Letters to the Editor, May 11, 2013
Struggle gives learning a surprise boost
Universities should aim at whole-person education. With the change to a four-year curriculum, first-year undergraduates can take a large variety of subjects once they enter university, widening their horizons and learning to appreciate interdisciplinary studies.
Classroom learning provides the foundation of university education. Nevertheless, many of us know there are various student societies and activities on campus.
Participation in these activities encourages students to be creative, to work in a team, and, most important, to uphold the university community spirit.
In the past few months, Hong Kong Baptist University has been raising objections to the rezoning of a part of the former Lee Wai Lee site to residential use. Although the issue has yet to be settled, it offers a rare chance for all levels of academic and administrative staff and students to work together and promote the university spirit.
The co-operation of staff and students is an excellent opportunity to unite the university community. Such an experience has nurtured the sense of responsibility, social awareness, and the commitment of the university students. In this sense, the Lee Wai Lee issue has been a blessing in disguise.
Many of the student union representatives are first-year undergraduates.
Students of Chinese medicine, history, and others took the opportunity to serve the university and the Hong Kong community.
The Lee Wai Lee issue will be a major event in the history of Baptist University. Whole-person education involves putting knowledge into practice, appreciating a range of disciplines, team-building, and social commitment. In the past few months, students have learned to make their voice heard and to reach out to society.
What better way is there to offer whole-person education to our youngsters.
Chu Yik-yi, associate director, David C. Lam Institute for East- West Studies, Hong Kong Baptist University
Back this bold breast-milk bank idea
A breast-milk bank opened recently in a hospital in Guangzhou, to donate to premature babies and similar infants.
This is really good news for mothers and their babies and many women are now donating milk they do not need.
However, it was clear from a survey by the hospital that many mothers were unwilling to donate milk, and, clearly, the central government has a role to play.
It should help the bank with a campaign to promote the benefits of breast milk and to show how, by donating it, women can help these mothers with children in need.
While it is the first facility of its kind in China, breast-milk banks are common in many countries and the government has to make citizens aware of how important they are.
Staff from other countries' breast-milk banks could be invited to China to explain the success of their ventures.
Also, mothers who have donated and those who have benefited from such donations could share their experiences with other women and help to clear up any confusion.
Breastfeeding is the best chance babies have to grow up healthy, absorbing all the nutrition that is contained in a mother's milk.
Therefore this venture that has been launched in Guangzhou should be commended and supported.
Ho Po-shan, Ho Man Tin
Bird flu fight bolstered by leadership
I refer to the report ("Reduce bird flu fatalities, Li urges health officials", April 29).
The reappearance of bird flu which has evolved into H7N9 has already caused a great deal of suffering on the mainland, with a number of people infected and some fatalities.
It is good to see Premier Li Keqiang urging officials to do their best to deal with this problem and to try to reduce the fatality rate. It gives citizens and patients fighting the virus hope when the nation's leaders get involved.
They also benefit from the sense of cohesion within Chinese society.
I hope scientists will learn more about this strain of flu as soon as possible and then be able to deal with it.
Until then, measures can be taken to try to prevent the flu from spreading, such as ensuring good personal hygiene and good sanitation of public places.
However, I would not support the mass slaughter of poultry.
Johnny Chiu, Tsuen Wan
Case of fake devices poses key questions
I refer to the case of James McCormick ("Briton James McCormick jailed for 10 years for selling fake bomb detectors", May 2).
It was reported that he had told a British court that he had sold the fake devices to "Hong Kong's prison service".
He made bold claims about what this equipment could do.
Can the Correctional Services Department confirm or deny the purchase?
If a purchase of this fake equipment was made, can the department explain what it is doing to claim a refund, and, more importantly, how it intends to prevent unwise purchases in future?
May I suggest independent testing of equipment, and a basic school science course for the relevant decision-makers?
Allan Dyer, Wong Chuk Hang
Guard against exploitation in conceptual art
I would like to thank Alan Lau for his performance art donation, Guards Kissing, to Hong Kong's open visual culture museum M+ ("'Guards' to greet visitors with a kiss", May 2).
I think he is spot on in noting that the conceptual art raises questions on public and private space and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender attitudes.
Further, I think there is clear homage to Rodin, and, in popular culture, to the film Casablanca. Also, there is clearly intended to be a commentary on the fetishistic use of uniforms in the canon of pornography and erotic art.
However, I must take issue with Mr Lau when he suggests that this art will comment on the minimum wage, as, he says, the performers are recipients of that.
I find it hard to believe that the guards will not be paid extra for participating in this event which is clearly additional to their normal work requirement.
If it is true that they will receive only the minimum wage while performing, then I, for one, will be boycotting this exploitation.
Neil Elias, Tai Po
Shut 'secrets' sites if used improperly
I refer to the report ("City school shuts down 'secrets' site", May 1).
These online "secrets" sites are becoming increasingly popular with students in the city's schools, especially secondary schools. However, some pupils abuse the sites and post harmful gossip, sometimes about their teachers.
It is important when they are using these sites that students show self-discipline.
They should respect their teachers even when they are not on the school campus.
Facebook is a convenient social networking site. But some teenagers fail to think carefully before writing something which is disrespectful to another person. They may feel remorse after the event, but by then it is too late.
There is nothing wrong with sharing harmless, humorous jokes, but you should never use the internet to humiliate another person.
These "secrets" sites, if they are used properly, can enhance a student's sense of belonging to a school.
But if it is clear that some students are abusing the forum, then the "secrets" site in question should be shut down.
Jessica Lau Wan-yi, Kwai Chung
Dimly lit Seoul can switch us on to conserve
A year ago South Korea decided to reduce its imports of petroleum, so the government ordered a reduction in exterior lighting at night.
I visited Seoul last August. The buildings had moderate-sized signs to identify them, but there were no blazing billboards. Street lights were dim compared to Hong Kong, but I had no trouble seeing my path on the pavement. I have since read nothing about an upsurge in crime at night.
Can Hong Kong learn from Seoul about light pollution and energy conservation?
Michael J. Sloboda, Tsim Sha Tsui
Entertaining in need of strict limits
Last month a top official in Jiangsu was fired after his office was criticised for spending too much at a dinner in a restaurant.
The official was head of an industrial park and it is accepted on the mainland that if you are doing business, you need to develop positive relationships. Even if it turns out that what he was doing was not wrong, mainland residents are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with corrupt officials.
The central government has to come up with strict rules so that officials know what is an acceptable spending limit.
Celina Pang Nga-ching, Tsing Yi