PUBLISHED : Saturday, 02 February, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 02 February, 2008, 12:00am

Is the sex education curriculum outdated?

Statistics show that in more liberal societies, such as Sweden and the Netherlands, teenage pregnancies and abortions are much lower than in, for example, the United States.

Adolescents start having sex later as well. I quote from a study by the Guttmacher Institute: 'The adolescent pregnancy rate in the United States, for example, is nearly twice that in Canada and Great Britain and approximately four times that in France and Sweden.' This is due to the fact that 'sexually active teens in the United States are less likely to use any contraceptive method and especially less likely to use highly effective hormonal methods, primarily the pill, than their peers in other countries'.

The report also concludes that the promotion of abstinence in the US has had little impact on teenage pregnancies. Teenagers are bound to experiment with sex and there's nothing wrong with that. They should be educated on how to protect themselves.

To promote the notion that sex is something 'holy' that should only take place within a marriage is unhelpful and leads to unrealistic expectations.

As to the idea that having premarital sex leads to low-quality relationships and parenthood, it has to be said that the United States is also leading the world in divorce rates.

Josephine Bersee, Mid-Levels

Nowadays the media is full of sexual misinformation and stereotypes. It is impossible for someone to shut out all this material completely.

Understandably, teenagers become more curious and open-minded about sex as they grow up.

Yet there has been hardly any progress in the sex education curriculum. Very often, all sex education amounts to is a one-off talk at an assembly. The information provided is often superficial, and no attempt is made to promote a good attitude towards sex.

The curriculum, therefore, has to be reviewed swiftly so as to fit in with the society in which we live.

A more comprehensive programme of sex education is essential to prevent teenage pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. For starters, teachers or tutors should no longer avoid talking about contraceptive methods.

Instead, they should help young people acquire a deeper understanding of the concept of contraception, such as the use of condoms. They must emphasise the importance of safe sex. The aim of providing such information is not to encourage adolescent sex but to cultivate a sense of responsibility among teenagers when it comes to sex.

Reluctance to talk about the issue will not curb teenagers' curiosity about sex. Only with adequate and effective sex education can young people adopt a responsible attitude towards sex.

Kwong Chit, Kwai Chung

Should companies have to get approval to raise prices?

The implementation of a competition law, which exists in Taiwan and South Korea, is a trend that Hong Kong should follow.

Such legislation has many benefits. It can lead to lower inflation, because inflation can be affected by lack of competition. Such a law also gives better protection to consumers. What is needed are new rules which regulate business in Hong Kong and which can stimulate fair and positive competition among entrepreneurs. This could ensure prices remained reasonable and would encourage product innovation and give greater choice to residents.

Various groups representing the food industry have expressed concerns that a competition law might only benefit the big companies ('Food industry groups fear tough approach over competition law', January 31). However, I do not agree. The fundamental purpose of the government's proposed policy is to stop monopolies and create a fairer trading environment. The government will not ban all price increases requested by businessmen, but only put a block on unaffordable increases in the price of commodities.

It has been argued that government intervention might delay a firm's ability to make the necessary adjustments in response to market changes. However, as long as the system is operated efficiently by officials, losses to local business owners can be minimised.

Candy Tze, Tsing Yi

Should the artificial beach at Tolo Harbour go ahead?

I am shocked that the government wants to repeat its mistakes. It has destroyed some of Hong Kong's heritage sites, and now it is doing much the same thing with this proposal to create a man-made beach at Lung Mei in Tolo Harbour.

Those of us who value our natural environment feel this project will not only harm the biodiversity in that area, but also have a lasting and cumulative impact. Several species will no longer inhabit that area of Tolo Harbour and this will seriously affect the whole ecosystem. The argument that Lung Mei has no ecological value is ridiculous.

Also, the HK$130 million project is a waste of time and money. The government says the beach will be a tourist attraction. In fact, most people, including residents in Tai Po, would prefer to have a large natural beach rather than a small artificial one.

It is high time some of the budget surplus was spent on improving our city, not destroying it.

Bobby Li, North Point

On other matters...

I would like to know what environmental impact studies have been undertaken (and the results) by the Jockey Club, with respect to the proposed redevelopment of the Central Police Station site. Anyone who works or frequents this area can attest to the fact that traffic is already a nightmare. To suggest that a high-rise be built on this site is ludicrous, as the accompanying density in traffic cannot be supported.

In conjunction with this I would also like to ask the police why they fail, day after day, to enforce the no-parking regulations on the south side of Arbuthnot Road, which is next to the Central Police Station site. In spite of the fact that there is no parking permitted, there is an average of around 10 cars parked there every afternoon. Traffic is then reduced to one lane and is backed up in both directions on Arbuthnot Road.

The combination of the idling, illegally parked vehicles and the traffic congestion creates an insufferable wall of exhaust fumes. I routinely call to complain that cars are illegally parked. The only result is that a policeman will sometimes come by and ask the cars to move. They do, and then return to the spot once the officer has left.

Why are summonses not being written? Surely it would deter illegal parking.

Christine Houston, Central