talk back

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 29 July, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 29 July, 2006, 12:00am

Q Should sex education be part of the formal school curriculum?

Sex education should always be part of the formal school curriculum. Without proper sex education, how can there be any hope of stopping, or at least reducing to a minimum, the risk of sexually transmitted diseases, or preventing teenage pregnancies?

Some may say that it is not the school's duty to educate students about sex, that it should come from home, but how often does that really happen? Parents are either too embarrassed to say anything about it, or they are in denial about their children growing up. On the other hand, it is easy for schools to integrate sex education into their science programmes.

Ultimately, sex education is learning about looking after yourself and taking responsibility for your actions, and what could be more important than that?

Teenagers who want to will have sex no matter what anyone says, but the hope is that armed with sufficient knowledge, they will practise it safely.

Jessica Shia, Tai Hang

People always suggest that social problems such as casual sex, drug abuse and gambling should be an integral part of the formal school curriculum, or even compulsory subjects in school. But can it really help? When many adults are heavily engaged in such 'evil' practices, can we expect our young people to be 'pure'?

By making that suggestion, members of the public, especially parents, are simply handing their responsibilities to schools. As a matter of fact, all schools have already been teaching children about these social problems for years. Education should not be confined to schools, but extended to families and the wider community.

Cheung King-kwan, Kwun Tong

Q How can teenage drug abuse be reduced?

There is hardly anything more tragic than the death of a child, and my sympathy goes out to the parents and other family members of Chek Wai-yin.

If the press reports are accurate, it seems Wai-yin went to a disco about 1am in the company of a 20-year-old female friend and stayed there until shortly before dawn. What on earth was a 13-year-old doing out - and at a place where drugs would generally be expected to be available - at that time of night.

And what on earth was her 20-year-old 'friend' doing taking her to such a place at such a time. It says a lot to me about family values - or the lack of them - in today's society.

Drugs will always be available if there are those willing to buy them. If the discos (and other such establishments) are breaking the law, they should be shut down. No alternative.

A Post report said that whenever there is a police raid, the establishments' operators 'ask under-age clients to flee'. If that is a successful ploy to avoid prosecution, it suggests the police are not exactly serious in planning or executing their raids.

I think some serious questions need to be asked - of the disco operator and the 20-year-old friend.

And I think some serious counselling needs to be given to the bereaved family, and to other families who might find themselves in a similar situation.

Tony Cook, Hunghom

Most young people take drugs because they want to escape from the reality where annoying matters exist and be in a high mood to have an exciting dancing experience.

Adolescents are at a stage of growing and exploring. They are curious about the outside world, so they want to try everything that appears to be funny and innovative. Going to rave parties and taking drugs may be one of these interesting things.

Most parents stop them from doing so by scolding them, while a vicious circle in which their relationship becomes worse is created.

The young ones think their parents don't understand them and that their advice is not practical. They think they belong to the youth group and that they should always engage in energetic activities to avoid being isolated or looked down upon by others. Parents think their children are rebellious and call them 'bad boys' and 'bad girls'.

Though peer pressure is one of the causes making teenagers try drugs, a lack of family support also plays a big part. If young people feel easy with their family, they will not spend most of their time hopping through pubs and bars meeting drug dealers.

Parents always blame the government for not providing enough education for teenagers, but have they shouldered the responsibility of taking care of their children by devoting time to their family? And teenagers themselves, do they still have their duties in mind?

Lau Pik-ha, Ngau Tau Kok

Q Should minibus drivers face tougher regulations?

Of course minibus drivers should face tougher regulations. Because of accidents over the past few years, the government and society should be alert to this problem.

However, it seems so unfair that only minibus drivers have to face tougher regulations. I suggest that drivers of all public vehicles (buses, taxis) should face tougher regulations.

I cannot agree more with the Hong Kong and Kowloon Public Light Bus Drivers' Union, which says the government should require drivers to pass an additional exam to get their licence, and that they should be specially tested on their driving attitudes.

However, to execute this is quite an arduous task as there are so many public vehicle drivers all over Hong Kong. Tougher regulations would save lives.

Wong Tsz Shuen, Ngau Chi Wan

Before making tougher regulations for minibus drivers, we should ponder why they like to drive at breakneck speeds. Under keen competition from the MTR, buses and taxis, the number of minibus passengers has dwindled over the past few years.

The drivers can only make ends meet after tediously driving long hours every day. To earn more, those drivers increase the frequency of their schedule by breaking the speed limit.

Tougher regulations would just make the lives of minibus drivers more miserable and difficult.

Gabriel Siu, Shekkipmei

Two more teenagers are dead. Two more families are broken. A few more lines in the newspapers.

On Saturday night in Sai Kung there could have been three young lives lost. Our green minibus (1A) was, as usual, going fast all the way from Choi Hung to Sai Kung (80km/h), racing with two red minibuses. It was just another grand prix for our driver. We nearly collided with a bus, then with a car.

Suddenly, our driver decided to pick up one of his colleagues on the roadside and braked. There was just enough time for two motorcycles to stop behind us, but not enough for another red minibus behind them. That minibus squeezed the motorcycles against the back of our minibus.

Nobody was hurt, just two motorcycles destroyed, two minibuses damaged, and three young guys in shock. For our driver, it was no more than usual.

It would be so easy to put undercover officers on all the main routes to take action, in just the same way the Independent Commission Against Corruption did with graft many years ago. It is a matter of will, and it could take only a few weeks to end this circus.

Everyone has known for years that minibuses are racing and jumping red lights at night on King's Road, but a deadly accident was needed to prompt action. So please, let's finally take real action - at least in the memory of those two dead teenagers.

New seatbelts in minibuses are fine, but would it be wiser to screen out dangerous drivers first?

Christian Pilard, Sai Kung