Personal Development & Interpersonal Relationships

Resolve Zheng Sheng controversy with an open mind
放開胸懷 化解正生風波

    Zheng Sheng College, Hong Kong's unique school providing rehabilitation rehabilitation(n)修復 and education services for young drug abusers, has applied for relocation from Chi Ma Wan on Lantau Island to Mui Wo because its school premises are shabby shabby(adj)破舊的 , small and dangerous. This has faced strong opposition from some Mui Wo residents, resulting in one emotional row after another. Some of the parents are worried that it would affect the social values social values 社會風氣 . They also pointed out that there are not enough regular schools in the area and were against offering the premises of the middle school that was forced to close to Zheng Sheng College. The problem of student drug abuse has received more and more social concern these days. To support the fight against this unhealthy trend, society must give young drug addicts a second chance. The strong reaction of the Mui Wo residents comes somewhat from misunderstandings. As long as they try to keep an open mind on the matter, there will be compassion compassion(n)同情 and tolerance tolerance(n)包容 .

    The problem of youths taking psychotropic psychotropic substance  精神科毒品 substances has been fast deteriorating. Even students in top urban schools have abused drugs. To help keep young drug addicts away from drug harassment harassment(n)騷擾 , their addiction must be cut to have their urge for drugs cut. This requires culturing in them a healthy outlook and habits, self-respect and self-discipline, and an understanding that life is meaningful and promising. Education and vocational training play a very important role in this aspect. The teaching staff of the Christian Zheng Sheng College had, in spite of all difficulties, provided such youths with a second chance that is hard to come by. Over the past 20 years, they have received much public praise, not only from their counterparts, parents and students but also from residents on Cheung Chau Island who patronize the fast food restaurant the school has opened in the community for training purposes.

Relocation urgent with school premises small, old and dangerous

    Zheng Sheng College students appearing in public activities in dignity and being poised poised(adj)儀態優雅的 in media interviews without masking off their faces are signs of having regained their self-respect and confidence. Seventy percent of the students never again touched drugs after leaving school. More and more parents want to send in their children who are addicted to drugs to the school. The demand for school places has left the college in an extremely overloaded situation.

    The college's premises in Chi Ma Wan are now full. The college will be forced to move its girls' dormitory dormitory(n)宿舍 to Cheung Chau and the girls will have to take a ferry trip every day to attend school at Chi Ma Wan. The premises at Chi Ma Wan are shabby and under the threat of landslides and have not met with the requirements set down by the Buildings Department and the Fire Services Department. The college is currently running under a temporary exemption certificate exemption certificate 豁免證明書 issued by the Social Welfare Department. Such "unlicensed operation" will end in a year and a half and it is most urgent to find new school premises first.

    If the Zheng Sheng College could successfully occupy the site of the former New Territories Heung Yee Kuk Southern District Secondary School, the school places could be increased and its environment improved. It will also facilitate the operation of social enterprises to help students integrate back into society. Students can leave school premises only when accompanied by a teacher to avoid lax supervision that may affect community conduct.

Removing hostility favours students turning over a new leaf

    The reaction of the Mui Wo parents is academically known as the NIMBY(or "Not in My Backyard")Syndrome. The last time there was such strong reaction was over 10 years ago when some Richland Gardens residents were against the Kowloon Bay Health Centre serving AIDS patients, resulting in scuffles with police and disturbances to centre staff. Eventually, the Equal Opportunities Commission used the Disability Discrimination Ordinance to take the obstinate residents to court and settled the case with a lawsuit.

    To avoid a repeat of the Richland Gardens incident, the authority and Zheng Sheng College should address the concerns of the parents and have more communication with them and arrange for parents to visit the college to increase understanding. Currently there is much support for the college in society. If the residents have better understanding of the college, the two parties can compromise compromise (n) 妥協 . This will reduce opposition and help keep the college and community in harmony. It is a better way of resolving the dispute.

    For the Zheng Sheng students, they may be unhappy with the discrimination and verbal attacks they received in the community but that will also help them understand the difficulties they will face when they go back into society one day. It is an invaluable lesson. After the psychological wounds heal, they will be stronger in facing the challenges in the days to come.


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