Schooling the World

November 2, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-11-01 at 22.49.21Schooling the World is not only a reflection on the role of education in colonialism, but it also an inspiration for us to rethink the very notion of education.

Education is often seen as a panacea for poverty in the developing world. A population with competence in math and science, usually supported by a good command in English, often translate to a more prosperous economy and better integration into the world’s economy. This equation seems logical and it is proven to work for a lot of developing countries – growth in monetary terms. But it ignores the fact this concept of education, largely funded by development agencies, voluntary organisations and goodhearted individuals, is at the core a western one, with a specific agenda to mould subjects to suits the needs of a capitalistic, urbanised and consumption-based economy.

Let’s just first put aside the fact that this economic model is not sustainable – it would take the resources of more than one planet earth if the whole world is to live the western way – an education system that serves this model often put the focus on technical competence over creativity, rationality over spirituality, conformity over diversity. With education and development, a farmer who used to live a perfectly happy life working in the fields could be forced to work in a sweatshop in the city. The farmer earns more, but is he happier?

“Education is a compulsory, forcible action of one person upon another. Culture is the free relation of people… The difference between education and culture lies only in the compulsion, which education deems itself in the right to exert. Education is culture under restraint. Culture is free.”
– Leo Tolstoy

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Citizenfour

November 1, 2014

new-york-film-festival-2014-citizenfour-movie-review-ed8ac34b-e9e2-4583-8a9d-a1f72f1b327a

Citizenfour is the code name Snowden used in his communications with the journalists.

Citizenfour完整地紀綠了斯諾登洩密事件的過程和始末,由他最初用加密電郵聯絡記者,及後到美麗華酒店接受訪問,直至他接受俄羅斯庇護,以記者的第一身視點呈現出來。

斯諾登在酒店逗留了超過一個星期, 期間向記者耐心闡釋英美情報機關精密、龐大而駭人的竊聽網絡。在訪問的字裡行間,可以看見他思路和邏輯都非常清晰。對於自己洩密的後果,亦已經想得一清二楚。在計劃中,他並沒有要求記者以保護消息來源為名而隱姓埋名,反之,他希望透過公開自己身份,去鼓勵更多人告密,向世界揭示英美政權違法不義的惡行。記者問:什麼驅使你告密?他帶著一絲年輕人的傻勁,回:Now we live under a government of the ruler and the ruled, instead of one that is made up of the elected and the electorate,擲地有聲。在強權壓迫之下,人不需要受什麼唆擺、煽動或利誘,自己也懂得明辨是非,走在叛逆路上。在鎂光燈背後,衛報記者Gleen Greenward和導演Laura Poitras為了公開斯諾登的故事,也屢遭阻撓。

看畢全片,不禁想起香港的事、香港人多年的奮鬥。有人會說:屌你睇,英國美國咪一撚樣,都係以言入罪,拉晒你啲異見人士,邊有民主㗎。沒錯,我可以肯定告訴你,類似的不文明、反民主事件,每天都在英美發生。但正正就是因為她們的制度,仍然保障人和資訊可以(相對)自由地流通,才造就了這部電影、造就了斯諾登、造就了每天冒死捍衛這個制度的記者。民主,從來都不是由當權者所恩賜的,因為權力就像癌細胞一樣,在沒有制約的情況下必然會無憂止地擴散,直至載體奄奄一息而已。在自由的國度,人們對於癌細胞仍然聞之色變,暢所欲言去探討消滅癌細胞的方法,在一切失效時,用化療解決。又,在另一國自由的國度裡,有人說癌細胞也有牠的可取之處,討論消滅癌細胞是不切實際,而且化療的效果因人而異,亦非必要。

何其諷刺。