Generation 40s – 四十世代

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別為青春期「反叛」苦惱

Hong Kong Economic Journal
C02 | 健康生活 | 德育相傳 | By 許芷茵 |
2013-06-08

身為父母的,很快便會發現,要忙着餵幼嬰每兩小時喝一次奶、忙掃風、忙換片、忙洗澡、忙添衣……暖時怕他太暖,冷時又驚他冷壞,眠乾睡濕地全天候服侍,體力消耗大,卻原來是整個父母生涯中最愜意、最沒有壓力的一段好日子。稍大一點,你會開始為他們的學業而擔憂,再大一點,打機、交友、態度、情緒,以及種種叫成年人看不過眼的瑣碎生活習慣,有可能叫父母嘆息:「當日那個可愛的小寶寶,怎會長成了這樣不聽話的一個小魔怪?」我們且把年青人羽翼稍豐後就對父母一言九「頂」的現象泛稱為「反叛」。

我主持的家長分享會,最受歡迎的其實不是幼兒及小學的組別,而是高小至初中的那幾組。小時候,我們會關心如何啟發孩子的潛能、念哪間學校最好、如何幫助他建立良好的品德及價值觀等等,直至有一天,那個一百分的乖仔乖女放學時突然黑口黑面,你問多兩句便淚流披面,或是衝口而出一句:「別理我!」更甚者你說東時他偏往西,父母的魔力漸漸流失……爸爸媽媽,先別覺得受傷覺得心痛,就讓我們先來了解一下,年青人為何「反叛」。

彼此想法不同

「反叛」一詞,代表的是反抗權威的行為,但我並不喜歡這種解讀方法。隨着孩子漸漸成長為年青人,對父母不再言計聽從,說到底,其實是源自建立個人自主、想法及身份的需要。每個人都是獨立的個體,每當看見孩子嘗試着從父母的翅膀下拍動雙翼,振翅欲飛,在欷歔的同時,我總是有點高興。每當我們的想法不同,孩子以他們似是而非的道理據理力爭時,我是勞氣與谷氣,同時也暗自竊喜──當然在成年人的眼中,他們的「理據」可能不值一哂,可是看見他們敢於也樂於表達自己所思所想,並為了自身的願望奮力爭取時,我會為這種成長的力量而興奮。「只要你能說服我,又是死不得人的,我會讓你去試。」這是我對待我家年青人爭取獨立的原則。

死不得人的,包括奇裝異服、成年人看不過眼的髮型、學什麼與不學什麼課外活動、什麼時候睡覺、房間是否凌亂等,如果家中的年輕人為着這些事情跟你爭拗,千萬不要動氣,先提醒自己這是小寶貝突然覺得自己有權為自己的身體及生活出主意的動作而已,而事實上,不在他們成年之前教會他們為自己出主意,將來因為欠缺獨立思考能力、人云亦云而惹來的麻煩只會更多。

讓孩子試着走

當然,作為家長,亦是孩子的守護者,如果遇上「死得人」的事,你需要有足夠的影響力去讓孩子認同你的想法,這時,日常在「死不得人」的事件上的「放」,會給你足夠籌碼在「死得人」的事件上「收」,因為良好的親子關係,包括愛、欣賞、了解及接納,是贏取孩子信任與信服的不朽元素。別再為青春期孩子的「反叛」而苦惱,記得他們小時剛學會走路,一直由父母小心翼翼拖着的那隻小手,會突然把父母的手甩開,然後顛顛危危地自管自往前走嗎?父母那一種混和快慰的心酸,與今天的心境相似,你會因為怕他們跌倒,而不讓他們自己試着走走嗎?

許芷茵
兒童教育工作者

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Money laundering taints wine trade

South China Morning Post
Comment›Insight & Opinion
2013-10-29

Avi Jorsch

Avi Jorisch says while vineyards in France are favoured investments for Chinese and Russian money launderers, it’s only the tip of the iceberg in terms of trade-based ‘dirty money’ schemes

Bucolic regions in the south of France represent the newest frontier for law enforcement and intelligence officials searching for dirty funds. Since 2008, thousands of people with alleged criminal connections have reportedly arrived in southwest France from eastern Europe, Hong Kong and mainland China to snap up vineyards to launder their money. European and Asian officials must take steps and curb this trend, including establishing trade transparency units to combat trade fraud.

