Letters to the Editor, May 31, 2016
Why Olympic glory remains elusive for city
Congratulations to Robert Wilson for his Insight article (“The weakest link”, May 28), making the interesting comparison between our sports performance at the Olympics and that of Denmark with a much smaller population.
Of course it is more complicated than his article implies but he has been heading rowing as a sport for more than half a century as a free, independent and highly successful organisation.
The Jockey Club provided the funds for the rowing centre at Sha Tin and for the Sports Institute next door. It gave a major donation to the sports centre in Yuen Long.
The Yuen Long football pitch was built by public donation, with support on the cost of the land agreed to personally by Sir John Cowperthwaite, who was then financial secretary.
The Jockey Club is supplying funds for the Football Academy at Tseung Kwan O. The Jockey Club is not a government organisation. Its stewards are public-spirited individuals who enjoy horse racing.
Therein lies the secret. Where would we be without this public facilitator? The Academy for Performing Arts, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, schools and clinics can be added to the list.
The point here is that having provided the funds in most instances, the Jockey Club retires from the scene and leaves the management of the facility to a dedicated gathering, an association of individuals. That is what Bob Wilson was getting at.
This will require a sea change on the part of government to inspire public participation, to have the courage to trust individuals and gradually to withdraw from the scene, as they have done in Denmark with such success.
David Akers-Jones, Tsim Sha Tsui
Nuclear plants are better than wind power
I refer to the letter by Christy Wong (“Wind power can lower air pollution levels”, May 26).
While I recognise that is a form of renewable energy, I think wind power has some disadvantages. Firstly, it would be costlier to operate in Hong Kong than having more nuclear power supplied from the mainland. If the generation of energy from wind turbines proved to be more expensive, consumers would end with higher electricity bills.
Our two power firms have developed some renewable wind power in Hong Kong, and our tariffs keep going up, so clearly these are costly ventures which we have to pay for. Also, wind power generates less energy than nuclear power plants.
Clearly Hong Kong can gain more from an expansion of nuclear power, rather than trying to develop further the wind power sector.
Victor Cheung, Sheung Shui
Laws essential to curb overfishing
Overfishing is a serious problem globally. If this continues unchecked, fish stocks will be exhausted.
Part of the reason for overfishing is greater demand from increased populations.
The world’s population has grown rapidly since the 1950s. Also, there have been advances in fisheries technology, with fishing fleets having large vessels, which are capable of catching even greater numbers of fish without consideration being given to the consequences. Therefore we have seen fish stocks being reduced throughout the world.
We need to recognise that this is a serious problem and try to curb overfishing so that our beautiful oceans and the marine habitats of fish are preserved.
Governments must address this and end unsustainable fishing practices.
They must come up with policies that allow fish stocks to recover. Wasteful practices such as bottom trawling should be banned. Secondly, fishing quotas must be agreed on and enforced. It is important to achieve a balance between environmental conservation and protecting the livelihood of fishermen.
Laws must be passed stipulating the total weight of fish a vessel can catch. There should be limits set on fishing times and the number of fishing boats in designated areas. I would like to see more marine reserves and marine parks. This can help to sustain fish biodiversity and coral habitats.
Our survival as a race depends on us respecting and preserving nature.
Lam Ki-wing, Sai Kung
High-pressure schooling bad for youngsters
The education system in local schools is putting too much pressure on students and because of this some of them suffer from psychological problems.
I am a student and feel stressed because of homework and exams.
Youngsters who are struggling academically must find it even harder to cope.
If they have emotional problems, it adversely affects their school life and we have seen an increase in the suicide rate among students.
The Diploma of Secondary Education is particularly stressful, because you must do well if you want to get a place at a university.
I am not denying the need for young people in Hong Kong to work hard and try to do their best academically, as this increases their career prospects. But when the pressure is excessive, as is often the case, it is difficult for them to enjoy their lives as they are growing up.
The prevailing philosophy seems to be that studying and acquiring knowledge cannot be a fun experience.
I wish the government and the public would appreciate the problems caused to youngsters by the education system.
Surely when there is such a high suicide rate, it must be recognised by officials that something should be done to rectify the situation.
I hope we will see some reforms in the near future to the way our schools and exam system are organised.
Debbie Wong, Sham Shui Po
Better relations if parents lighten up
I refer to Peter Kammerer’s column (“Hong Kong parents need to take a long, hard look at themselves – and stop piling pressure on their kids”, May 24).
I understand education is important, but why do some parents force their children to join so many extracurricular activities? Is it to help widen their horizons or get them into a good school?
If they put less pressure on their children I am sure they would have a better relationship.
Children should be allowed a more relaxing environment to study.
Parents need to be less overattentive and give their children more freedom when it comes to their studies.
Mandy Yeung, Yau Yat Chuen
Good manners probably too late for adults
I refer to the article, “Angry young man throws away shoes of barefoot Chinese traveller hogging airport seats” (May 24).
The incident happened in the departure hall at Xiamen airport where the man saw a passenger with his shoes and socks off.
It is not the first time mainland citizens have misbehaved in a public area. Incidents like this are repeated throughout the world where they are on holiday. These mainland travellers represent their nation, so when they misbehave, they give a negative impression of the country. It is difficult for adults to change their ways. They will behave badly and not feel embarrassed.
I think the central government should focus on educating teenagers to behave properly. This should start from school and play a part in their character building.
Edward Wong, Tseung Kwan O