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  William Vocke    Special to The China Post
With 20 minutes before the dismissal bell in a class last Monday, a senior in the back row raised his hand and wondered if he could ask a question unrelated to our course. I gave him the green light, and he said he wanted to know if I had anything to say about the shooting incident a few days earlier at Sandy Hill Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
Local news events continue to crop up which give us valuable opportunities to contemplate the role of civility in both public and private lives.
It is not necessary to offer a complete chronology of what led to the dramatic confrontation last week in the national legislature between a student activist from Tsinghua National University and the Minister of Education. A quick sketch might however be useful.
The China Post carried a report from Reuters Singapore this week about two groups of “China bus drivers,” 259 in all, who went on strike a few days ago for 24 hour periods in protest of their working conditions (11-29-12 p. 13).
My Thursday afternoons follow a routine I rarely break. By 3 o'clock or so I am ready to tackle this weekly votive offering for page 4. If I feel the need, I grab a quick nap first. If not, it's a cup of coffee that I grab as I head to the computer screen.
Last Sunday's local English press reported on still another of those upsetting surveys among our youth. The Taiwan Fund for Children and Families conducted the study in the months of September and October, asking our teens to respond to statements about pressure in their lives.
Among the more useful pieces of advice we've all heard is the one about topics to avoid in conversation. You know what I mean: religion and politics.
A news story about a 20-year-old Brazilian woman auctioning off her virginity for a documentary filmmaker in exchange for US$780,000 drew midsized headlines in The China Post shortly over a week ago. I spend several hours a week in the presence of some 230 women students in the neighborhood of 20 years old.
There is nothing like a good old-fashioned bird-brained idea to spark not simply controversy, but a bit of contemplation as well.
Making comparisons is always a risky undertaking. The old adage not to compare apples with oranges makes a lot of sense. It is hard to argue against that advice. Apples and oranges may both be fruits, but that's about all they have in common.
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