In its latest annual report, the French anti-money-laundering unit, Tracfin, singled out Chinese, Russians and Ukrainians who buy vineyards, voicing concern that they might be using this type of investment to clean their ill-gotten gains. According to wine analysts, Chinese purchasers are one of the largest groups of vineyard owners in France and have been purchasing so many estates in the Bordeaux region that the local Chamber of Commerce reportedly has a help desk specifically for them.

Chinese nationals own as many as 50 wine estates and vineyards in the region, and there are reports of Chinese purchases in Burgundy. Russian investors are following suit, but according to wine experts, they prefer the Cognac region.
Prospective vineyard owners in France [are] offering to pay in cash, which should throw up a red flag

Global Financial Integrity, a respected organisation in Washington that monitors money laundering, reports a significant amount of illicit money leaving China and Russia, which partially explains these types of investments. According to its estimates, between 2000 and 2011 nearly US$4 trillion left China’s economy, principally for tax evasion purposes, and between 1994 and 2011 over US$200 billion flowed out of Russia.

The vast majority of this tainted money was moved using trade-based money laundering schemes. According to Global Financial Integrity, developing countries are losing about US$100 billion every year to trade mispricing, which represents approximately 4.4 per cent of the developing world’s total government revenue.

Typically, trade-based money laundering schemes involve invoice fraud and trade manipulation, principally via misrepresentation of price, quantity or quality of imports or exports. Specific tactics include over-invoicing, under-invoicing, double invoicing, and false invoicing. With these methods, large amounts of money can be moved while avoiding taxes, tariffs and customs duties, greatly complicating law enforcement efforts to follow the financial trail.

Purchasing vineyards is an excellent method to launder money. Reports have emerged of prospective vineyard owners in France offering to pay in cash, which should throw up a red flag. Moreover, the price of wine is never fixed; it is easy to over- or under-invoice. Paying in cash is not atypical; and perhaps best of all, it has all the trappings of high society.

According to Tracfin, foreign investors are buying wineries through multiple holding companies and complex legal structures involving tax havens and jurisdictions known for money-laundering. Often a legal French company is established whose shareholders include foreign shell companies, making it almost impossible to determine who actually owns the company or what the source of their money is.

What can be done to stop this trade abuse and money laundering? To their credit, the Chinese and Russian governments have begun to take money laundering more seriously and have increased efforts to curb illicit finance. China has now raised the issue of money laundering to the “national strategic level” in order to stop the massive flow of funds out of the country, according to Li Dongrong, deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China.

In addition, on July 1 Russia’s Vladimir Nechaev became president of the Financial Action Task Force, the pre-eminent international organisation combating money laundering and terrorism finance.

However, the law enforcement and intelligence community can do much more, including cross-border sharing of intelligence on companies, individuals and financial institutions facilitating these types of investments.

The issue of wineries speaks to a larger problem. Few jurisdictions worldwide have done much to counter this type of laundering, and even the Financial Action Task Force has failed to issue an international standard or guidance on it.

The most effective way of combating trade-based money laundering is to actively monitor export and import records of a commodity traded between two countries. Allowing for some recognised variables, the data should match, and any wide discrepancies could indicate trade fraud or corruption. Such anomalies could also be the back door to underground remittance systems and informal value transfer systems used by both money launderers and terrorists.

A number of countries – including several Latin American countries, the Philippines, and the US – have created trade transparency units and compare data in order to pursue those who abuse trade to launder the proceeds of crime. Ultimately, a global network should be created for data exchange between countries. France, China and the Ukraine should also create trade transparency units and start pursuing money-laundering suspects.

In addition, the Financial Action Task Force should issue a report on wineries and the methods employed to abuse the international financial sector. France’s wine country is probably not alone; in all likelihood, well-known wine regions throughout the world, including in the US, Spain, New Zealand and Argentina, are being abused for illicit purposes.

