Letters to the Editor, May 17, 2015

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 17 May, 2015, 12:02am
UPDATED : Sunday, 17 May, 2015, 12:02am

Change from rote learning to real learning

The way Hong Kong students learn has been a point of debate, and I would like to suggest some suitable and effective learning styles, because learning should be the real reason for education.

Most Hong Kong students are mainly concerned about their academic results and recite everything from the textbooks. They have never thought about how to apply the knowledge they have gained into their daily lives. They stick to the textbooks and seem uninterested in the things they should be learning beyond the textbooks.

What students don't realise is that learning must be diverse. It can come from joining extracurricular activities or attending interest groups. Not only do they assimilate this knowledge in a shorter period of time, but they also do it in a far more interesting way.

Even TV programmes can be a source of learning. One science show I watched recently said Hong Kong students are less interested in learning about things that are around them every day. Why is the sky blue? Why is biodiversity necessary? They can't answer these questions because they only recite without asking why.

The most important thing is to change the teaching and learning styles for teachers and students. The burden is on the educators to raise students' interest so that they are curious enough to ask why.

Rote memorisation is OK to learn the basics, but learning becomes more fun as students understand the meanings.

Chung Miu-shan, Yau Yat Chuen 

Public health should be a team effort

I refer to the report ("Cancer alert as health message is ignored", April 23).

Many people in Hong Kong are exposed to the risk of contracting cancer because of their unhealthy lifestyles. It is this lifestyle issue that becomes a major factor.

Statistics show that almost 40 per cent of adults have been classified as being overweight with more than 80 per cent not eating enough fruits and vegetables. This figure has stayed almost unchanged for more than 10 years, which says Hongkongers do not pay attention to their health.

True, people are responsible for their own health, but the government can play a role, too, by educating the public about the dos and don'ts about preventing cancer. It can also encourage people to eat more fruits and vegetables by offering discounts when we buy them.

Another thing the government can do is to put more resources into developing sports facilities to make exercise more attractive and convenient.

At the end of the day, public well-being is a team effort, with both the government and the public working to reduce the risk of developing cancer.

Phoenix Lui, Kowloon Bay

Caregiving scheme helps young and old

Hong Kong is a flourishing city, and most of its people work long hours to make it that way.

But some factions of society get left behind in the process, and the elderly are a prime example. In a few decades, nursing homes are going to be full, and in our ageing society, many elderly people will be left to queue for a place to live.

Some of them even wait in nursing homes on the mainland, filled with doubt over who will take care of them.

Other elderly people don't want to go into nursing homes because they think the situation there is bad, so they choose to live independently.

The problem is, as they grow older, they're not able to take care of themselves any more.

I believe more young people aged between 17 and 24 years can be trained to look after elderly citizens as caregivers.

Having caregivers benefits the elderly because they will feel less isolated.

They will have someone to chat and interact with, and if the caregivers look after them properly and patiently, they won't need to be worried about their future.

Caregivers can develop skills that can lead to a nursing career.

They gain experience in taking care of people and learn about the importance of being patient with old folk.

I support the Navigation Scheme for Young Persons in Care Services, which is part of the Social Welfare Department, but training needs to be strict and done with compassion, as not everyone can handle this kind of job.

Wong Wing-sum, Diamond Hill

Uncalled-for jab at sportscamp's star

I am writing to express my disappointment over the way the Sports 360 basketball camp was written up in the Outtakes column by Ben Sin in the May 7 issue of the 48 Hours magazine ("Clarkson to drop in on Sha Tin camp"). Sin seemed to have a decidedly negative view of the event, which is unusual for listings in this column.

First of all, the other participants of the camp (which will run from June 14 to 17) are what will make this a unique basketball clinic in Hong Kong.

It is unfortunate the negative tone of the listing could discourage participants from attending, at a time when there is unprecedented interest in basketball in Hong Kong and a strong desire to encourage youth participation in sports.

I confirmed with Sports 360 that Jordan Clarkson will be attending the camp all four days, not just doing a "drop in" on the final day.

Also, I was disappointed Sin described Clarkson as "hardly one of the league's marquee players", given that he talked of his passion for the sport of basketball.

While it is true that Clarkson was unheralded coming out of university, he turned that into motivation to become a leading player with the Los Angeles Lakers, even winning Western Conference Rookie of the Month award for March.

His former All-Star teammate, Carlos Boozer, described him as "Baby Westbrook", after Russell Westbrook, MVP candidate for Oklahoma Thunder.

The other camp participants are equally impressive.

Drew Hanlen works with NBA stars to hone their skills. His unique instruction style is valued because he customises his workouts for players after devoting tremendous time reviewing film of them.

Tim Fuller, one of college basketball's top assistants, coached Clarkson at Missouri. Leading basketball coaches in Hong Kong will also be at the camp, largely attracted because of the presence of Hanlen and Fuller.

This camp is a refreshing change from previous visits to Hong Kong by NBA stars. Its hosts may not carry much name recognition, but they are successful today because of an unwavering dedication and perseverance to basketball.

These are individuals whom aspiring players in Hong Kong can learn a lot from.

Jonathan Mok, Wan Chai 

Expanded plastic bag levy welcome

I support the expanded plastic bag levy to stop Hongkongers wasting resources.

I think we should start changing small things first, and using fewer plastic bags is an example of that. The levy will discourage people from using plastic bags and encourage them to bring their own bags.

Some people may complain that it is inconvenient and irrational to have this charge, but I think the government has already tried its best to make things simple and convenient.

Now it's time to get tough to let people know we need to reduce the amount of rubbish we generate. Let's talk about the landfills in Hong Kong filling up.

This is a problem of environmental protection that no one can deny. We have to take steps to make our planet greener for future generations.

Sabina Lam Siu-yin, Yau Yat Chuen