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  A Reply to my Reply
By Yue Tan David Tang

Dear Mr. Tang, my evil twin,

How often is reality an enemy of man's humble arrogance, that his tongue must become the very sword against his heart; how often is his heart a mastermind of bitter sweets, that he who tasted them must regret to have been the first prey to naivete; how often is this naivete an accomplice in the murder of Truth, that by lingering upon the appearance it prevents man from penetrating into the essence, which lies beyond any kind of humble arrogance whatsoever? Then, my evil twin, what sense does it make to bend your arrogant soul into a humble piece, spitting words that shall plague your nostalgic heart most, only to hope that the happy reader might stumble upon a shard of shattered hope, before he submits himself to the shallow bias of mud? If people of this generation can tolerate no reflection gentler than the loudest slogan, if they can enjoy no passion subtler than the most straightforward condemnation, then, my evil twin, what sense does your playfulness make? You know very well that the poor and ever-falling standard of English is a cancer to HK. Not only a North American physician has been horrified, but the entire international community is bemoaning the death of something precious, something that can remind people of HK's living past, and the Britons' elegant inelegance. You also know that HK has made quite a few attempts to regain her long-lost glory in English, despite the repeated setbacks sprung from many other debates. There are those who really want to learn-however disappointing the majority might be-and those who are so eager to help others learn. You know all these. You even voiced them, my evil twin. But you just should not have voiced them in that manner: you that shamelessly surrendered yourself to that physician's arrogant humbleness! Alas, my evil twin. Behold how society is treating our mother tongue; behold how parents, tempted by the benefits English can bring, are refusing to pay the slightest effort to push their children to write and speak better Chinese; behold how students are slighting Chinese studies as dull and old-fashioned; behold how the the media are consciously polluting the language for the sake of attracting the young; behold how this society is preventing its next generation from fostering, through literature, history, and geography of its fatherland, a sense of cultural recognition; behold how unfortunate we are that all these are too facts beyond any reasonable doubt. Alas, while our English and Chinese courses are failing to produce fluent speakers in either language, we fail in yet another aspect: we are not cultivating students who can have an eye to appreciate the elegance and depth of an educated Briton, a heart to profess the identity and concern of a genuine Chinese...

Your most arrogant twin,
Y.T.

XXXXXX

Dear Sirs,

If you read my reply to my reply, you shall know that I am not refusing to attend myself to criticisms-though they are not against myself. I fully endorse the position that something must be done to raise HK's English standard; yet, rarely have people paid an equal attention to the case of Chinese. No race can be confident in front of the international community without fostering among its members a sense of cultural recognition. Language is the first, and most crucial, step. I only want to remind the critics in HK that they should not raise the standard of English at the expense of Chinese. The Japanese are eager to brush up their English too; they, nevertheless, always give their mother tongue a first priority.

I understand that my first reply might be misleading, hence my writing of the second.

Sincerely,
Y.T.


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