PUBLISHED : Monday, 27 June, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 27 June, 2011, 12:00am


New towns haven't achieved their aim

The development of new towns has been disappointing. The aim was to provide residents with a pleasant living environment and adequate job and educational opportunities. But these targets have not been fulfilled.

Tin Shui Wai is one of the notorious failures of new town development. There has been much debate and public concern about the problems there. Many family tragedies happened in Tin Shui Wai, giving the town the nickname 'City of Sadness'.

The high unemployment rate is one of the main causes of the town's social problems. No factories or big commercial buildings are located there. Most residents are new immigrants. They face discrimination and language problems when looking for a job.

Many must commute elsewhere to work. The town is far away from the city centre, so public transport is costly. Residents, who mostly earn low wages, must decide whether it's better to work or apply for social welfare.

Some may think Tin Shui Wai is an exception. But no new town can be self-contained, with adequate job opportunities of its own.

Even in Sha Tin, a secondary commercial district, about 96 per cent of residents must commute to other regions to work.

The government should spare no effort to develop commercial and industrial activities in new towns.

There is abundant vacant land in Tin Shui Wai. It is near the border. Raw materials could easily be imported from the mainland and finished products exported there.

If the government built more infrastructure and a better transport network in other areas, for example, Ma On Shan and Tai Wai, they could be developed into commercial districts providing jobs to nearby residents.

Fanny Tsui

Critical thinking more important

The Education Bureau hopes to introduce moral and civic education to students. One of its aims is to enhance students' sense of belonging to the country and help them understand it better.

Some people say this will be a kind of brainwashing. Since the bureau will provide some of the teaching materials, it seems the government will try to instil positive attitudes towards the mainland in students' minds.

Students in Hong Kong already take moral education in primary school and liberal studies in secondary school. Will the new subject only increase teachers' and students' workloads?

Developing students' critical thinking is far more important than building up their sense of belonging to the motherland. The government should do more consultation on this proposal.

Chan Yung, Leung Shek Chee College

Cage-dweller shared flat with 18 others

If you have ever complained your flat is too small, think about where a man named Mr Kong had to live. Kong, 64, shared a 625 sq ft flat with 18 strangers.

Each had a tiny cubicle made of wooden planks and wire mesh. He crammed everything he owned - clothes, dishes, an old TV set - into his cage home.

It is hard to believe people have been living like this for years here.

There is no privacy. Hygiene is poor, and the lack of windows and air conditioning leads to poor ventilation, which is bad for the people's health.

As Geerhardt Kornatowski, a researcher from Japan, says: 'Hong Kong should redefine the meaning of homeless to cover not only street sleepers but also cage dwellers.' Then we can do more to help these poor people.

Rosanna Chiu Tsz-yau

Some cartoons can mislead children

Children enjoy watching cartoons. But the actions of some cartoon characters may send the wrong message to children and harm their mental growth.

Fighting enemies is the main theme of many cartoons. 'Bad guys' bully the main characters, who use their 'just power' to protect themselves.

Children may think hitting back is normal. If they are bullied, they may try to take revenge through violence.

They must learn to be independent and lead peaceful lives. Violence is never a solution to problems.

Chan Chung-ming, Sha Tin Government Secondary School