Letters to the Editor, July 22, 2014
Students are under too much pressure
The present education system in Hong Kong does not give students enough time to rest.
Many students have to go to extra classes after the school day has ended in order to prepare for the Diploma of Secondary Education exam. After the extra classes they then have to do their homework.
Having a heavy workload can mean that teens do not get enough sleep. They also have little time to rest because of the independent inquiry study. They are forced to waste a lot time and energy on the school-based assessment, which is compulsory. They spend a lot of time analysing data.
Essentially, these young people are facing tight schedules every day. The pressure as they approach the time when they will sit the DSE exam is bad. Without a good result, they know they will not get a university place. And without a degree, they are unlikely to secure a good job.
Many students are particularly concerned about how they will do in English, Chinese language and liberal studies.
Young people should be enjoying their years of studying. However, with the present set-up in Hong Kong, they are unable to do this.
Jasmine Chan, Diamond Hill
Stop killing of innocent civilians
On behalf of the Muslim community of Hong Kong, I wish to raise our deepest concerns on the ongoing military offensive and air strikes carried out by Israeli forces against innocent Palestinian civilians in Gaza since July 8.
Muslims all over the world and in particular the Muslim community of Hong Kong strongly condemn the attacks against Palestinian civilians. We are also deeply hurt that the military offensive is being conducted during the holy month of Ramadan. This is completely unacceptable and in violation of the international human rights statutes.
It has been extensively reported in the media that over 450 Palestinian civilians, including elderly people, women and children, have been killed and more than 2,000 have been injured so far. It is also shocking to note that in excess of 340 housing units have been destroyed as a result of the air strikes, which have displaced an estimated 40,000 residents, forcing them to leave their homes in Gaza and move to other areas.
The military operation, which is continuing non-stop, is being condemned across the globe. Amnesty International has urged the UN to impose an arms embargo on Israel in order to stop the military offensive and prevent further escalation of violence against innocent civilians. It has stated that deliberate attacks against innocent civilians constitute war crimes.
The World Health Organisation has also issued a warning that health care services in the region have been on the brink of collapse due to shortages of supplies. The Israeli government must ensure that sufficient amounts of medical and humanitarian supplies are allowed into Gaza.
We once again condemn the attacks and air strikes against innocent Palestinian civilians and strongly urge the government of Israel to stop the military offensive immediately. It is the duty of the government of Israel to create an environment of peace and security, rebuild the destroyed homes of Palestinian residents and allow them to return to Gaza.
Qamar Zaman Minhas, chairman, the Incorporated Trustees of the Islamic Community Fund of Hong Kong
Beijing must lift order on Ramadan
Earlier this month, as you noted in the caption of a published photo ("Ramadan for some", July 5), the authorities in Xinjiang told party members, civil servants, students and teachers not to observe Ramadan.
This is outrageous and must be heartbreaking for those Muslims in the region who want to observe Ramadan, but are being put under pressure not to do so. I have not read of any country where the official religion is Islam come forward and criticise Beijing for this edict.
Ramadan is not some kind of traditional, cultural festival for Muslims. It is one of the five most important pillars of Islam, Fasting is directly prescribed by the God (Allah) in the Koran. According to the Koran, in the month of Ramadan, Muslims (with certain exceptions) have to "follow the divine message according to the instruction". It begins with the sighting of the new moon, after which abstention from eating, drinking and other sensual pleasures is obligatory from dawn to sunset. It is also a joyful month. Muslims break their fast at sunset with a special meal. And when it ends there are three days of celebration, which is a time for family reunions. It is significant for all Muslims, including those from Xinjiang.
As a Hong Kong citizen, I am free to perform my religious rituals. Whatever differences there may be between Xinjiang Chinese Muslims and Chinese officials, it should not affect these Muslims' basic human rights. It saddens me to see my Muslim brothers in Xinjiang in such a circumstance. The leaders of Muslim countries should put pressure on Beijing to lift the ban immediately.
Zohaib Malik, Tin Shui Wai
People want meaningful change in HK
I refer to the report ("Mainstream opinion key to reform: C. Y.", July 16). "Mainstream opinion" is a close relative of the "silent majority".
Both are unspoken and malleable, and normally complacent.
They are definitely not the majority view but are conveniently assumed by the authorities to represent a position close to the stance that the government wishes to put forward. In any event, it is absolutely clear that Hongkongers want "one man, one vote" and a credible and unfettered choice of candidates.
The reason that Occupy Central has gained so much traction within the community is that the nomination committee is seen as a bastion of self- and vested interest.
The young are getting fed up with an ongoing status quo that panders to the conglomerates.
These dominating businesses are controlled by a handful of old men, who are out of touch with the reality of life in Hong Kong. Stagnation and lack of opportunity are the result of a stifled and distorted market place.
People want meaningful change, but the Communist Party only wants to allow a cosmetic veneer, due to an over-riding concern for self-preservation. The only hope for Hong Kong is that the strict control of the nominating committee is relaxed so that it becomes more representative of the man in the street, rather than the man in the limousine.
Charlie Chan, Mid-Levels
Time limit is placed on computer use
I refer to the letter of Raja Iyer ("Limit library workstation access", July 13) regarding the use of Hong Kong Central Library's computer facilities.
Hong Kong's public libraries aim to provide library facilities and services to all members of the public, including Hong Kong residents and visitors.
A workstation internet booking system (https://mmis.hkpl.gov.hk/placebooking) is in place to help library card holders reserve the Central Library's computer workstations via the multi-media information system webpage, and all users can book the workstations at library service counters in person or by phone.
Booking can be made seven days in advance for a maximum of two sessions (maximum four hours) a day.
According to usage statistics, the Central Library's workstations (altogether 414 located at different floors) are not fully booked even on Sundays and public holidays. Patrons can make use of the booking services for use of the work-stations. For users occupying the workstations without registration, the workstations will be automatically logged out by the system and the users will need to leave the workstations when they are booked by other patrons.
If a workstation has been left vacant for over 15 minutes, personal belongings left at the workstation will be removed by library staff to make room for other eligible users. Our staff will continue to closely monitor the use of the workstations to prevent any abuse of the facilities.
We will further enhance publicity to promote the advance booking services and tighten measures to prevent abuses. Library patrons may find useful information on booking of public libraries' computer workstations via the following link (https://mmis.hkpl.gov.hk/web/guest/howtousemmis).
Tse Tam-moon, senior librarian (Hong Kong Central Library) infrastructure development, Leisure and Cultural Services Department
MTR spreads its resources too thinly
I refer to the report ("MTR wins £1.4b contract to run London Crossrail", July 19).
Surely our MTR Corporation has enough cross-rail commuters here in Hong Kong, where the commissioning of all the new lines has been delayed.
The MTR appears to be spreading its resources too thinly.
However, I think former chief executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen is responsible for naively pushing though so many mega-projects without understanding the capabilities of our construction industry to deliver on such a large scale.
K. Y. Leung, Shouson Hill