blames plainly on certain colleagues and believing that you are the one of the few wise men among your peers, have you ever thought of conveying your message in a more respectful manner (which is believed to be an more efficient approach)? Whilst it is certainly futile to think about the bygones, from the view of an old boy like me, the situation has been developed into a stage that what you now care about is no longer how the students can benefit, but a recognition from your ex-colleagues in respect of this vocablearning. If not, what is the point of the forthcoming hunger strike?

    Albeit I appreciate the hard work and the precious time you have put through, I have serious doubt as to how more you can now contribute to Wah Yan than at the time you used to be an assistant principal. I believe that any actions would only work best when the right person does the right thing at the right time by the right means. Which of the above do you have?

    I really wish that there will be a peaceful solution and this type of farce will come to an end in due course.

    1. The presence of the performance gap is the premise of all deductions. It is as important as resurrection in Catholicism in the whole argument and is supported by verified hard figures which are beyond the denial of anybody. If there is no performance gap, there is no point to introduce any correctional measures which infringed the comfort zone of some people. This is the root cause of the maelstrom.

      As long as the performance gap is not closed, somebody has to pay a premium of $50,000,000/year (or up to 600m/year if we also count the loss in potential income) for the gap and has to face the aftermath that follows. Unfortunate, the price of the performance gap is not paid by those who created the gap but by some innocent people. I could neither see that the performance gap was created in order to achieve any right ends nor as a by-product of any right means.

      In a few days, I will reveal something to tell you what other attempts I have made in the last 10 years in order to close the gap in a more gentle way, unluckily nothing works because nobody dares admit the presence of the gap / nobody dares think of feasible ways to close the gap / nobody dares be responsible for the cause of the gap. Most people only put the blame on the innocent and play the finger pointing game. And you will also have a gleam on the attitude of the current management towards the presence of the performance gap.

      Though I am a Wahyanite myself, I look at the situation not only from the position of an alumnus. I also look at the situation from the perspective of the uninformed potential parents, we have to be fair to them as well. (This is a perspective, Veil of Ignorance, advocated by an influential academic writing – A Theory of Justice by John Rawls written in 70’s. John proposed a simple thought experiment to determine the morality of a given issue. ‘Justice’ is not a buzzword to me, it is my life guidance. Unlike a lot of people who use the word too often but could not even give themselves a very definite mechanism to determine what is just or use the word merely for self-interest, I have no problem in explaining to anybody with detail and consistent rationale why a particular issue I considered just or unjust.) True unity and respect can only be found in justice. All my aims have intrinsic priority to avoid raising of conflicting goals.

      When I was the assistant principal, I could call out more than 80% of the names in the school and basically the discipline problem in school assembly had already been put under control if the assembly was conducted by me. But without high learning efficiency, when more resources are being channeled to sports development which is almost unstoppable now because somebody has already addicted to the glory that the achievement brings about, the performance gap will only widen.

      For this reason, I resigned in order to create an impulse to push the vocablearning project forward. The preliminary result of the project was very promising and confirmed my prediction. Unlucky, the project was abandoned by the current management without solid grounds. All the evidence I cited was simply ignored.

      When I was appointed the AP, I had the misapprehension that I was commissioned to carry out the project as I stated this very explicitly in my application and I was in charge of curriculum and academics of the school. The project must be the first step taken in order to avoid the adversary effect that will be brought about by the sports development. The project proceeded and gave expected results despite the fact that I paid an opportunity cost of $15,000,000 and the project infringed the comfort zone of somebody as it proved that the performance of the students could be much better.

      If I was not appointed mistakenly by the school management, I would adopt a more gentile approach as what I had done in the last 10 years and wait for the right time to close the performance gap. (Indeed, I have the feeling that I was tripped in the whole process. Reference : The scheme by-passed the formal decision making channel; My letter of Application for the Post of Assistant Principal. I was tripped in other occasions as well in spite of black and white policy records. Policy records could simply be overridden at whim by the one in power. For instance, when the project was first conducted, I requested a mark to be put on the report card as an assessment item. Mr. Tam insisted that he could only give me a grade and he deceived me that if the result of the project was promising, he would give the project a mark eventually. It turned out that he banned the project despite the promising result. I don’t mind to be tripped only if my sacrifice can close the performance gap for the Wahyanites.)

