Letters to the Editor, February 9, 2014
Standard of doctors must be maintained
I refer to the letter by Samantha Denford, research assistant of the Lion Rock Institute ("Doctors and their patients will benefit", January 27). I do not agree that increasing flexibility for internationally trained doctors and funding Hongkongers to study aboard will benefit citizens overall.
Currently, doctors who study abroad need to pass three tests and a clinical practice in order to work in Hong Kong. The problem is not the lack of a quota for these doctors to work in Hong Kong, but the pass-rate in the test for these doctors is low, at around 5-10 per cent each year.
The low pass rate is by no means detrimental to these doctors, but rather it guarantees the candidates who work here reach a certain medical standard. This can ensure Hong Kong citizens receive a professional, up-to-standard medical service.
If the number of doctors is increased by accepting some of those who originally fail the test, it will be a disaster for Hong Kong citizens. Who wants to receive a substandard health-care service?
On the other hand, I agree funding for Hong Kong students to study overseas can help to increase the city's competitiveness, but the government should also put more emphasis on improving the competitiveness of local students.
The education system in Hong Kong is often criticised as being too exam-oriented, which often makes students fail to put into practice the skills and knowledge that are truly helpful in real life beyond the textbook.
Simply increasing the funding for students to study overseas cannot solve the problem.
Alex Li, Central
No 15 bus gets packed and dangerous
Having read about the influx of visitors to Hong Kong, I experience it every day when I take the No 15 bus from Stubbs Road, where I live.
From 5pm onwards, the service to and from Central and The Peak is jam-packed and dangerous. It is the only bus route serving residents, construction workers and the many mainland tourists.
Due to winding roads around The Peak, the buses on the route are smaller and only run every 15 minutes on weekdays.
I feel sorry for visitors who often have to stand in cramped conditions for 40 minutes from town to The Peak - not a good impression of our City of Light.
G. Chan, Mid-Levels
Visit to Peak turned into a bad experience
On January 27, early in the evening, my daughter and I caught a No 15 bus at Central to The Peak, where we hoped to get a good view of the night scene.
In Wan Chai the bus came to sudden stop. The police soon arrived and began to take statements, since a black van had clipped the bus from behind, causing very minor damage to a wing mirror. After 20 minutes, another No 15 bus arrived, so we all moved into it and continued on to The Peak.
When we arrived, we saw that the queues for the buses and minibuses going down were very long. We all headed for The Peak viewing platform, passing a huddle of about 300 queuing for the Peak Tram. At the platform my daughter quickly took the photos she wanted. As it was very overcrowded, we decided it was best to retreat back downhill. We went into some public toilets, where a man stopped me entering with some force. A couple of minutes later, two women exited the gents': this behaviour seemed bizarre until my daughter came back saying that the ladies' was smeared with faeces and unusable.
We passed the queue for the Peak Tram which by now had swollen to more than 500. At the bus station, we waited in a queue which exceeded 150 people, but managed to get on to the very crowded bus, standing.
Soon, a young woman sat down, blocking the stairs, and began to vomit into a plastic bag. Then a man standing close to us began to faint, his legs buckling. No one offered him a seat, so I briefly supported him while one of his relatives gave him smelling salts.
Most passengers soon decided it was best just to get off the bus. At the terminus there were only six of us left.
All in all, our experience of visiting The Peak did not seem commensurate with a major international tourist attraction.
Richard Brown, Huntly, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Benefits of a preschool education
I refer to the letter by Marco Lau ("Preschool education hurts children", February 2) in which he boldly claims that preschool education brings harm upon children because they are forced into an "intensive schedule" and will therefore be less responsive to primary or secondary education. He says children's further development will be hampered.
Mr Lau claims that preschool education at an early age is harmful to the child's development and further studies. I may have agreed with him if he had provided any proof. However, evidence points to the contrary.
In the 1960s, a prominent preschool in the United States tracked a group of children who attended its institution until they were well into middle age. The results were surprising; for every dollar spent on an individual's preschool education, that individual contributed US$17 back into society when he or she became an adult.
These individuals who went to preschool were more likely to graduate from secondary school, scored higher in vocabulary and mathematics tests and were less likely to get into trouble and into prison or to rely on welfare than their counterparts who had not attended preschool.
They also earned 25 per cent more from their jobs. So this "bad idea" as Mr Lau puts it, has great benefits in store. And contrary to his opinion, it aids the child in later life.
Mr Lau goes on to assume that by sending a child to preschool, one would be bombarding the child with heaps of information. However I find this assumption to be untrue and misinformed. My friends and I all attended preschool at an early age, and none of us is one of the "data saving machines" Mr Lau has referred to.
He has also found a way to pin the blame of lack of enthusiasm in studies on preschool. This is flawed logic. To claim a student's academic ineptitude is due to his preschool education is irrational and would be similar to blaming a son for his father's wrongdoings.
I suggest Mr Lau should reconsider his stance on this ultimately rewarding system of education called preschool.
Jason Leung, Stanley
Children miss true meaning of New Year
Everyone is busy during Lunar New Year - visiting relatives, greeting and receiving red packets from others.
To adults, it is a time to gather and meet each other. However, it seems this festival has another meaning to children.
What they care about is the money inside the red packets, but they don't understand the true meaning of New Year, which is about gathering together and sharing.
This can be easily rectified if parents explain more instead of letting children explore everything on their own.
Sheri Ong, Sai Kung