The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, December 22, 2006

No Feng Shui please

To the Editor:

We think it is highly inappropriate for the Carlisle Schools to be teaching Feng Shui as a part of either health or cultural education as was reported in last week's Mosquito. Mr. Fitzgerald is right in raising concerns, as common sense would dictate that it is wrong to be promoting superstition to our youth no matter from what culture it purports to have originated. Truth be told, most Chinese regard their orientations with respect to the "winds" and "waters" to have as much influence on their well-being as most Americans would the Zodiac signs of their births. We should no more welcome the teaching of Feng Shui than the teaching of astrology as a part of health education in our schools. Further, we would like to ask our teachers who visited China on the education exchange to inform our community on how much or little importance the people they encountered over there attach to Feng Shui in their daily lives. Surely there must be many other important aspects of the Chinese culture that are more worthwhile to introduce to our students.

Joseph and Dora Yu
Rutland Street

Writer surprised by Carlisle School teaching Feng Shui

To the Editor:

I was very surprised when I read last week's article, "Eighth-grade health class learns Feng Shui." I grew up in China; I went to school there and I spent almost 25 years living there. However, not once was Feng Shui taught in the school curriculum, nor was it ever considered a mainstream belief in Chinese culture. In fact, growing up in China, I can't remember anyone in my circle of acquaintances who believed in Feng Shui. I would describe the practice as a form of Chinese mysticism and I agree with Michael Fitzgerald that it would be best to present it at a high-school or collegiate level in the context of varying philosophies or even Chinese history. I certainly don't think that it is appropriate to present Feng Shui in the way that it was presented at Carlisle Public Schools. To make a comparison, it would be as if Scientology or New Age Philosophy were taught in health class — both of these modern philosophies have followers, but neither are mainstream and neither belong in a middle-school health class. I can think of a number of topics that would be more suitable including hygiene, nutrition, and exercise. I hope that in the future, Carlisle Public Schools will be more careful about what they expose our kids to.

Lili Pan
North Road

More on Feng Shui instruction at the Carlisle School

To the Editor:

In many civilizations, culture and religion can become integrated parts of the whole. Feng Shui, as an act "harmonizing the person withheavenly influences." And by referring to a mystical "Cosmic Breath" (both in capital,) qualifies itself as a "faith-based" activity of Chinese. As such, adopting it to a school's education program should be subject to the same laws and guidelines governing the decision on other faith-based information.

Chang-Li Hsieh
Litchfield Drive

Gift bags help Concord Prison inmates

To the Editor:

Concord Prison Outreach has completed its annual Holiday Gift Bag Project for MCI-Concord and the Northeastern Correctional Center. Some 1,700 bags were filled with toiletries and writing materials, ensuring that each inmate would receive a gift bag.

It is the support of faith communities and individuals from at least 14 towns that makes this possible each year. Kudos to: The West Concord 5 & 10 which sells most of the articles; Trinity Episcopal Church, Concord, which again allowed us to occupy their large undercroft room in which we received, sorted and finally packed into plastic bags all the gift items; Crosby Market for providing the bagel boxes in which to transport the gifts to the two prisons; the staff from the prisons who came to pick up the completed bags; the many donors of items and funds; the children and adults who created the hand-made holidays cards; those who signed cards for the inmates and to the cadre of people who showed up mornings for two weeks working tirelessly to put it all together.

This project began some 30 years ago with shoeboxes filled with items for the inmates at NCC in an effort to let them know that they were not forgotten. It grew to include the men "behind the wall" at MCI-Concord. The appreciation of and gratitude for these gift bags far outweighs their simple contents, bringing the awareness to the inmates that they are not forgotten and a ray of hope for their futures.

If you have questions about the project and how to become involved in it or would like to know more about Concord Prison Outreach and its many programs, please call Lenore James, Executive Director of C.P.O. at 1-978 369-1430.

Carol Miller and Beverly Duncan
Coordinators of The Holiday Gift Bag Project,
Oak Hill Circle, Concord

Thanks for town's generosity

To the Editor:

Keystone Hall would like to extend our thanks and gratitude to the Town of Carlisle employees and Carlisle residents who have made "in kind" donations to our clients over the past few months.

The staff and clients are very grateful for your demonstration of kindness and generosity; especially at this time of year.

We wish you all a very joyous, peaceful, happy holiday season.

Gail A. Duffany
Administrative Assisitant

Ed. note: Gail is the wife of Peter Duffany, building maintenance person for Carlisle's Town Hall. They reside in Nashua, N.H. Keystone Hall is part of the Greater Nashua Council on Alcoholism, Inc.

2006 The Carlisle Mosquito