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Education is more than just lessons

The fourth Sunday of September each year is designated Education Day by the diocese of Hong Kong. It is the beginning of a new school year and a time when we are reminded to pray for our students, educational work and policies, and to pay more attention to education issues.
 








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A good time for parents to learn a bit

The return from summer vacation to school for the beginning of a new academic year can be tough for students and the excitement of the beginning of autumn, which symbolises new life, can take a while to grab them.
 
But students are coming back to an education system that has had a tough year, as since this time one year ago, around 60 students in Hong Kong schools have committed suicide.
 








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A choppy relationship with nature

Hong Kong and Macau were hit by two typhoons within five days towards the end of August. Mid-week, Typhoon Hato struck during the early hours of the morning of August 23 closing down the two cities for most of the day and leaving a trail of damage as it went.
 
In both places there were injuries, but in Macau 10 people died leaving residents in deep shock and angry at officials for failing to make proper preparations for the storm.
 








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Love our neighbour

In a recent homily, the priest spoke briefly about the number of Christians in the world under persecution of one kind or another, from the extremely violent in the Middle East to the more subtle forms of social, land and business exclusion witnessed in western countries or motivated by racism, as in the Indonesian province of Papua.
 








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The voice of survivors

IN THEIR PEACE Declarations at the commemoration of the anniversaries of the only two cities in the world to have been victim of an atomic explosion, the mayors of both Hiroshima and Nagasaki focussed on the July 7 vote in the United Nations (UN) when 122 nations put up their hands in favour of an across the board ban on nuclear weaponry and called for pressure to be put on all nuclear powers to dismantle their stockpiles.
 








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His presence was his elocution

Christians, including many in the Catholic Church in Hong Kong adopted Liu Xiaobo as a prophet during his life time and, since his untimely death in a Chinese prison on July 13, embraced him as a martyr.
 
Liu was not a Christian or a Catholic, but his lifelong commitment to the truth and the great value he placed on the integrity of his own conscience remained the driving inspiration of his life—an inspiration that he suffered and ultimately died for.
 








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It is tough at the top

On August 1, the Holy See announced that it has accepted the retirement of the current bishop of Hong Kong, John Cardinal Tong Hon, and that he is to be succeeded automatically by his coadjutor, Bishop Michael Yeung Ming-cheung.
 
While a change in the leadership at the top of the diocese is always a matter of much interest, often preceded by a period of intense speculation, in one sense it is of little consequence, yet in another, it is vital for the Church.
 








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The time is near

The quietly spoken, mild mannered bishop of Hong Kong is due to step down from his position when he turns 78 on July 31. For reasons best known to minds across the world in the Vatican, when he tendered his resignation as required prior to his 75th birthday, his offer was rejected and his term extended for a further three years, but with the rider it would not be extended again.
 
However, the eight years John Cardinal Tong Hon spent as the leader of the Church in Hong Kong have been highly eventful ones.
 








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Contract work hours and other problems

The duty of heads of government is to harmonise sectoral interests with the requirements of justice in order that the common good may be attained in conjunction with the contribution of every citizen (The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church 168-9).
 
But on working hours and the offset against the Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) for severance pay, the government hurriedly launched two policies, which are neither fish, flesh nor fowl, as personal political aspirations were placed over people’s need.








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Ignoring the weak at own peril

The manner in which the government treats the most vulnerable in the workforce should be a matter of concern for the whole of society, as it is a strong indication of how it is prepared to treat everyone.
 
A society that does not take independent steps to protect the weakest sections of its workforce can destroy its ability to protect itself.