Q Should the exams authority revise security arrangements?
I am flabbergasted to learn that there is a repeat of loss of examination papers this year, notwithstanding the public outcry in past years and the Examination Board's avowed determination to be rid of this defect. Considering that personnel marking papers are all highly educated and supposedly responsible adults, I find this occurrence unacceptable.
It casts further light on whether the examination is carried out on a professional level worthy of the tremendous efforts put in by students, teachers and parents. If the markers take the marking exercise so cavalierly, what assurance do we have of their reliability to mark papers fairly and consistently to render the test results a valid benchmark of the students' ability? I am interested to know if there are safeguards to ensure markers are discharging their duties professionally and do not differ significantly in standards of marking.
When I took my HK Certificate of Education in the late 1960s, students were allocated to the same examination centres for all their subjects. Students this year are allocated to as many as five or six examination centres. This has added stress and inconvenience to students. The Examination Board has never attempted to shed any light on this aspect.
If good governance is the first priority of the new administration, I suggest the Education Bureau look at this issue and allows a high degree of transparency. Mundane issues such as this sometimes mean more to the general public than lofty ideals discussed in the Legislative Council.
T.C. Ng, North Point
It's worrying to see news about losing public exam papers, since the public exam is essential for any candidate and results may affect their future.
It's disappointing to see that the exam authority loses exam papers again and again. How can the authority treat candidates' efforts in this way?
The authority must revise security to ensure similar cases do not recur. It's unacceptable that such mistakes happen. The authority should realise that each exam paper is the evidence of candidates' efforts.
Ho Shuk-ying, Shun Lee Estate
Q How can the government support Cantonese opera?
Cantonese opera is one of the core representations of Chinese art and it is part of our culture. However, it is deteriorating.
The new generation shows little interest as they are influenced by the western wind. What makes it even worse is that the government does not give a helping hand when the business is dying.
To safeguard our culture the government should help youngsters understand more about the meaning and the stories behind the opera and let them know that Cantonese opera is not boring, time-consuming and old-fashioned. It can be fun too!
There could be Cantonese opera nights, school shows, talks, workshops, etc, to introduce this art to the new generation.
By letting more new blood into the world of Cantonese opera, it can be saved.
Kenneth To, Kwun Tong
Hong Kong is a multicultural city where different kinds of art can be found. However, one of the most traditional types of art, Cantonese opera, is reaching its worst period. Audience numbers have decreased to only several hundred per show. Thus there is a need for the government to take real action to support Cantonese opera.
The government should provide more opportunities for Canto-opera groups to perform shows in facilities like City Hall or the Cultural Centre, with a lower rental price. This may attract more audience members while showing that the government really supports the local art.
The government can educate younger groups of the importance of preserving the traditional art. This can also raise their interest in Cantonese opera.
The government should give real support to these groups by providing financial support.
Anthony Chan Ka-kit, Kwai Chung
On other matters ...
We would like to respond to Albert Tong's letter (Talkback, July 20) regarding passenger behaviour on escalators.
I would like to clarify that the MTR does not have a policy of asking passengers to stand on the right of escalators.
Rather, the corporation follows guidelines issued by the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department that no walking should be encouraged on escalators. This is aimed at ensuring a consistent message on escalator safety with the key priority of preventing unnecessary escalator accidents.
Passengers walking on escalators not only increase the risk of accidents for themselves, but may also affect the safety of other passengers.
Miranda Leung, MTR Corp
PCCW Now Broadband TV has surpassed itself with a level of incompetence I thought would have been impossible. I subscribed, at no small expense, to their cricket channel for what I stupidly assumed would be unlimited coverage of the most eagerly awaited cricket contest in recent times - the 2005 Ashes. Until yesterday I thoroughly enjoyed every minute.
While awaiting the thrilling climax of one of the most exciting Test matches of all time, I found myself watching the first morning's play in a meaningless New Zealand vs Zimbabwe contest. Surely Broadband weren't turning their back on the England and Australia Test at such a critical juncture? Alas, they were.
There can be no imaginable reason why Now Broadband TV would choose not to show the nail-biting climax of the 2nd Ashes Test. However, I would love to hear what reasoning they can give for making this absurd decision, as I could do with a good laugh right now.
Martin Lever, Stubbs Road