PUBLISHED : Saturday, 22 November, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 22 November, 2008, 12:00am

Should poor families receive subsidies for extra-curricular activities?

There should be financial help but another arrangement would be preferable to granting subsidies.

Schools, especially primary schools, keep saying they want well-rounded children, not just bookworms.

They do not just want pupils to focus exclusively on their studies, but also to take part in sport, music, art and other activities.

However, allowing their children to take part in all these activities can place a heavy burden on poor families.

If these students are not able to enjoy this all-round development, they might experience difficulties later.

They might have difficulty getting a good job and remain poor, caught in a vicious circle.

Extra-curricular activities can help young people find themselves. Such activities can help them to find what interests them and help them decide what they want to study and what their goals are.

They play a crucial part in development.

Instead of giving subsidies to poor families, the government could provide more financial aid to schools and the fees for poor families could be waived.

Denise Tam, Kowloon Bay

The price of everything is rising. Poor families simply cannot afford to pay for extra-curricular activities for their children. Some people would argue that in that case the children should not be allowed to take part in such activities. However, even if the families are struggling financially, the children should be allowed to take part in after-school programmes.

Teenagers should not be stopped from pursuing their interests. It is often the case that youngsters from poor families are harder working than students from a well-off background.

This is because they have less free time and so they must properly use the study time that is available to them.

I am sure that if they were able to join in extra-curricular activities they would make full use of the opportunities on offer.

So poor families should receive subsidies for extra-curricular activities. These subsidies should also apply to families that were well off but have now fallen on hard times.

It might be that a youngster from such a family showed musical talent, but had to abandon piano lessons because their family could no longer afford them.

It would be such a pity and subsidies should be available so the youngster could continue these lessons.

Getting involved in after-school activities can help students achieve their potential.

This will help them when they are looking for work and it will also help society.

Leung Chi-hung, Tin Shui Wai

What do you think of a rise in licence fees for older vehicles?

I do not support the policy of increasing licence fees for older vehicles in Hong Kong.

If the fees are increased ('Fees for older vehicles may rise', November 19), some drivers might not be able to afford them. This could undermine the whole purpose of the fee rise, which has happened in the past.

The government has done a good job at getting the message across to drivers about the importance of switching to new vehicles, 'to encourage the replacement of polluting vehicles older than 15 years'.

Therefore if the fee was increased for older vehicles, it would not encourage motorists to switch to newer models.

If the fees went up the government would receive a lot of complaints.

Officials should listen to drivers before deciding what to do on this matter.

Crystal Li Ching-chi, Kowloon Bay

On other matters ...

In May, I purchased a Phillips DVD recorder from Tai Lin Radio Services.

It did not work and so the store agreed to take it back and either repair it or get me a new one. I dropped it back at the IFC Mall.

When I got back from my holidays, I learned that Tai Lin had gone under and Ernst and Young was the (provisional) liquidator.

I pursued Ernst and Young to try to retrieve my DVD from the IFC store.

I faxed all Ta Lin receipts and Visa card receipts and statements to the liquidator and after a few weeks was told I was out of luck. So you can imagine my anger when I read of a clearance sale of Tai Lin stock at one of its outlets ('Bargain-hunters snap up clearance sale tickets', November 15).

I am at a loss to understand how my DVD player can be sold off when it is legally still mine.

Any advice on how I can get my HK$2,780 back would be appreciated.

Julie Peel, Sai Kung

The attendances at our annual Rugby Sevens as well as the recent almost full house for the Australia vs New Zealand game demonstrate the popularity of rugby in Hong Kong.

However, apart from Pearl TV's broadcast, those of us that are unable to physically attend games have been starved of rugby this season.

In previous years, ESPN/Star Sports have given us good coverage. I e-mailed and telephoned Singapore on three occasions to find out if another company has the broadcasting rights, but it has ignored my calls.

There are some wonderful matches between northern and southern hemisphere sides taking place and the Six Nations tournament will start shortly.

I appeal to anybody in the entertainment industry who can help to get our beloved game back on our screens.

John Wilson, Yau Ma Tei

We refer to Marcus Thomson's complaint (Talkback, November 15) regarding our mishandling of his service termination request. We have since completed the related procedures and apologised to him for the inconvenience.

Garmen K.Y. Chan, vice-president, external affairs, Cable TV