Two Confucian Ideals

I wonder if Chinese students in Mainland China still have great respect for their teachers. Sometimes, I 'd think that in Singapore and elsewhere in South East Asia , Chinese mothers especially, probably do not keep so much to one of the highly advocated Confucian ideals - to respect one's teacher. Recently, in Singapore, an enraged mother had made a police report and complained to the Ministry of Education about a teacher for cutting and ruining his son's $60 haircut. The mother had said that the teacher had no right to cut her son's hair and had shown her no respect by not telling her she was going to cut his hair beforehand. That was despite the fact that the 12-year-old boy had been warned and issued a letter about his long hair. The mother had later stated that she was not shown the letter as her son is dyslexic and tend to be forgetful.  The Singapore case reminds me of another nearer home where a girl refused to clear up the rubbish on the floor when instructed by the assistant principal. The girl had said bluntly that she was not the one who had created the mess and would therefore not clear up the mess. Her mother who happened to be there at the scene had given her daughter her thumb up, saying she gave full support to her daughter's stand. In the Singapore case, it seems understandable that the mother looks forward to being respected since after all, to respect the parents  and the elders is but another one of those Confucian ideals. Most probably, teachers all over the world would applaud when  Singapore's Education Minister,  Heng Swee Keat stood firm behind the teacher in the $60 haircut case.To quote the wise minister: If parents do not show graciousness to others and respect for rules, our young will not do so either. Soon, discipline will be eroded. The tone in our schools will deteriorate, and the tone in our society too.


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