Special needs kids cannot wait in a queue
I'm in agreement with what children's advocates have said; that golden opportunities to rehabilitate Hong Kong's special needs children have been squandered by long queues for services.
If the golden opportunities elapse, this will be detrimental to the future development of those children and tarnish their promising future.
Special needs children usually have to wait a year to obtain the service they need. Lamentably, by then they have passed the golden period from birth to three years old, when efforts to teach them skills are the most effective.
Thus, government officials should act promptly to shorten waiting times for indispensible services for special needs children.
The ways for government to combat the problem are manifold.
To begin with, the government should start long-term planning in the training of necessary professionals, such as speech therapists, counsellors and physiotherapists to meet the demand. They can help ensure special needs children will not miss the golden period to learn co-ordination and communication.
The government can also set up more public nurseries and kindergartens for special needs children. Parents don't need to bear immense financial burden and their children can rehabilitate at schools.
Furthermore, teachers and assistants should receive training in the handling of special needs children. If teachers are better trained in the skills of caring for special needs children, they can teach them more effectively.
In addition, teachers do not have enough time to take care of these children owing to heavy workloads and excessive administrative work. Schools should reduce the workload of these teachers. Then they will not be under tremendous pressure and they can spend more time with the children.
Under no circumstances should we adopt a wait-and-see attitude towards the needs of special needs children.
The government should play a role in tackling this issue and collaborate with schools and parents. Children are the future pillars of society, thus we should not turn a deaf ear to their need for services.
Carmen Wong Siu Kwan, Sha Tin
Poor nations cannot shirk responsibility
All countries - both developed and developing - should take significant action to prevent further global warming.
At the recent UN Climate Change Conference, developing countries like China and India said that rich countries should be the first to cut emissions, while they, as the weak and poor, should not have to take immediate steps yet.
It is simply not justified for developing countries to say that. Although the rising temperature now was mainly caused by developed nations in the past, the so-called poor nations are producing most of the greenhouse gases nowadays. Yes, they do need more production to continue developing, but that does not mean that they do not have to try to cut emissions.
Being one of the world most powerful nations, China should take a lead in fighting global warming. Even though most provinces of China are still developing, main cities have the ability to go green.
Showing that the Chinese government is willing to help can give an image of being benevolent and considerate. If some of us are not willing to co-operate, it will be much harder to succeed.
Lo Chak Yee, Sha Tin
Protect planet for the next generation
Over the decades, dozens of scientists published numerous research papers and observations on the issue of global warming.
Global warming is a fact and it poses a menace to our planet. This type of climate change could give rise to an unprecedented natural calamity and much more. We should find remedies to these problems as soon as possible.
The sad reality is that we have turned a blind eye to this problem and have been unaware of our damaging acts.
We need to alter our lavish lifestyles by reducing unnecessary use of electronic devices and being more environmentally friendly. We have a responsibility to protect the planet or the next generation will suffer.
Camilla Lam, Kwun Tong
Rule out WMD in any conflict over islands
Japan's foreign ministry was indeed right to point out that China's move to establish an air defence identification zone was extremely dangerous" ("Conflict fear as China sets up air defence zone", November 24). It is also true that both sides are playing with fire.
Nationalistic sentiment has been helping the Chinese Communist Party to rally people behind its rule while astonishing economic growth has given legitimacy to communist rule.
Some day, if the mainland economy fails, Beijing may be tempted to resort to war to divert the nation's attention from its economic woes. A military campaign to take over the disputed islands would be good for such propaganda. But the stakes are high.
China's defeat would rock the very foundation and authority of communist rule. The question is, would the Japanese face the spectre of nuclear holocaust following the humiliating defeat of the PLA?
Far-fetched as it seems, it is not at all impossible. It would be wise to keep any Sino-Japanese conflict on a small scale, if such a war is ever declared.
China should renounce the use of weapons of mass destruction against Japan in any war, in exchange for non-intervention of the United States in such a war. I believe it would be a fair deal for all sides.
Thus, Japanese politicians would be expected to act responsibly and with more caution. This deal would avoid more countries being dragged into this conflict.
Leung Ka Kit, Kowloon
Women still second class as Catholics
How heartening to learn that the Anglican church is letting women become bishops ("Church of England backs female bishops", November 21). One wonders if the Catholic church will ever follow suit.
It has been touting its new pope's liberal views, but whether it will ever enter the modern world and see that women should be members of the clergy is questionable.
Sadly, in this 21st century, that old patriarchal institution continues to relegate the female part of the human race to the same second-class membership which it has done for centuries.
L.M.S. Valerio, Tin Hau
HK's future is in the hands of today's parents
With the rise of different disapproving words describing parents, such as "helicopter", "tiger" and "monster", parenting style problems seem to be the talk of Hong Kong.
Overprotective parents will hinder the personal development of their children. Worse, for our society as a whole, this will undermine the potential of our future leaders. This is why it is of paramount importance to address this problem.
The first crucial factor in parenting is fostering parent-child communication to promote mutual understanding.
On the one hand, parents can understand the feelings and needs of their children and thus be able to take these into consideration. On the other hand, children can reach a compromise with parents for some decisions through rational discussion.
In this way, many misunderstanding and conflicts can be avoided. As a result, a supportive and caring family can be nurtured for children to develop their capabilities.
More importantly, parents have to understand the uniqueness of every child. In Hong Kong, very often parents have a distorted notion that stellar academic performance is the only measure of success. However, every child is unique and has their own strengths.
Parents should encourage them to develop their abilities fully. For aspects that the children are weak in, their effort should be recognised too.
Parents should be very skilful in raising their children, for the sake of the children's healthy development and for the benefit of Hong Kong's future.
Barry Law Ming Chak, Tsing Yi
Legislators focusing on trivial issues
I am writing to express my discontent towards some legislative councillors. Some councillors keep on arguing about relatively trivial matters all the time. It is totally unacceptable for them to turn a blind eye to all social problems.
I agree that we might need some creative TV programmes for entertainment. However, what we need the most is a better living environment.
Indeed, deserving of our full attention are issues such as income disparity and the ageing population. If we do not take them seriously, the result will be unimaginably disastrous.
I hope that all councillors can bear in mind that suggesting some innovative and constructive policies to the administration is their top priority.
Even though they are calling for universal suffrage, don't put the cart before the horse.
They should spend more time coming into contact with the underprivileged to understand their desperate needs so as to help them earn a better living.
Cheri Pong, Sha Tin