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PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 May, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 21 May, 2004, 12:00am
 

Q How should we deal with school and campus violence?


News about school violence seems to be off the agenda, but this does not mean that the government has handled matters promptly and properly, or that campus violence has disappeared.


A few days ago, my brother became the victim of school violence. He is studying in a government primary school and is a junior prefect. When he asked a schoolmate to behave properly, the boy beat him. What surprised me most was that when my brother told his teacher, she turned a deaf ear and asked him to put up with it.


This exposes the failure of the present school management, which is unwilling to deal with even minor cases, perhaps out of the fear of ruining the school's reputation or hurting the confidence of parents.


Forming school management committees with teachers and parents would not only cater to students' needs and enhance the effective allocation of resources, but also act as a means to develop a sense of ownership and belonging among teachers and parents, who will then become more enthusiastic about improving the school management.


School management is out of touch with the times. We should learn from Canada, the United States and Australia and increase the transparency of school management by including teachers and parents on committees.


Cheung Wing-yin, Kwun Tong


Q Should Prince of Wales Hospital be rebuilt or refurbished?


The design of all major hospitals shares one basic problem - once designed, they take some three years to build. The client and the designers must decide on the design strategy.


Do they freeze it at the date the construction starts, which, given the steady advance of medical science, will result to some extent in a hospital that is already obsolete when it opens?


Or do they update the design as they go along, to meet the standards of the day, which will bring chaos to any construction plan?


If my memory serves correctly, the Prince of Wales structural layout was based on an existing hospital, but with a major difference - it included for the first time - central air-conditioning inside false ceilings which also incorporated the full range of other necessary services.


The strategy that emerged was to upgrade the design as the enforced changes arose. The operating theatres were substantially redesigned at a very late stage, because, I believe, the surgeons insisted on the latest standards.


Many other elements also changed towards the end of the construction period.


It seems very likely that the hospital is increasingly out of date and beyond hygienically patching and mending to achieve modern-day standards.


Peter Berry, Lamma


Q Should online brothels be outlawed?


Prostitution is already legal in Hong Kong. It is pimping which is illegal. We should leave it that way. There is nothing stopping individual sex workers from organising co-operatives, or the government from requiring individual licences for those who work under our 'one girl, one room' laws in order to protect sex workers' health.


Legalising pimping or brothels, however, would only mean that even more girls will have their lives destroyed by pimps who think of rape and other forms of violent intimidation and abuse as recruitment tools. We should leave our sex-worker laws as they are and prosecute the exploitative pimps.


Annelise Connell, Mid-Levels


On other matters ...


This week, I was on a KMB bus, route number 68M, from Tsuen Wan to Yuen Long, and something made me feel very dissatisfied. When the bus entered Yuen Long, it suddenly stopped in the centre of a busy road. The road was calm, but the bus remained in the centre of the road for more than 15 minutes.


The police arrived and helped solve the traffic jam. Five minutes later, the bus moved. However, it did not go to the bus stop but parked beside a footpath. Another five minutes passed, and the remaining passengers on the upper deck started to move downstairs.


Until that point, the bus captain had not said whether the bus would finish its journey. He had not even mentioned what was going on. There should have been a much better response to the incident, showing care for passengers.


Yeung Chun-wing, Tsuen Wan


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