Letters to the Editor, January 5, 2013
Hong Kong's travel warning on India is unfair
I refer to the report ("Women's group warns India over rape", January 1). I also read with anger that the Security Bureau issued an amber alert for travellers visiting India.
What kind of alert would the Hong Kong government issue for people wanting to visit the US in the wake of the terrible Newtown shootings in which 27 people, including 20 children, were killed? And this was not an isolated incident.
Some of the other mass shootings that took place in the US in 2012 included: four dead in a spa in Norcross, Georgia, in February; five in a Seattle coffee shop in May; six at a Minneapolis firm in September; seven at an Oakland college in April; 12 killed in a cinema in Aurora, Colorado, in July; and six slain in an attack on a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, in August.
Maybe Indian cities, especially Delhi, are not safe for women travelling at night, but going by my list, it seems the US is not safe at any time of the day, even for children.
So why is it that no local organisation protested outside the US consulate calling for gun sale restrictions, threatening that the country would face the risk of a Hong Kong travel ban?
My intention is not to belittle the US. I love the country and its people. I have visited many times and will continue to visit.
Similarly, incidents such as the disgusting mass rape in Delhi should not be used by anybody to tarnish the image of India. Nations like the US and India cannot be put in the same bracket as Iraq and Syria.
Kishore Sambwani, Pok Fu Lam
Tsang did right on Disneyland, but not bridge
Mike Rowse was his usual unassuming self in his article ("Success has many fathers", December 31), where he speaks of those taking credit for the Disneyland deal.
Back in 1999 when the negotiations on Hong Kong Disneyland were down to quite a bit of hard talking, the Walt Disney Company faced the Hong Kong team led by then financial secretary Donald Tsang Yam-kuen and Mr Rowse.
I would say this was one of the better legacies of Mr Tsang's stewardship, though the best worth remembering would be the ban on trawling that is now in place. Yes, Mr Rowse can quite rightfully claim that Hong Kong won the Disneyland deal on its own merits, and I think that he and the former chief executive can rightfully take most of the kudos.
So the trawling ban and Disneyland are probably the highlights for Donald Tsang. But in my book, his period in charge will always by marred by one tragic decision - the agreement to construct the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge.
It is a disaster and it will cost Hong Kong taxpayers a pretty penny.
Where is all the anticipated traffic going to go? The container business is certainly in decline, and I can't see Hong Kong's congested roads welcoming thousands of mainland drivers.
However, I could be wrong. Perhaps the day will be saved by an enlarged Disneyland, and hundreds of busloads of eager mainland day-trippers, heading over the bridge for a date with Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck.
Gordon Andreassend, Sham Shui Po
Appalled by flag-burning protesters
The burning of our national flag in front of the central government's liaison office in Western district ("City's activists get more radical", January 3) is a matter of grave concern to all Chinese citizens.
The authorities have a duty to take immediate action.
In the event that the individual who was caught on camera burning the national flag carries a foreign passport, he should forfeit his right to stay in Hong Kong, China.
Anthony Tung Kai-cheong, Causeway Bay
The irony of keeping silent to gain a voice
Many commentators and letter writers say we should protest less, accept the status quo and not criticise our leaders too harshly as well as "letting them get on with the job".
We should have a harmonious society, they say, and Beijing will give us universal suffrage. It is ironic because what they are really implying is, don't do anything that seems vaguely democratic (like criticising or marching) or Hong Kong won't get democracy.
Jennifer Eagleton, Tai Po
More schools should apply e-learning
I am writing to express my concerns about the lack of e-learning programmes in Hong Kong.
Nowadays, many students are finding the learning process in schools difficult. Teachers are also under strain and feel exhausted with constant revision exercises for their pupils.
I take heart, then, from the e-learning initiative at Buddhist Po Kwong School in Fanling ("HK officials 'lack vision' for shift to e-learning", December 23).
This programme has brought about positive changes for teachers and pupils at the school.
Not only does it offer a continuous learning environment but the whole process of learning is less exhausting than the traditional eight hours a day in a traditional classroom setting.
At this school, the e-learning system enables these young people to maintain their level of energy and interest.
The methods adopted through e-learning mean they are less likely to become bored.
They can also continue with their studies outside school, studying at any time and at their own pace.
A "paperless classroom" can help youngsters from low-income families where it is a struggle to afford all the necessary textbooks.
The e-learning system can also help with languages. If pupils are weak, for example, in English or Putonghua, they can learn proper pronunciation through the e-learning system.
However, in order to expand e-learning so that it can be introduced in more Hong Kong schools, substantial resources are required, which some schools do not have.
The government has an important role to play in this regard.
It should work with schools and plan a budget so that they can implement an e-learning programme in the future.
If it were possible to apply the Fanling school programme to more schools in the Hong Kong education system, then I think students and teachers would feel the benefits of the e-learning process.
Marco Chan, Tseung Kwan O
Pupils' rational move to join tutorial centres
Tutorial centres are becoming increasingly popular in Hong Kong.
I think a major reason why so many young people enrol at these colleges is that their teachers do not have enough time to cover a whole subject. They are busy with paperwork and don't have the time to produce material that they can then pass out to students for further study.
They have to concentrate on the lesson itself, so youngsters feel the need to attend a tutorial college in order to hone their examination skills and improve their chances of doing well. They may also feel that, in some cases, the quality of teaching provided at schools is poor.
They are driven to this by Hong Kong's education system, which is exam-oriented. They hope the tutorial centres can help make then more effective in the competitive environment that surrounds the public exam.
Also, many tutors have very good communication skills and the atmosphere is more relaxed than in the school classroom.
In addition, the tutors will provide detailed notes and are willing to offer assistance to the students after the lesson has concluded, which helps students to acquire a deeper knowledge of the subject at hand.
Many critics will argue that children are being forced by their parents to attend these tutorial colleges after school, but I do not think this is necessarily the case.
Hong Kong is developing as a knowledge-based economy. Students appreciate this and realise that they can spare no effort to improve their store of knowledge if they want to ensure for themselves a brighter future in their chosen career.
They therefore make the wise choice of signing up for a tutorial college course.
Henry Chan, Kwai Chung
Filipino clerics' parochial view of population
There are echoes of a Filipino bishop's recent pronouncement in Zeno Udani's letter about the causes of Philippine poverty ("Scapegoat hides society's deeper ills", January 1).
The good bishop of one province in the country recently came out in favour of keeping the Philippine population high because, in his view, it would mean that more migrant workers would continue to send remittances home to support "ageing parents and will help in spreading the Christian faith abroad".
Unfortunately, this type of muddled thinking among Filipino clerics and a large segment of the population is so entrenched, one wishes the country would learn from its pragmatic atheist neighbours like Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea so as to finally enter the 21st century.
L.M.S. Valerio, Tin Hau