My son doesn't like his new school. It's a Chinese Immersion Program. 50% of school is taught in English, the other in Mandarin.
All the reasons he doesn't like the school are more than reasonable. There is no grass, the playground is small, he misses his friends from our Neighbourhood school, kids he grew up with. A number of kids in his class now, are very disruptive. Things six years old care about.
The only reason he is there is because it teaches him Chinese. He will learn to read and write Mandarin. There are studies after studies that say that bi-lingual education far improves self-confidence, the ability to think, problem solve, socially more empathetic and be better communicators.
But as the Umbrella Movement continues, and I read more and more about the conflicts between Mandarin and Cantonese languages and culture that spurs the protests which truly resonates with me.
I wonder, Why is my son missing out on a school he can scoot his Razor to every day? Why do I drive him somewhere else. Which means he spends less time on the tree lined streets. With kids whose family has the same expectations as I do?
For what? For a language of Hong Kong's rulers. For a language that I know is not mine. When he speaks to me in Mandarin, there is a pang that he does not reply in the boisterous, loud, bold, laughing, sarcastic tones of Cantonese, or as I lately have called "Hong Kongnese."
It's odd that a month ago, I was so utterly enthused by him learning "Chinese." A month later, I am not so sure if I am even Chinese. I am a Hong Kong Person with Hong Kong dreams.
And my former wish that he has an opportunity to return to "My Motherland" fills me more with fear and sadness than pride.
I have been showing him pictures of the protests, I am considering taking him home for us both to be amidst the yellow umbrellas.
So does it matter that he speaks Mandarin? Do I care anymore?
I don't know.
But I do know, I care a lot about my home. I now realize I can love Hong Kong without bowing to China. I doubt my son would feel the same, he is American after all. But he will know there is no doubt his mother is a Hong Kong person. She dreams the Hong Kong dreams.