      I never insist on the vocablearning project. I only insist that the current management must demonstrate courage to face the reality. I am always ready to abandon the vocablearning project though it is backed by solid linguistic research findings which were also simply ignored by the critics of the project.

      I don’t need any recognition, tangible or intangible rewards. Just the opposite, I am ready to take all the blames and that’s why I don’t want anybody else got involved. I am only determined to end the injustice, if not a Ponzi scheme that costs the innocent at least $50,000,000 a year.

      If everything remains unchanged, the UGC-admission rate will drop below 25% very soon though I hope my prediction is wrong. Should peace and harmony be attained through sacrifice of the innocent? This is what I doubt. I also wish that there will be a just and peace­ful solu­tion.

      At the moment, I am only a right activist to warn the uninformed from being deceived by somebody using the goodwill of Wah Yan and warn the current Wahyanites to be ready to face the performance gap so that individuals can make the best preparation to save themselves. The performance of the students, the reputation and the actual operation of the school are in good hands of the current management.

      Do I love Wah Yan ?

      What kind of Business Ethics do I advocate ?

      Who else do I need to save ?

      What does Catholicism mean to me

        • A young and old boy on 5 February, 2012 at 1:42 am
        • Reply

        At the outset of my earlier message, I made it crystal clear that I wasn’t trying to discuss the performance gap or the correctional measures you have long referred hereto. Similarly, I am not prepared to discuss with you in this message on the causes of the problem and the relevant opportunity cost to students. Instead, your ongoing criticisms to certain person as well as the more and more fierce actions are the real concerns of some members of Wah Yan family.

        I reckon that Wah Yan has never been a place where people are trained to addict to heroism of one person. Wah Yan has never been a school which teaches students to shrug off their own responsibilities and point fingers at others amid difficult times either. Instead, I and most of my classmates managed to learn from Wah Yan the importance of teamwork and collaboration with people from different walks to achieve success in various facets of life. However, your actions are apparently contrary to the above and the following is just a tip of the iceberg:

        From your earlier messages and articles, I can’t help feeling that you keep boasting of your own capability while defaming your ex-colleagues. I am not going to comment whether your criticism to them is accurate, but let alone your claims that (1) discipline problem was under control when the you ran the assembly; and (2) the weakness and mistakes of the management of the school (or to be precise, Mr. Tam, who is repeatedly being alluded to in this homepage) you cited, it seems to me that you are trying to infer that your goodself, who was a teaching staff for over a decade and later became part of the management of the school, had completely no responsibility over the past performance of the student. In addition, I am equally uncertain whom you consider shall be held responsible for the “performance gap”. Is it (1) Mr. Tam; (2) school management committee; or (3) all teaching staff except Mr. Paul Yip? I wonder if teamwork or collaboration is ever important in your mind.

        Besides, while a year ago you were duty-bound to perform the role of assistant principal, which includes drawing up the school curriculum, I have serious doubt whether a right activist in the street is in the position to comment on the existing policy that the school now adopts. I am also extremely curious about why an alumnus who spent countless hours on supporting statistics doesn’t even bother to identify the PSA as a channel to express his view. Meanwhile, it appears that your intention is to oblige the school management to succumb to you and follow directly every idea you proposed, even after you stepped down from the position of assistant principal to create the “impulse”. I wish I am mistaken yet I can assure you that I am not the only Wahyanite who shares this view.

        I am also deeply saddened by the deceases of 2 teachers (one of whom also taught me when I was in Wah Yan) and the critical illnesses suffered by other teachers in recent years. However, I vigorously object to your inference of the above tragedies being associated to the school or its management. As a rational alumnus, I never support any irresponsible statement which has no value but lead to detriment of Wah Yan spirit.

        I notice that you now look at the situation of Wah Yan not only from the perspective of an alumnus, but also that of uninformed potential parents. Given that there are so many schools in Hong Kong which may have various sorts of problems (including but not limited to academic performance, bearing in mind that academic achievement is only one of the many elements to evaluate a school) and since you are no longer a teaching staff of any school, have you ever thought of doing the same disturbing acts (such as distributing leaflets, hunger strike) to other schools as well? Otherwise, I am reluctant but have to speculate that your hidden agenda of your current action is nothing else but retaliation to the school management who previously overturned your proposal.