Countries would be wise to get serious about sharing financial intelligence, bilaterally and via traditional international channels.

Wineries represent the tip of the iceberg when it comes to abuse of the international financial sector. Just as the financial system has become global, so too has the threat posed by tainted money. In confronting this threat, the system is only as strong as its weakest link.

Avi Jorisch is a senior fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council and a former US Treasury official


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誰殺死中國歷史科?

Hong Kong Economic Journal
C03 | 優質教育 | 教育講論 | By 梁亦華 |
2013-06-08

近日中國歷史科的存亡成了不少教育界人士的討論焦點,據《新高中科目資料調查》顯示,本年中史選修人數大約跌至不足一萬,中史已面臨了亡科的危機。有人認為這是市場導向的必然結果,也有人認為這是課程評核過度繁複,要求遠超學生能力所致。

回顧英國殖民地政府統治香港一百五十年,中史科成為舉足輕重的文科主流,為何回歸後經過十五年課程改革,中史竟被「發展」成如斯境地?是誰殺死了中國歷史科?

中史的退修潮不是今年才突然出現,可是卻一直沒有成為「問題」。

教育局2011年的文章《中國歷史教育正面睇》便引用種種數據「以正視聽」,指出中史科退修人數與比率與「其他選修科」相若,而中史獨立成科的學校比例達八成。

可是以修讀人數而言,選修中史的學生數從回歸初年的三萬零六百四十九人,逐步跌至2007 年的二萬四千八百二十六人,2007年課改更直線向下,大幅暴跌至本年九千三百六十四人,累計跌幅達七成,比金融海嘯時的恒指跌幅更甚,筆者實不知道還有哪些「其他學科」有如此驚人跌幅。

校本評核勞民傷財

不少前線教師反映,中史科的問題在於內容複雜繁瑣,令學生望而卻步,可是局方似乎並不這樣看。

教育局常任秘書長謝凌潔貞在2012年的「中國歷史與國民教育」座談會便指出,中史不能引發興趣,不是因為它難讀難考,而是沒有實用性。然而,局方引入活化中史科的不少措施,正是學界今日反對最激烈的地方。

為了減少學生死記背誦,激發學習動機,中史科引入勞民傷財的校本評核,並提議教師舉辦參觀博物館、文物館、升國旗儀式、實地考察,以及服務學習等種種活動。對於平均每周工作時數達六十小時的中學教師們,又會否有時間、精力兼顧預約、交通、保險、反思、活動評估等眾多行政事宜?

為了減低學生學習壓力,教育局又把「一試定生死」總結性評估,「優化」成「試試定生死」的進展性評估,師生需要絞盡腦汁,準備不同類型的「學習證據」來證明自己,令學生無時無刻不被各式評核所包圍。

與其說進展性評估促進學習,倒不如說它促進了中史退修潮。

與通識科內容重疊

為培養學生的多角度視野,教育局又從中史課程中抽出八十個學時,即總學時的三成來發展六大選修單元,可是如「中國傳統文化的發展」、「地域與資源運用」、「女性社會地位」等與中國語文或通識單元均有重疊之處。相對地,過往中國歷史的核心知識則被割裂成「上古至十九世紀中葉」及「十九世紀中葉至二十世紀末」兩部分,只剩下一百四十學時,佔總學時的51.9%。是以不少中史教師批評新課程只着重主題式零碎片段,無助學生塑造中國歷史的整全概念,實有根據。

如同消滅一個民族

世界著名作家米蘭昆德拉曾言︰「消滅一個民族的第一步,就是抹掉它的記憶,毀掉它的歷史。」遺憾的是,中國歷史科被「發展」成如此境地,局方也不視之為問題,不是掩耳盜鈴地繼續「正面睇」,便是把它解讀成市場導向的正常現象,聽從象牙塔專家的意見,繼續所謂「行之有效」的評核,舉着「學生為本」的旗幟改革下去。也許,這才是中國歷史科的最大問題。

