PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 04 September, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 04 September, 2007, 12:00am

Should the media leave the 14-year-old gifted student alone?

The pressure that the gifted girl Ho Hoi-lam is shouldering must be enormous.

She has had to give several interviews, and this is not something that is generally expected of a child.

She says she is just a normal 14-year-old. I think what she really means by that is that she wants to have her life back and be allowed to get on with her studies, free from the glare of the spotlight.

Most people will have been happy for her and the brilliant exam results she has achieved. However, now it is time for us to leave her alone, rather than watch everything she does. If she continues to have to live under the glare of constant publicity, I think this could create difficulties for her.

Ho Hin-yui, Sau Mau Ping

Since her Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination results were published, there has been a lot of media attention on Ho Hoi-lam.

She feels that the media attention has been too much. As the summer holidays are almost over, it is time for us to let this girl lead a normal life.

Shirley Chow, Kwun Tong

The 14-year-old girl who is going to university has been a subject of discussion in media. She has appeared on television. However, now I think it is time to leave her alone.

The media has put her under too much pressure, and her decision to go to university has been the topic of a great deal of discussion and debate.

Ho Hoi-lam may be going to university, but she is still just a child.

The media should leave her to adapt to her new environment at university.

Ho Chung-ting, Tseung Kwan O

Do gifted pupils need legal protection?

I can hardly believe that an education expert has urged the drafting of a law to 'enforce the educational rights of exceptionally talented youngsters' ('Law for talented children urged', August 25).

Helen Yu Ku Siu-yin, of all people, should be aware that differences in learning behaviours are extremely hard to define, let alone measure reliably enough to enshrine in a legal document. Let's not forget that Hong Kong has struggled for a decade to draw up a law against racial discrimination.

In some way or other, every one of us has our own unique set of learning behaviours. Don't we all have 'educational rights'?

It is incumbent on the education system to provide class sizes that are small enough for teachers to make accommodation and adjustments for most of these differences. When children display exceptional differences, it is also the responsibility of the school system to provide support.

Hong Kong's rigid, one-size-fits-all education machine does very little to even acknowledge children's individuality, let alone allow for the development of variable classroom routines that would cater for a wider range of learning styles.

We don't need laws to help children who are exceptional. We need smaller classes, flexible curriculums and assessment methods, fully trained teachers and a wider array of on-call learning support services.

Pauline Bunce, Chai Wan

What do you think of pay-TV services?

Cable TV refuses to accept service termination requests via its customer service hotline, despite the subscriber being able to provide all the details that would be sufficient to make any other change to the subscription.

Cable TV insists that service is terminated at the end of the billing period subsequent to that in which notice is given. Surely, stopping a signal from reaching a subscriber requires only a few clicks of a mouse, so I fail to see why it cannot be terminated immediately, or at least within a few days.

After returning the decoder, I expected to be refunded my deposit within a reasonable time. However, I received a statement a month after termination of the signal finally occurred informing me that my deposit was being held as 'credit' in my 'account', as if I would somehow want to maintain an account with a provider whose services in which I was not interested.

On calling the hotline, I was then informed that I would have to wait six to eight weeks for a cheque to be issued.

The procedure for terminating Cable TV service and returning a deposit is very inconvenient for subscribers, and the time required is wholly unreasonable. I estimate that a minimum of 4? months is required from the date the subscription termination request is faxed through to the return of the deposit.

I consider this to be utterly unreasonable, and the whole process appears designed to discourage termination and retain customer deposits for as long as possible.

Geoff Carey, Yuen Long

On other matters...

We refer to the letter from Thomas Won regarding Citybus Route 780 (Talkback, August 25).

According to the present traffic regulations of the location mentioned, vehicles running on Harcourt Road outside Admiralty Centre are prohibited from an immediate right turn into the lane of Connaught Road Central.

Therefore, the routing of No 780, running via Cotton Tree Drive, Lambeth Walk, Chater Road and Jackson Road, is the only way from Admiralty Centre to Statue Square. As such, we have to maintain the arrangements.

Should Mr Won have any other comments, he is welcome to contact me on 2136 2180 or Debbie Ho, our senior public affairs officer, on 2136 2775.

Beatrice Wong, public affairs manager, Citybus Limited

McDonald's restaurants do not allow a seat to be occupied without an order for food or drink. This is a good rule as it deters non-eating newspaper readers and gossipmongers from coming in.

However, the many children who visit McDonald's should be stopped from running around in the restaurants.

These children seem to think that McDonald's is a good place to play hide-and-seek. They also find the seats useful for jumping on, to the annoyance of other diners.

It is even worse when a diner, holding a tray of food, is bumped into by one child trying to catch another one.

Wouldn't it be feasible to prohibit children from playing? If parents do not or cannot control the bad behaviour of their offspring, then a restaurant rule would be a good reminder, and also an asset to other customers.

P. Souza, Tai Po