PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 17 May, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 17 May, 2011, 12:00am


Young artists need affordable studios

It is hard for creative people to rent good studio space in Hong Kong. In the 1980s, much of Hong Kong's manufacturing moved to the mainland so many vacant factory buildings were available at affordable rents. These attracted many artists, which contributed to the development of art in Hong Kong.

Now, because of soaring property prices, local artists have taken to the streets to protest against the government's plan to revitalise industrial buildings for commercial use. They say this has led to speculation, driving up rents beyond the means of local artists.

Without studio space, many of these artists will be pushed out of Hong Kong, which will hinder the development of the local arts scene.

The government says it wants to develop 'creative industries' in Hong Kong. But this will not happen without government help, such as education and grants.

The government could really help by providing affordable studio space for local artists. People should be encouraged to be more creative and to show a greater interest in art. This will boost our cultural life and make Hong Kong more beautiful.

Natalie Wong Hoi-yi

Children should respect others

Hong Kong children rely too much on their parents and domestic helpers, and some behave badly.

They copy their homework and assignments from the internet. Many spoilt kids also do not show respect to their teachers. Some call the teachers by their first names, or make jokes or laugh at them. Parents even defend some children who have done something wrong.

Many well-off families with domestic helpers are more likely to spoil their kids, who rarely do housework. Parents should train children to be independent and to respect others.

Chu Cheuk-yan, Maryknoll Fathers' School

Employees should not ask for too much

A minimum wage law is crucial and very beneficial, but only when all parties have had thorough and well-rounded negotiations.

There have been conflicts between trade unions and employers about the inclusion of paid rest days and lunch breaks. I think trade unions are expecting too much from employers. The rights of employees to get paid for their efforts should be respected, but we cannot just focus on the poor and ignore the employers.

Following the price increase of raw materials, the introduction of the minimum wage means production costs will rise further. Some big firms may be able to cope with a steep rise in expenditure. But it might hit small- and medium-scale enterprises much harder. If these companies are required to pay for rest days and lunch breaks, they may be forced to shut down due to high costs.

I am not saying that offering paid rest days and lunch breaks is wrong. However, whether it is possible or not depends a lot on the financial situation of a particular firm.

The only way to cope with these differences of opinion is through discussion between the two parties.

Minnie Poon Kin-kwan

How power can create monsters

The crimes committed by the Khmer Rouge in the late 1970s at the Tuol Sleng, or S-21, torture centre in Cambodia, were terrible. The centre is now a museum to remind everyone of this horrifying period in history, and acts as a warning of what happens when violence is used to solve problems.

The man in charge of torturing and killing thousands of prisoners at S-21, Kang Khek Iev (or 'Comrade Duch') gave himself up in 1999. He was held in detention for eight years before being put on trial by a United Nations-backed tribunal in Phnom Penh. Last year, he was found guilty of crimes against humanity and jailed for 35 years. He appealed in March, and a ruling is expected next month.

Duch was a good student when he was young, and later a good teacher. Yet he became a monster who killed adults and children. Whenever people get power, their characters gradually change. They become greedy and corrupt. Elections are rigged to keep their high positions.

However, no one has the right to deprive others of their lives. We all live on the same planet.

Duch's behaviour should be condemned.

Yeung Pui-lam, Pooi To Middle School