Dear comrade,
Happy Chinese New Year.

In our tradition, the most symbolic act to declare the start of a new year is to tidy up our messy home. As a dad of typical Hong Kong kids, struggling with their cleanliness and tidiness is unavoidable. Yet, I surprisingly found a treasure, a book named “貞觀政要,” in their ‘landfill.’ I couldn’t help reading the book from page to page, for it has changed my perception of traditional Chinese wisdom. I wonder why an S5 kid would keep this ‘alternative wisdom.’ A saying: “we don’t need much knowledge, the essential have already learned in school” may be proven right. Yet, it is intriguing that the book is found in the ‘landfill.’

Traditional Chinese wisdom in the workplace mostly focuses on trickery and manipulating the dark side of human nature. But as for me, education is more about inspiring people brightness. From the teachers-students relations to the staff team collaboration, the teaching of Jesus on servanthood provides people hope. “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. Whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. (Mark 10: 42-44)”

Saying that the book is an “alternative” Chinese classic is appropriate. Its humanism is clearly declared in the first chapter:


It means that the leaders must first consider the needs of the followers. If the leaders satisfy their own convenience at the expense of the followers, it is like feeding a man with the flesh from his own thighs. The belly is full, but the man dies. Though it is not exactly what Jesus highlights on servanthood, it provides another view to explain why “whoever would be great among you must be your servant.”

We all agree that the kids in Henrietta need to be more confident. “The kids in Henrietta are better than they think” forms our shared belief. While we are thinking of measures to enhance their self-confidence, this “alternative” classic gives us a light:


It means that the teacher is like a container, and the students are like water in the container. The shape of the water changes according to the shape of the container it is in. In other words, the key is that if we believe: “The teachers in Henrietta are better than they think.”

Mr. Kenneth H. Ng
Principal, Henrietta Secondary School