        Once again, I appreciate your determination in finding supporting data for your allegations. I truly believe that your time and resources could have been allocated to more constructive matters. My classmates and I really wish those malicious actions can cease forthwith, even though certain damages to solidarity of Wah Yan have already been brought about.

        1. From your reply, I guess that you are not an insider of the school operation. Do you understand what is going on in the internal operation that causes the continuous degradation? Do you know that there is a consensus in PSA that they won’t intervene the school administration and they are also in an embarrassing position to do so ?

          I also hope that I can linger on my good old memory forever in which the school had twice the number of As (after adjustment to grade inflation), was competing in Division I interschool athletic meet and my classmate snatched the overall champion of interschool English debate. When were we last in Division I interschool athletic meet or snatched the overall champion of interschool English debate ?

          When I returned to Wah Yan to be a teacher 12 years after my graduation, I could hardly recognize Wah Yan in many aspects. Individual teachers may be great but the collective result is dismal. I am not the only Assistant Principal who cannot stay put. Before my resignation, there were 3 other AP resigned before their retirement age, though my resignation is only a tactical retreat to push the vocablearning project forward. If you know them, you better ask them for their real reasons of resignation.

          If team work achieves promising result, I respect team work. If not, I prefer to find somebody who dreams the same dream and shares the same vision. Team work is not for the sake of team work.

          Discussion is meaningless if one insists that he will discuss a topic only if he can exclude all the perspectives he wants to exclude even though I got used to this kind of obfuscation already in all these years in Wah Yan. You would be right in all reasoning because you preemptively excluded all unfavorable evidence. But could you realize that I addressed every of your queries but you ignored most of mine ?

          Perhaps, this is the real reason why we never get the debate championship again. You received a kind of education that was very different from the one I received in WY. In those old days, nobody stressed school image, personal achievement or solidarity. Our principal only spoke about justice, love and reflection in school assemblies. Read my letter of application verbatim, especially the second last line, these are the only things I really want. All others just follow the right values naturally. 孫子兵法 - 道天地將法,智仁勇信嚴。道 is the basis of everything.

          Almost all of my reasoning is backed by third-party verifiable evidence and yours are only your speculations or personal experience. Your wordings are also similar to those commonly used by a communist government in asking their people to sacrifice and unite. The earth is round not because most people think that it is round. A long time ago, everybody believed that the earth was flat.

          Furthermore, if your reasoning is valid, freedom of press will disappear in Hong Kong all in a sudden. Perhaps, freedom of press is not what you think Hong Kong needs. For my replies to your other criticisms, please read through all the articles on the site. If you can forget your identity of an alumnus for a while and take a perspective of a stranger with no connection with Wah Yan at all, you may be able to read something very different.

          As you are an alumnus of the school, your calumny on me is totally understandable. A few of my own classmates also condemned me. Do the participants, despite being the victims, of a Ponzi scheme want to see the scheme gone bust ? This is the real reason why I don’t want anybody else got involved. Before I take the action, I have already prepared for this kind of attack and weighed all pros and cons. Nobody can make me stop without solid evidence or feasible alternatives. I have already put aside $500,000 and 10 years’ time to do the job. Could you suggest a just and peaceful solution? Calumny or affection appeal has no effect on me. My determination is resolute and my love is for the innocent first.

          If my motive was retaliation, I should have done all these right after my resignation, not almost 2 years later.

          Have you ever read the book “Thomas F.Ryan SJ From Cork To China And Windsor Castle 1889-1971”? Fr. Ryan was also ousted by calumny. Calumny has a long history in Wah Yan.

          But I can agree with you on one thing, if I am not exceptional, I won’t be bold enough to initiate the whole campaign and I won’t dare give up $15,000,000. I think you will agree that the campaign is not for faint of heart.

          One more thing, did you take History when you were in Wah Yan ? How do you see what the shaping forces behind the direction of development of human history are ? What’s your opinion on the role of an activist in a civic society ? Do you prefer a civic society or autocracy ? In my opinion, the difference between individualism and collectivism is what divides the two underneath.

          Ingrat­i­tude towards their great men is the mark of strong peo­ple. — Win­ston Churchchill

          N.B. If you can prove another case of wrongdoing similar to what is happening in Wah Yan, I don’t exclude the possibility of holding another hunger strike there after the settlement of this case.

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