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Monday 06-Nov-2017
【蘋果日報】味精粉裏無精英

一個國家是不是真正的強大,要看這個國家的家長肯不肯將他們的子女留在本國升讀中學和大學。所謂Vote With Their Feet。父母對子女的愛是最真的,包括借他們的子女的雙腳來投票。英國的教育學費不菲,但過三百年還會有市場。

 

寄宿學校幾十年來經歷了重大的變化﹐是帝國版圖早已大幅收縮,寄宿學校本國市場相應減少。以前派往海外殖民地的低級官員,包括來自利物浦一個清道夫、到了羅德西亞做警察然後調派來香港升做警司,也擁有優厚的教育福利。香港的納稅人供養英國祖國派駐的低級殖民地官的子女讀寄宿學校,供養了至少一百年。

 

21世紀中國人已經強大得可以攻下英國寄宿學校頭30位的超過1成學額版圖。華人子女去英國,最難戒除的是跟隨父母吃了十幾年的所謂中國菜。許多父母在送子女去英國時,最大的恐懼就是「英國的學校食唔飽」、「英國的食物不好吃」、「鬼佬餐無營養」等等,而在兒子的行李箱塞3打杯麵。

 

我認識英國寄宿學校的幾位校長近年嚴令:如有香港仔入學,在宿舍中第一日要將父母夾帶來的杯麵全部交出。如有夾帶電飯煲的也要上繳。若父母那邊投訴,校長告訴他:在宿舍煮杯麵要煲滾水;另外用電飯煲煮飯也要用電,英國的電費很貴,宿舍的水煲只限沖英國下午茶或咖啡之用,不准額外用以開水來泡杯麵和煮米。杯麵和電飯煲一概沒收,到學生退學時原樣奉還。

 

有家長不知如何應對,我安慰他們這是英國校長含蓄的外交詞令。我們口口聲聲說:「英國的學校吃不飽」,伊頓公學出身的前英國首相卡梅倫肥肥白白,有沒有少年時營養不良的跡象?收幾十萬元一年學費,當然不包餐單內有鮑魚和清蒸星斑-------不錯,我知道大家的要求不高,除了鮑魚和石斑,不會強迫寄宿學校飯堂也要有鵝掌和海蔘。

 

寄宿學校教育的重點,不在於填飽口腹而在於疏通大腦。三百年來英國人從來沒有經歷饑餓,他們以為香港的母親,個個是「虎媽」(Tiger Mother) ,而不知道這些虎媽送子女出國往往在超磅寄倉的行李中塞入過多的杯麵、絲苗米王、羽絨,白花油以及虎標萬金油。

 

我時時告訴英國寄宿學校校方:虎媽對子女的大腦固然英中數理化百般填塞,對子女的腸胃也恨不得老虎魚蝦蟹中式菜餚餵飼不飽。中國人的母愛哲學,你們鬼佬永遠不明白。

 

中學校長們聽了表情一片茫然。所謂民以食為天,我一度將這句話翻譯給英國朋友,故意扭曲:Chinese People can Eat the Sky。這不就是民以食為天的意思嗎?他們聽了大驚,覺得中國人對食物的想象力無限Sky is the Limit。

 

所以,寄艙行李上限二十公斤,航空公司二十年來從未增加上限,固然不公平,不過若子女一去到寄宿學校就三天在廚房自煮杯麵,他的杯麺很有機會成為他蒙受文化隔離的第一次經驗。

 

教育不是一個杯麵,英國的教育是一夜的盛宴。

 

http://www.facebook.com/ukchitchat

smschan1@gmail.com 

 

原文:https://hk.news.appledaily.com/local/realtime/article/20171106/57417392

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Samuel Chan, the winner of Alumni Awards 2017, is the founder of Britannia. He had studied in the UK since the age of 9 for 15 years and achieved his master degree in International Political Economy at University of Warwick. Now he shares his experiences and professional advice in education columns in Hong Kong’s major newspapers.

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Mabel Chan is the Principal Consultant of Britannia. Having studied in both the UK and the US, she is an expert in school matching for overseas education. She writes education columns for Sing Tao Daily and The Standard, and answers questions arising from parents and students patiently.

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