撰文︰梁亦華

香港教育學院高級研究助理


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老酒廠看到貧窮

Hong Kong Economic Journal
C05 | 城市智庫 | 回眸英倫 | By 毛羨寧 |
2013-06-08

東倫敦的紅磚巷一區有許多市集,包括Old Spitalfields Market創意市場。星期天來看看二手古董雜貨和手工藝品,可以耗上一整天。附近老杜魯門釀酒廠(The Old Truman Brewery)的Sunday up 市集則比較新穎,專門賣珠寶飾物和特色設計品。這座歷史悠久的釀酒廠經常展覽當地藝術家和設計師的作品,每逢星期六在釀酒廠外面舉辦Backyard Market,推廣東倫敦獨特的文化。

每年5 月至7 月,更會用作為設計學生的畢業展場地,鼓勵年青藝文工作者創作及與普羅大眾交流,所以倫敦設計節的Tent London 和Super Brands London都在這裏舉行。我抬頭一看,酒廠用紅磚建造的長煙囪寫上了TRUMAN名字,仍然保留了十八世紀的外觀,便跟朋友說:「東倫敦的潮流我追趕不上。英國小說及傳記家彼得.艾克洛德 (Peter Ackroyd)筆下的Spitalfield,才是我所認識的東倫敦。」2001 年,艾克洛德出版London: The Biography 一書,848頁的平裝版記錄了許多倫敦舊歷史。當時我在帝國學院跟Sabine Clarke博士選修了一個學期的醫學歷史課,研究英國濟貧法(The English Poor Law)的演變與社會福利。

為了寫論文,我到巴黎聖母院旁邊的Hotel Dieu 醫院,看昔日用流浪漢屍體當作實驗品的殮房,然後比較英國低下階層面對傳染病的非人生活,走到蘇豪區John Snow Pub拍照,想像1854年倫敦爆發霍亂時John Snow 醫生怎樣發現疫症來自食水污染,追蹤病源到一口水井,成功說服政府改善河道汲水作為食用的處理。他成為了麻醉學與公共衞生流行病學的先驅,人們便命名了一個酒館來紀念他。諷刺的是,他是一個禁酒主義者。我看到艾克洛德寫東倫敦的小屋窄巷布滿窮困的外地移民,立即引起了共鳴。

窮人一併消失

因為老杜魯門釀酒廠在1660年代設立,前身為黑鷹啤酒廠,在十八世紀疫症蔓延時喝啤酒比喝水更安全,酒廠的主要顧客是當地勞工。酒廠得到了平民百姓支持,規模迅速擴大,並透過十九世紀啤酒廠和酒吧房地產的收購擴張,杜魯門釀酒廠成為了當時世界上最大的啤酒廠,曾經製造出皇室指定飲用的啤酒,特別用在喜慶的儀式典禮。可惜,杜魯門後繼無人,而且要與二十世紀開始崛起的啤酒牌子和更便宜的進口產品競爭,嘗試改變管理層和生產線也沒有成功,最後在1989年結業,與繁盛社會不想見到的窮人一併消失。

不為人知真相

艾克洛德在書中寫道:「窮人和走投無路的人,往往是倫敦歷史最核心的一部分。」我去年看戰地攝影師麥庫林(Don McCullin)在倫敦泰特美術館和帝國戰爭博物館的黑白作品展,便有一幅1969年在Spitalfields所攝的流浪漢肖像,突顯了那人的眼神充滿憤怒和無奈。

麥庫林曾經在1989 年,為英國廣播電視台製作了一部有關倫敦流浪漢的紀錄片,並說道:「我去到第三世界國家,那裏的人們根本不相信英國有窮人,但這個國家存在着許多不為人知的真相,我們有貧窮問題、失業問題,有很不方便的等級制度,還有外地人不會明白的各樣事情。所

以當我走在倫敦街頭,看到有人睡在店舖門口時,連我也感到很震驚。」英國社會福利的政策漏洞,放棄了一些年青人、精神病患或殘疾者甚至前軍人。東倫敦五光十色的霓紅燈閃爍不定,不代表能擺脫黑白照中貧困疾苦的問題。

毛羨寧