Saturday, February 22, 2014

Marathon and social cohesion

The marathon is one of the few things that most people in Hong Kong seem to agree on.  Yes, there are a few complaints about the noise and the closing of roads.  But by and large most people seem to think it is a good thing, and want it to go on.  The number of participants keep going up, and each year thousands of people are turned away.  

For half a day, the rich and the poor, the left and the right, Hongkongers and mainlanders, young and old, Communists and capitalists, …, run, drink water and sports drinks, eat banana and chocolate side-by-side. If only there are more occasions such as these in Hong Kong. 

In our service-learning class on Saturday before marathon day, we were discussing diversity in our society: religion, race, language, culture, wealth, …  We naturally associate with people that are like us.  But that would destroy social cohesion, and lead to bias, discrimination, and worse.  One way to improve social cohesion is for us to cross the boundaries to interact with people from the other side.  In a small way, the marathon does that.  If a government cares about social cohesion, it would encourage and organise more of such activities. 

In our own way, out service-learning projects also do that.  

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