States told me that the United States is a paradise for children because of light homework, the absence of physical punishment in school, and easy entrance into college.''83 To children of workers and small businessmen, however, the prospects are less than paradisiacal. Their parents often know little English and their working hours keep them apart from their children. Especially for older children, school progress is grinding, 84 Class factors play a large role among the Taiwanese immigrants. 85
The educational histories of Hong Kong and Taiwan underscore the deleterious effect of colonialism. Although in both cases the imperialist power introduced modern schooling, it was presented as a privilege for a chosen few and as a near- charade for the many. The resulting system produced highly unequal results. Advanced schooling was a taunt rather than an opportunity.
A free, compulsory, common-school system did not yet exist in Britain when Hong Kong became a colony, nor in Japan when Taiwan was first colonized. At no time before 1945 were educational opportunities in Hong Kong or Taiwan anywhere near what they were in Britain or Japan. That one or the other of the colonies was more extensively schooled at any given time was due to varying needs of the colonizing power. As was pointed out earlier, the Japanese integrated Taiwan much more into its home affairs than did Britain with Hong Kong. To that extent, schooling served as an imperial imperative, especially in Taiwan. Throughout the 19th century, on the other hand, mass schooling in Hong Kong was neither an economic or a strategic imperative.