Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Not via facebook, either!

If you have young children, you may also have realised that schools today have been brainwashing kids about THE ENVIRONMENT. ENDANGERED SPECIES. POLLUTION. DON'T DRIVE WALK! etc.

Nothing inherently wrong in that, of course, if not for the misinformation that teachers randomly throw out at kids without any consideration for context and, well, how can I put it..... reality!

So one day my six year old son came back from school, and after having been fed some crap about "pink dolphins" in Hong Kong (note: they should be Chinese white dolphins), urged me to help him write a letter to Donald Tsang. My son dictated it to me as I wrote it verbatim (by long hand) and so I don't have a copy with me. Allow me to paraphrase:

Dear Donald Tsang,

I am writing to complain about the fishing nets which are too big and have been killing the pink dolphins. I want you to ban fishermen from using big nets and use small ones instead so that the dolphins won't get trapped and die. They are an endangered species and I don't want them to die. ...... etc.

Signed,

Pierre's son, and all 29 of this classmates
.

Yes, he took it to school and the teacher encouraged all the kids to sign it.

So he brought the petition back, I stuffed it in an envelope and sent it to dur Donald @ government offices lower albert road, central.

(BTW I am drinking one of these tiny little cans of "foreign extra" "brewed for export" guinness and it is absolutely FOWL - I mean FOUL - don't ever try it)


In less than a week we got a reply, all two sentences of it, from dur Donald's office, saying thank you for your letter Mr Pierre's son, we will forward your concerns to the agriculture and fishery department blah blah. Okay not exactly a letter from Wen Jiabao or Hu Jintao but for enough to impress a class of six year olds.

And within a week from that, we got a letter from the A&F department, as promised! this time a whole TWO pages of it. Again allow me to paraphrase:

Dear Mr Pierre's son,

Thank you for your letter blah blah.....
Hong Kong used to be a fishing village and fishing has always been a way of life for many people. Blah blah.
Fishing is blah blah blah blah.... economic development something or other etc.
We take the conservation of endangered species very seriously please consider these statistics below etc.
The population of the Chinese white dolphins has remained stable over the past however many years and they are doing pretty well by all counts you must trust us on this etc. we are very determined to keep them all alive and well etc.
Thank you again for your letter and please visit this website to find out more about what we are doing to preseve all kinds of wild life in our waters.

Yours sincerely,

So-and-so,
for director of A&F Dept, HKSAR



So I was reading this letter out to my son, who couldn't understand very much of the bureaurcracy speak, I was impressed/appalled by the effort put into replying a bunch of 6 year olds, protesting against a type of supposedly endangered species which doesn't even exit; even white dolphins are not killed by fishing nets!

Anyhow, my brain was working even harder and my emotions even more confused when I looked closely at the undersigned's initials... Hang on..... So-and-so.... fings a bell ... When I was doing my postgrad studies there was one guy whose research was on heavy metal contamination of mussels in Hong Kong waters..... his name was also So-and-so! Could it be? That a serious scientist and dedicated scholar with a PhD is now stuck in some government office writing replies to six year olds?? So I called up a mutual friend and she confirmed that this So-and-so is indeed the So-and-so who studied mussels way back then! (our nickname for him was, er, "Mussel")

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Do you think Danold is going to read this?
Nice try

Pierre said...

Huh? "nice try"?

Karen said...

The first part would've been "Signs you're getting old"

But then again, it's "signs you have certain social influence to make these connections". I'm not sure... as I'm exploring, whether this is *really* oh-so important in life.

“True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country.” - Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Cheers to good posts, as usual.

Eh-choo mui mui. said...

welcome to the bureaucracy. i had to answer to looney letters all the time. i.e. "these new immigrants are taking away healthcare services from real canadians!" etc. etc. etc.

that's the thing - every letter that we receive, must be replied.

your son's letter must've gone through 6 drafts, i bet.

and ... also VERY funny aboot mussels.