Empathy – What, How, and Why for a Better Understanding of this Shift in Perspective

To start a productive discussion–ideas are first born in the mind and then become food for thought that can be digested in public in fruitful exchanges–let me begin this article on empathy with a multiple-choice question. According to the experts, which option below is the most empathic response?
If you hear that a colleague is getting bad results at school because of a hard phase he/she is going through, what are your thoughts?
a. This person does not know how to establish priorities.
b. Oh, poor thing! What can I do to help?
c. It might someday happen to any of us.
d. It is none of my business. I barely know this person.

The English Alphabet is Not “as Easy as ABC”

In Hong Kong it is not uncommon for the written English script to be described in a derogatory way by its school-aged Chinese learners. They describe it as looking like “ugly worms” or “chicken guts.” No doubt there are other labels, but these are the ones that my secondary-school students were willing to share with me. One Chinese teaching colleague, newly returned from a self-driving holiday in Europe, told me that he had developed “alphabet headaches” from all the road signs that he was obliged to read.