Letters to the Editor, June 07, 2015

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 07 June, 2015, 12:01am
UPDATED : Sunday, 07 June, 2015, 12:01am

Macho male values must be supplanted

The women of Hong Kong and mainland China can do a great deal to meet the two most serious challenges facing our world, namely global eco-destruction and militarism.

They are closely linked since they both stem from faulty masculine value systems - a damaging ethos remaining from our Neanderthal origins.

Primitive man placed great value on territory and weapons, since they were needed to acquire food and to ensure survival. Feudal man retained these instincts, giving rise to an armed aristocracy, to conflicts over land, resources and power over slaves or serfs. In the Orient especially, women were merely tools for pleasure or for giving birth to cannon fodder to satisfy military ambitions and lust for conquest as we see in Japanese and Chinese history.

Our so-called modern world has barely moved away from these primitive wants, but has merely incorporated them into the destructive consumerism that threatens our globe and its climate. Women, who now control spending and are very important consumers, are being cajoled by male-dominated corporations and seductive advertising to buy more and more.

Our children and grandchildren are now paying and will pay continue to pay the price of macho arrogance and greed. We must teach our children to use less, to respect nature and other peoples, to resist those who design weapons and plan for armed conflict, to reduce armed forces and to support those who work for a healthy ecosystem and global sharing.

Now that China has such economic and political influence, Chinese women and mothers can do much to reduce the damage done by Neanderthal-type men in politics and in armed forces. We all live on one fragile globe and all men, women and children have to take better care of it.

Jason Kuylein, Stanley

Students of English have few excuses

I refer to Kendra Ip's letter ("DSE English paper asks too much of local students", April 29), in which she suggests the Diploma of Secondary Education exams are too hard because of the foreign sources of reading passages and the nature of open-ended questions.

I agree that students "not from middle class or rich families" may not enjoy the same opportunities to learn and use English as their richer counterparts, but if they have the will and determination, ample resources are there to help master English. Yes, some foreign newspapers and journals were used for question setting, but the authority should not be blamed. Even with paywalls for many newspapers, students can still easily access other publications online for free. I took the DSE three years ago. I read widely, , watched US presidential debates on YouTube and still managed to finish homework. In the internet era, students can know every part of the world with a single click, regardless of socio-economic status.

Different types of questions, including open-ended ones, are set up to differentiate more able students from the less able. In daily life, we have to answer questions without four choices being provided. This format is to help students show their critical thinking ability. Students have to write 400 words based on a three-line question. Does the composition component need to be cancelled?

It is more the method of teaching at school that needs to be evaluated to make students find English learning more attractive so they would get themselves immersed in English, in sports, music, or games, on their own.

Cheung Wai-yu, Kwun Tong

Weekend cars a nightmare for Sai Kung

At weekends Sai Kung is held hostage by visitors.

There is a very limited presence by anyone representing the authorities, which allows drivers to do basically whatever they like.

One weekend last month, the taxi rank in Chan Man Street was full of private cars.I called the police but the number for the report room just rang and rang. I then walked to the police station where I put my mobile on speakerphone so the officers could hear the call just ringing out. "What?" one of them asked.

I replied, "This is the number for the Sai Kung Report Room and it's just ringing out, but there's no phone ringing in here."

The officer, with a puzzled look on his face, looked at a telephone, pointed to it and said, "That's this one, it's not working… Anyway, is there something I can help you with?". "Yes", I said, "you can send some officers over to Chan Man Street to remove those illegally parked cars so the public can get taxis."

They cleared the area without, I believe, issuing any tickets to the offenders.

And, of course, within minutes of the police's disappearance, the area was again taken over by private vehicles. What is the point of having laws when they are not enforced?

Residents of Sai Kung now have to put up with the common racket of horns blaring and drivers who have no respect whatsoever for the rules or the local population.

The government should build a great big car park at the top of Hiram's Highway and another on the other side of Sai Kung, near Ma On Shan, and stop drivers coming into Sai Kung.

If they have no respect for the rules, regulations, or locals, they should be prevented from coming here.

Make them take public transport; give Sai Kung a park-and-ride system and stop the invasion that creates the weekend nightmare.

Andrew Maxwell, Sai Kung

Northeast holds key to flats expansion

I am writing to express my opinion on whether the government should build flats in country parks.

Some have suggested that the government could help solve Hong Kong's housing problems by opening up land in the parks.

I agree with that to some small extent. However, country parks such as Ma On Shan are far from the main city areas and don't have shopping centres or convenient transport. Therefore such a plan would not be suitable for the large number of Hongkongers who work in and would have to commute to urban areas. Other than that, it would also destroy the natural habitat of different kinds of wildlife.

It is very difficult to find a large-scale woodland areas in Hong Kong, so we should treasure the undeveloped country parks so that the next generation can observe and cherish nature. However, if we do not build flats in country parks, where can we go? I would put the focus on the northeastern New Territories.

This area is larger than other parts of Hong Kong that have been mentioned in the housing debate, and doesn't have as much ecological value as some suggested sites.

Eva Chow, Tseung Kwan O

Phones at school should be allowed

I am writing in response to an article written by Tang Wingkar ("Students need smartphone self-control", May 29).

It is now common for everyone to have a smartphone, even secondary students. But many schools have banned students from bringing them into the campus because the phones are a distraction.

I think a ban is not necessary and students need the phones for safety reasons such as calling their parents after school.

Schools can allow the phones if they are handed in to teachers before the lesson starts.

Yuen Tsz-wai, Hang Hau