Letters to the Editor, May 19, 2016
Disrespectful protests can backfire
On the day top mainland official Zhang Dejiang (張德江) arrived in Hong Kong for his three-day visit, pro-democracy protesters unfurled a large yellow banner on Beacon Hill which said, “I want genuine universal suffrage.”
I understand their desire to voice their opinions, but I think this was inappropriate.
Since Zhang is one of the leaders of the state, Hong Kong citizens should show him some respect.
Although these protesters were not going to have direct access to Zhang, I think draping the banner on this hill was a stupid thing to do.
I believe Hong Kong people should express their views about issues such as democracy to the central government, but they should do it in a civil manner. Being impolite could prove counterproductive.
However, Beijing did sign a binding agreement saying that Hong Kong would enjoy a high degree of autonomy after the handover.
Hong Kong citizens have every right to strive for democracy, and the central government should keep its promise about allowing Hong Kong to be a democratic society.
This does not seem to have happened, with another closed election for the next chief executive. I hope that Beijing will gradually allow Hong Kong to be a more democratic city in the future.
Tobie Tse Wai-hei, Mid-Levels
Minibuses should be monitored
Too often in Hong Kong government departments make excuses for not implementing simple measures that would improve the quality of our lives. Parking, smoking in public places, littering, neon signs and noise pollution readily come to mind.
It is therefore refreshing that the newly formed Taxi Council has introduced an app that enables taxi passengers to rate the service, cleanliness, punctuality and safety of their travel experience.
Surely, the Transport Department should immediately follow suit and introduce a mandatory system to monitor mini-buses that too often fall well short of acceptable standards.
Jim Francis, North Point
Give students cheaper fares on buses, too
Students enjoy a concessionary fare when we take the MTR, but we do not receive the same benefit when we take a bus, which is also a common mode of transport for students in Hong Kong.
Bus companies should follow the example set by the MTR Corporation and grant students reduced fares.
There are a lot of places in Hong Kong which do not have MTR stations, for example, Siu Sai Wan, Southern District and Sai Kung.
When students go to these areas (if their school is there), taking a bus is often the only option. This can be costly for young people from low-income families.
Students are entirely dependent on their families for financial support.
Having to pay a full fare when they take buses, especially if they have to do this regularly, can impose a huge financial burden during the school year on parents earning low wages.
A reduced bus fare would definitely help low-income families and enable these young people to take the most convenient form of transport to their school.
Keith Tse, Mid-Levels
Relocation of special school a smart move
I refer to the report, “School relocation plan gets green light” (May 10).
I think it is good that a school for boys with emotional and behavioural problems is to be relocated from south Lantau to Tuen Mun. The equipment at their premises on Lantau is old and it is in a remote location. The pupils needed a better study environment and with the new premises, the Tung Wan Mok Law Shui Wah School will be able to expand.
We should not discriminate against special needs schools. These schools exist for students to deal with the problems they are experiencing and to integrate in society.
There had been opposition expressed by a school head in Tuen Mun to the relocation plan, but I think it is a good idea.
Angel Au, Sham Shui Po
Rethink on education is long overdue
The present education system in Hong Kong puts a lot of pressure on students, especially with the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education.
They have to focus so much on their studies that they have little or no time to relax. Stress can be so bad that some youngsters take their own lives.
Part of the problem is that schools are giving out too much homework.
Even during holidays, teachers will often give students a lot of homework and revision exercises. On top of that, they often have tutorial classes and extracurricular activities.
I think the school day should be shortened.
With such a heavy workload, it is hardly surprising many youngsters feel so depressed, because they have difficulty dealing with the stress. Some teenagers do not know how to deal with it properly.
Schools need to shift their focus. Instead of just thinking about the school’s reputation they should focus more on students’ needs. It is time for all of us in society to recognise that there is a problem that the pressure students face is far too much, especially given the fact that this is a highly competitive city.
A re-evaluation of the education system in Hong Kong is definitely necessary.
Charlie Poon, Yau Yat Chuen
Rule-breaking dog owners set a bad example
Although public housing estate tenants are banned from having pets, some ignore the rules and this can bring problems to other residents.
First of all, there can be a noise problem, for example, if they have a dog that is barking a lot.
This is especially bad when people get home from work and just want to relax and enjoy a peaceful evening.
Rules exist on housing estates for a reason and they should be obeyed. It is just the same as having laws which apply to the whole of society.
I think the key here is education and citizens, especially youngsters, must be taught about the importance of obeying rules.
Yung Chau-yin, Tseung Kwan O
Pedestrians at risk on uneven pavements
I refer to the report, “Legco glue fix not applied to riot-hit area” (May 9).
While this story was about security arrangements ahead of a visit by state leader Zhang Dejiang (張德江), it made me think about the general state of pavements in Hong Kong.
I believe that the quality of pavements in the city is just not good enough. They are often not stable and if some slabs are damaged, then the surfaces are uneven.
This is very dangerous for us, especially elderly pedestrians. They are more likely to have a fall on a pavement with an uneven surface and sustain an injury, which in some cases could be serious.
It is clear the government has not been paying attention to this issue, given the state of some pavements in the city.
It is important for the relevant department to ensure damaged pavements are repaired so that they are safe for pedestrians.
Phoebe Ko, Tseung Kwan O