talk back

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 14 March, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 14 March, 2006, 12:00am

Q Should a maximum limit be set for teachers' working hours - and how many?

Instead of maximum work hours, which is almost impossible to monitor, how about maximum student-class hours - say 100 hours per teacher. So for an average of 40 students a class, the teacher will have no more than 2.5 hours of class time a day, or for a more civilised 25-student class, four hours of class time a day.

And for each extra-curricular activity, from basketball coaching to the English-debating team, from the Chinese calligraphy club to the Saturday morning tutoring session, there will be a stipend, set competitively to ensure interest. Teachers compete for the extra duty sponsorship as they do their regular job, on the basis of their own available time, as they see fit.

This is the way the civilised world does it. It's high time the Hong Kong education system joined the rest of the world.

David Auyeung, Sha Tin

Q Should penalties for cruelty to animals be increased?

I think the government should make changes to the animal cruelty ordinance. A maximum of six months' imprisonment and a $5,000 fine is definitely not sufficient to deter lawbreakers.

People who inflict cruelty and violence on animals have psychological problems. I would suggest a much harsher sentence. A minimum of one year's imprisonment should be introduced, along with a minimum fine of $5,000.

Psychological treatment should also be offered to lawbreakers.

Daphne Tong

Q Is it a good idea for post offices to perform some bank functions?

When the post offices were first set up, they were intended only for postal services. But Hongkong Post has been adding non-postal services over the years.

I think it would be a good idea for post offices to perform some bank duties because, as there are no free lunches in the world, the banks will have to pay some transaction costs to Hongkong Post and it is likely that Hongkong Post can boost revenue by having such strong financial partners.

Besides, Hongkong Post can play a more vital civic role. Nowadays, people have switched from sending letters to writing e-mails. Offering all-round services is the only way to survive.

Post offices have already provided us with utility-bill payment services, so why not add one more service that the banks don't want to perform anymore? Such bank services are especially helpful for the elderly.

Joanna Yeung, Kowloon City

Q Do you think Hong Kong's roads are safe?

I want to express condolences to the families of the two brothers and their friend who were killed in a car crash in Lok Ma Chau on March 2. Hong Kong's roads are not safe.

Traffic penalties should be increased; bigger speed limit signs should be displayed; there should be more patrols by traffic police; there should be more TV campaigns to educate the public on road safety; there should be shorter licence renewal periods (driver's licences are good for 10 years - that's too long); and any road diversions and changes need to be better scrutinised before being approved.

T. Matsumoto, Fo Tan

On other matters ...

I picked up my South China Morning Post yesterday morning and was shocked to discover that Disneyland management was interested in taking responsibility for handling queue-jumping and similar disturbances instead of calling the police. So what's the problem?

Actually there are two issues. One is that almost anywhere else in the world the police would not be expected to handle queue-jumping in an amusement park. The other is what appears to be a power struggle between government employees and Disneyland management over how situations should be handled.

The government people want a free hand. Disney wants to keep disruption of other guests in the park to a minimum.

I must say, I agree with Disneyland. If I was having a party, I wouldn't want the police to come charging in if one of my guests was rowdy.

So why has the Post given so much space to the disagreement, including an editorial very critical of Disney's position? Based on a few unattributed comments, they imply that Disney is putting its image ahead of people's safety. Based on what I read, there is no reason to believe this is what Disney is doing.

I believe there is a broader problem with the Post's handling of this and every other Disney-related issue. They love to bash Disney. I have not read one complimentary article about Disney in the Post in the past three months, only negative articles and chastising editorials.

Is it because they are such an easy target?

I didn't see any editorials when poor planning at the Hyatt close-out sale created a riot that required the Police Tactical Unit to be deployed. I haven't seen any stories about Ocean Park's problems.

I guess it's just easier to go after Disneyland than to do some real investigative reporting on the many serious issues facing the city.

Ed Hahn, Central