Letters to the Editor, February 27, 2016

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 27 February, 2016, 12:15am
UPDATED : Saturday, 27 February, 2016, 12:15am

Laws needed now to outlaw gender bias

I completely agree with Dr York Chow Yat-ngok’s suggestion that the government should take action on discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people (“We all belong”, January 27).

As a liberal city, Hong Kong should not allow itself to lag behind other countries in promoting gender equality. However, the fact is that Hongkongers are actually more reserved and conservative than they think.

Hong Kong is lacking adequate legislation to fight against gender discrimination. People with special gender orientations are very often vulnerable to prejudiced judgments and attacks from “normal” locals in Hong Kong.

This imposes a great deal of stress on the sexual minorities and can potentially leave a permanent impact on them, thus directly affecting their interpersonal relationships.

Unfair practices like this must never be tolerated, and ­instead should end as soon as possible.

It is not only the LGBTI ­people who should be protected from vicious discrimination; no one in the world should be judged for being who they are.

It does not matter if we are different from others in certain ways, what truly counts is that we have the confidence to ­realise and display our real self. Those people who are brave enough to come out should be applauded and regarded as inspirations to be learned from. They should not be victims put in jeopardy for others to mock.

There is no “true winner” in life as everyone is talented in their own ways. This applies to gender equality. Sexual minorities should not feel inferior just because of their special sexual orientation.

Nobody should be left out due to their uniqueness. Otherwise, the development of our society will very likely remain stagnant for many years to come.

Jessica Wong, Ho Man Tin

Urban plan best option for more housing

I refer to the letter by Tong Tak-yu (“Revamp urban areas and save green-belt land”, February 22), and I agree with the writer that the government should strike a balance between the needs of society and the environment.

Although the topic of ­whether to use green-belt land or redevelop urban areas has been controversial, it indicates that solving the housing ­problem is making headway. There’s an urgency to handling the issue. If the problem cannot be dealt with properly, it may cause more negative social ­effects for Hong Kong.

I support redeveloping the urban areas rather than extensive use of green-belt land which would damage our environment.

Redevelopment of urban areas can directly solve two problems – not just the amount of housing but also the poor ­living conditions people now have to tolerate.

The poor conditions of buildings in urban areas like Mong Kok and Kwun Tong are also another big issue in Hong Kong which cannot be overlooked. If redevelopment of the urban areas can solve these two problems at the same time, it is well worth doing.

If the government insists on using green-belt land there should be strict limitations to help avoid harming the environment and to ensure people have places to relax.

At the same time, the urban redevelopment should also be implemented on a small scale first to see whether it pushes up prices and will affect the factories and people nearby.

Roslin Law, Tseung Kwan O

Parents should not just focus on university

Why vocational education is not widespread in Hong Kong can be attributed to the misconception that it is just for those who don’t make the grade for entry to a university.

It is seen as a second choice as academic pursuits are valued more highly than vocational education and university ­degrees are highly recognised and rewarded.

However, university may not be the only worthwhile goal. Vocational students can also learn workplace skills and join internships which can widen their ­horizon. Sometimes, experience is more important than academic results at work.

The fact that vocational education is not ubiquitous stems from the pressure and aspirations of peers and parents. Some parents want their children to get a university place at all costs and many teens are also afraid their peers would not accept them with anything less than a university degree. ­Without the support of peers and parents, teenagers are not willing to pursue the vocational path.

Knowing these grave effects, we should take effective measures to remedy the problem. If I were a government official, I would hold more talks and place more adverts to clarify the misconceptions toward vocational education. Students who have successfully been through the vocational system also should be invited to talk about their job opportunities.

Vocational education should be seen as an invaluable career path option.

Zita Chan Long-sum, Yau Yat Chuen

Homework load too much for students

I refer to the letter by Yoyo Sin Lok-yiu (“Teens can aim for ­better time management”, ­February 22). Your correspondent rightly points out that ­students are bombarded with too much homework.

As a student, I really understand the stiff competition youngsters face in local schools.

To force students to learn more and remember what was covered in class, teachers dish out an increasing number of worksheets. But the process is largely spoon-feeding which doesn’t help students in the long term when they join the workforce.

They will only be used to ­taking instructions, not using their own initiative. Besides, too much homework not only puts pressure on students but also causes physical harm. Burning the midnight oil can adversely affect their health. And, as your correspondent said, too much stress may ­damage students’ interpersonal relationships, and mental and physical health.

To my mind, students can help themselves with suitable management of time. They can draw up a timetable and stick to it. This can help clear the workload efficiently.

As long as the homework can be done on time, and at a high standard, students can then ­relax and enjoy some down time.

Everyone has different ways to relax but I highly recommend taking a break just after the work has been finished. It helps to clear the brain and eases the pressure of study.

Li Chun-ip, Lam Tin

Supermarkets can help cut food waste

I am writing about requiring supermarkets to reduce food waste.

First, Hong Kong’s supermarket chains should understand that it is important to pay special attention to environmental issues, charity work and historic preservation, because it is our way of supporting the community.

Besides, in France a law was passed to require large supermarkets to donate edible unsold food to charities for immediate distribution to people in need. Hong Kong should follow the overseas example.

At present supermarket chains in Hong Kong are being encouraged to launch food ­recycling programmes. Food waste can be collected daily and turned into compost or animal feed, reducing the organic waste produced every day.

Nicole Wong Yuen-shan, Tseung Kwan O