Monday, June 22, 2009


Recently in Hong Kong, the government wanted to convert an old secondary school in Mui Wo, a rural town in Lantau, into a rehabilitation school for drug addict children. The school has been abandoned for quite a few years since it was closed down due to a lack of number of students. It has caused quite a reaction amongst the local resident of the town. The local residents are against the conversion, saying that they are not opposed to having drug addicts in the neighbourhood but they have stated they want the local secondary school to be revived.

That is all good... if you really mean it. However the residents have reacted quite violently to the moving of the drug addict rehabilitation school to their area. They haven't been vocal for a local secondary school until the news that the moving of a drug recovery school was announced, now they say they want their old school to be revived. And why haven't we heard them being more vocal when the school was closed down in the first place?

What really swayed me that the local Mui Wo residents didn't really want drug addicts in their area was when they shouted during the consultation meetings, "We don't was drug addicts in our area" not "We want a secondary school for local children".

It is a classic case of NIMBY syndrome or Not In My Back Yard. Typically it is for building of new facilities in rural areas but it can be applied in this case. Everybody was in favour of expanding the drug rehabilitation school into other areas, due to overcrowding. Yet when they hear it is in their area, they immediately make excuses of why it shouldn't be in their area or they don't want it in their back yard. It is often apply to other members of society. We all in favour of reforming child molesters or the mentally ill, but when we get wind they live next to us or work in areas we visit frequently, we become uneasy with that idea.

Somebody has to have a drug rehabilitation school in their area. They just have to stick with the idea.

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