Letters to the Editor, October 06, 2015
Universal suffrage fight must go on
People marked the first anniversary of the start of the Occupy Central movement last week.
Many of us looked back and reflected on what was meant by the "umbrella movement". Many of them stood outside the main government offices at Tamar and opened yellow umbrellas.
Some anti-Occupy protesters claimed that the anniversary was not a day for celebration, but a day to think about the effect of the movement, which they claim has led to divisions on society and hurt Hong Kong's economy.
Those who supported Occupy did so because they want to be able to vote for the chief executive and think that the present election system is not democratic.
Through actions of people in the Occupy movement, including students, it is clear that Hong Kong people want universal suffrage. I supported it, because if we do not stand up who will defend our rights?
The Occupy movement attracted attention from around the world and was backed by many people including some citizens in Taiwan. We failed to get genuine universal suffrage, but now more Hongkongers are paying attention to what is happening in society.
Many people have said that no matter how hard we fight for universal suffrage, we will be unable to change the minds of the leaders in Beijing. However, if in future there is another peaceful movement like Occupy Central I will support it.
We cannot hope to change policies unless we keep fighting for democracy and it is a fight that must continue.
Shum Wing-yee, Kowloon Tong
Student had to go public about meeting
I wish to comment on the decision by a student to talk in public about the debate on Professor Johannes Chan Man-mun and the vacant post of pro-vice-chancellor at the University of Hong Kong council.
The council voted not to offer the post to Professor Chan.
It would appear that the central government was concerned, because of his links to pro-democracy activists.
A student representative on the council abandoned the council's confidentiality rules to reveal the reasons some members opposed Professor Chan's appointment.
He did so because he felt angry over what had happened. He therefore felt it was important to go public, because he felt the meeting had been unfair.
From what he said I believe the reasons given for Professor Chan not being offered the post were just excuses. Had I been the student representative on the council I believe I would have done the same thing and would have breached confidentiality rules and would have gone public about the meeting.
It seemed that his bid to become pro-vice-chancellor was doomed from the start.
I think that what happened revealed the dark side of the council and showed a lack of genuine democracy.
It indicated that the central government can control and influence anything it wants to in Hong Kong, whether it is the economy, education and general freedom.
We need to make it clear to Beijing what kind of government we want to see in the SAR and that we do not want government models forced on us by the leadership of the central government.
Kasey Chung, Yau Yat Chuen
Give children more time for playing
I agree with the comment that we could learn from the example set in Finland and give children less homework.
There have been cases of primary schoolchildren committing suicide because they could not cope with the stress and this is a very worrying trend.
I think that one of the main causes for stress is the large amount of homework faced even by primary school students. By contrast, children from Finland have much less homework. They are allowed more time to play, instead of having to spend so much spare time studying. Generally speaking, the focus in Hong Kong is on academic results and fighting to get into one of the prestigious schools. However, what is the point of doing well in exams if the price you pay is losing your childhood?
Also, some parents often force their children to a lot of extracurricular activities, such as music and dancing. I agree that hobbies are important to a child, but sometimes the motivation of parents for signing up to these classes is to make their children more competitive. In Finland, I reckon that children find the hobbies that really interest them through playing instead of taking lots of classes after school.
There is nothing wrong with helping children get good jobs as adults.
However, they must be given time to play and to find themselves. They should be allowed to follow their heart.
Children in Finland should be grateful that they do not have to endure Hong Kong's dysfunctional education system.
Kitty Pang Kit-hang, Tai Wai
Gaining from far fewer assignments
I agree with those people who argue that school students in Hong Kong should be given fewer assignments to do at home.
I do not think they benefit from having a lot of homework to do. Some might claim that homework helps to motivate students and aids the process of revising.
It helps them to practise what they have learned in the classroom. However, I do not think that such claims are valid.
I will acknowledge that there has to be homework and a certain amount can bring some of the advantages described. However, I think students in Hong Kong are given too many assignments.
If students' workload is too heavy, then this will be seen as a burden rather than something which will motivate them.
They may lose their natural curiosity for learning.
Having a really tough workload can create a vicious cycle. It may lead to some students who are struggling, questioning their own abilities.
It could be bad for their physical and mental health and in some cases lead to tragedy.
Some young people, unable to cope with the overbearing academic pressure, have taken their own lives.
If they are stressed over the amount of work they are facing in the evening after the school day has ended, they may suffer from lack of sleep and feel tired and depressed.
Their health is very important and they should be trying to strike a balance.
Overall, I cannot see any reason why schools should not change their policies. They should decide that they will give their pupils fewer assignments to do.
Travis Lui Chun-ho, Sha Tin
Angry with photos that fool consumer
The report ("Discovery Bay property owner loses suit over partly blocked sea view", October 3), expresses the risks of buying property that sports a here today, gone tomorrow view.
Making life even harder is the predilection of advertising executives for running fake photo montages in the media.
Photos depict new developments apparently sitting in splendid parkland or benefiting from panoramic ocean views.
The small print invariably points out that the image in no way reflects reality. But how can such a disclaimer be considered a common sense or honest solution? It isn't.
Surely, Hong Kong's newspapers have a duty to tell developers that they won't publish fictitious images of ostensibly Elysian property developments that are figments of a designer's imagination.
I realise that an ad sale is an ad sale, and the Hong Kong government, as a client of big business, isn't likely to challenge property developers to force them to get real.
It seems as though everyone is in league to fool the consumer.
Simon Osborne, Pok Fu Lam
Teach about the virtues of legal parking
Higher parking fees are causing more drivers to park illegally.
Renting a parking space is getting increasingly expensive, having gone up around 40 per cent in the last five years.
It is cheaper for them to pay parking tickets than pay the monthly charge to rent a space.
Another reason they park illegally, is convenience. They think it is a waste of time to find a public car park. It may be some distance from a person's home or place of work. They may face a walk of about 20 minutes. Therefore they would rather park illegally if they can be closer to their homes.
One possible solution would be for the government to increase the penalty for illegal parking which would make it a costlier option for vehicle owners. This would an economic disincentive.
The drivers would choose to park in legal spaces as the cost of paying steep fines was closer to the monthly rent for a parking space.
In the long-term, the government needs to educate drivers. It can raise the awareness of drivers by making advertisements to promote the fact that it is morally correct to park legally.
The drivers would start appreciating that illegal parking blocks roads and can cause difficulties for other road users. Education can help to change attitudes.
Hopefully, motorists would then start looking at things from the perspective of these other road users and change their ways.
Liz Chan Wing, Tseung Kwan O