PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 December, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 December, 2011, 12:00am


We need to learn to be polite

Do you think you're a polite person? For example, do you give your seat to needy people on the MTR? Do you say 'sorry' when you wrong someone? Do you lend a hand to people when they need help?

In Hong Kong, many people would do none of the above. They are rude and impatient.

Being polite has its own rewards. If you are polite, people will like you more and treat you well in return.

We need to teach children to be polite from a young age. Parents and teachers have a vital role in this.

Parents should set a good example by being polite and considerate themselves. That way, polite behaviour can pass from generation to generation.

We should learn to say 'please' and 'thank you'. We shouldn't jump queues. We should respect others and pay attention to them.

Politeness is very important in society.

Chan Hoi-ni

Liberal studies exams are vital

Some letter writers say liberal studies can help boost students' knowledge about social issues as well as their critical thinking skills. They add, however, that students should not have to take exams in this core subject.

I disagree. Exams play a major role in achieving the objectives of liberal studies. Without exams, it is unlikely that students would pay much attention to social issues.

Recent studies have shown that teenagers in Hong Kong don't care too much about social issues.

Students cannot be expected to develop an interest in social issues unless they are forced to pay attention to them. Having exams is the best way to do that.

By studying for exams, they will improve their analytical skills and knowledge about a wide range of day-to-day issues.

Yet, rather than just expect them to memorise facts, we should encourage them to write essays to flesh out their own ideas.

Joyce Fong Lok-lam, Good Hope School

In favour of paid paternity leave

The government recently announced that male civil servants could be allowed to take paid paternity leave by the second half of next year.

Democratic Party lawmaker Cheung Man-kwong agrees with the scheme. He suggests that all men should be entitled to such leave.

But the vice-president of the Chinese Manufacturers' Association of Hong Kong, Jimmy Ng Wing-ka, says paid paternity leave could be a burden for small- and medium-sized businesses.

I believe paid paternity leave can bring great benefits to the community.

To begin with, mothers would benefit from having their husbands at home to help take care of their newborn and do the household chores.

After they give birth, many women are vulnerable, both physically and mentally. Having their husbands at home will help ease the stress on mothers.

Moreover, paid paternity leave can encourage couples to have more children. In a recent poll conducted by the Chinese University of Hong Kong, one third of women said paternity leave would be a decisive factor in whether they wanted to give birth or not. Paid paternity leave can be part of the solution to boosting low birth rates in Hong Kong.

Having paid paternity leave can also enhance men's sense of loyalty to a company and increase their productivity.

In short, paid paternity leave is not only a family-friendly policy; it will also be beneficial to the workplace.

Wong Kim-wai, Kit Sam Lam Bing Yim Secondary School

We should all eat less meat

There are lots of advantages in eating less meat - not only to the environment but also to your health.

To begin with, producing meat needs lots of natural resources. For example, you need to provide food and clean water for animals. In countries like Brazil, ranchers are turning forests into grassland for cattle. This is bad for our environment and worsens global warming.

Eating less meat is also good for your health, because it reduces your chances of obesity and having diseases like cancer.

So let's eat less meat - both for our sake and for the sake of Earth.

Ada Chan, Tusen Wan Public Ho Chuen Yiu Memorial College