City could be a hub for conventions
I refer to the report ('Convention centre 'losing out' to bigger venues', February 9). The Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai is host to a wide range of events, including international exhibitions.
I agree that there is a need to build on that and develop further services to offer to potential customers, and therefore I back the calls for enlarging the complex. A third phase of expansion is needed if Hong Kong wants to capture more of the trade fair market.
The convention centre is running out of space, and this is deterring some overseas companies from using it.
This means we are losing out to other developed cities, and this loss of business hurts Hong Kong's economy.
With an expanded facility in Wan Chai, the convention centre could hold multiple simultaneous events.
We already have an international reputation as a finance hub, symbolised by the International Finance Centre.
With an expanded convention centre on the harbourfront, we can become just as famous as a venue for exhibitions and conventions.
It would also be a boost for the tourist industry, as people at exhibitions would be able to enjoy Hong Kong's unique mix of Eastern and Western cultures.
A larger convention centre with several events would create many more jobs for the residents of Hong Kong.
Tommy Cheung, Sha Tin
Build homes rather than bigger centre
The head of the Convention and Exhibition Centre would like to see it expanded.
We are all aware that Hong Kong is small and densely populated. Also, Victoria Harbour has shrunk over the years as the government sought to develop different facilities around the waterfront.
Therefore, I think careful consideration must be given to such a proposal before any decision is made, because land is scarce and any new development might adversely affect the harbourfront. If I were responsible for such matters in the government, I would not accept the expansion.
Although Hong Kong has been losing out to bigger venues, protection of the environment is more important.
Moreover, when it comes to formulating land-use policies, the focus should be on homes, as many residents still struggle to get a flat.
Stephanie Fong, Tai Wai
Bach solos, Battery Path and birdsong
The violinist Nigel Kennedy was in Hong Kong last week for the Arts Festival.
The concert began with a tranquil solo sonata of Bach, which Kennedy introduced as an antidote to the addictive and negative effects of televisions and computers.
Noise pollution from modern technology is uncontrolled in our city - from incessant conversations on mobiles on the MTR to television broadcasts in buses and elevators.
Even Battery Path, a green oasis in the heart of Central, has not been spared.
Among rusty barriers and flashy banners, a loudspeaker blares mercilessly every lunchtime, depriving office workers of any quiet moments of respite.
Kennedy proclaimed Pablo Casals' performance of Bach's solo cello suites would have you believe that God exists.
A return of Battery Path to the former peaceful haven with birdsong would similarly restore our confidence in the Hong Kong government, that it is vigilant in protecting our environment.
Sandra Wong Sau-yu, Central
Eight years for MD vs five for MBBS
Roger Phillips ('British degree is superior', February 14) rebuts Isabel Escoda's assertion that American and British university degrees are on even par ('Hire Filipino nurses to cure shortage', February 11). He goes so far as to say the British system is superior.
A doctor of medicine degree (MD) from an American or Canadian institution means at least four years of pre-med training followed by four years of medical school, followed by internships and residencies.
A corresponding bachelor of medicine/bachelor of surgery (MBBS) from a British institute typically requires a five-year training programme.
Bernard Lo, Mid-Levels
New subject needs to be better taught
As a liberal studies teacher, I think there is a tendency in our society to be critical rather than to make constructive suggestions. We need to enhance the quality of teachers of the subject, and the Education Bureau should make the curriculum clearer.
Liberal studies has had a positive impact on pupils. It helps teenagers to present their opinions effectively, and they develop a keener social and business sense.
Teenagers become more aware of global issues, modern China and problems in Hong Kong, such as poverty.
However, the quality of teaching can be improved. It is easier to get someone to teach a subject like geography or history, because of the diverse nature of liberal studies.
It has no boundaries, but with good preparation it is not difficult for the teacher to identify important concepts and issues such as freedom, democracy, modernisation, laissez faire economics, small government and big markets.
But the bureau must give more direct support to help teachers understand the deeper concepts (sociology, humanities) that have to be taught in the classroom. This is especially important for those teachers who have not received the relevant academic training.
It is a common misconception that those students who effectively present mainstream ideas will be awarded higher marks.
It is the ability to understand the issues that are presented in the question and to answer it with sound arguments and the necessary skill that are important factors for pupils wishing to do well in the subject.
I hope we can have a constructive discussion of liberal studies within the community.
Stefan Lam, Tuen Mun
Both sides must work for harmony
Hong Kong has been returned to China, but the gap between the city and the mainland at the cultural and educational level has widened.
This has led to confrontations between locals and visitors from across the border. Hongkongers complain about their inappropriate behaviour and about the influx of mainland women coming here to give birth.
Things came to a head with the comments by Peking University professor Kong Qingdong .
As a Hong Kong resident, I am concerned about the inappropriate behaviour of some people from the mainland who, for example, smoke in no-smoking areas and eat on the MTR. I appreciate that locals also eat on the train, but they tend to stop when it is pointed out to them.
Some mainland netizens have complained that Hongkongers are discriminating against them. My response is that I welcome them. If a new migrant politely asks me for directions in Putonghua, I am happy to reply in the same language.
There is little we can do as individuals to solve these problems. They must be tackled by the governments on both sides of the border.
For example, this is an overpopulated city, and our migration policies must be amended.
The mainland authorities, for their part, could pay more attention to civic education so that we can have a harmonious society.
Chris Chan Kwan-lap, Tsuen Wan
Russia, China fear uprising of their own
Why did Russia and China veto the UN Security Council resolution on Syria that was backed by the Arab League?
Because both Vladimir Putin's clique and the Chinese Communist Party fear that they will look hypocritical when their own populations finally tire of their dictatorial nature and take to the streets themselves once more.
The people will do this not to defend some so-called 'right' to liberty, for there is no such thing. Rights, as has been shown over and over again, are fought for, not delivered from on high by God or some benevolent dictator.
They will do it to demand respect for themselves and others as individuals, an end to corruption and nepotism, and the freedom to speak without fear of intimidation, to form peaceful associations and to take a full part in determining the destiny of their own communities.
These will not become rights until they have been won and enshrined in an administrative system that fully protects them.
J. Fearon-Jones, Macau