Letters to the Editor, July 18, 2016

PUBLISHED : Monday, 18 July, 2016, 4:48pm
UPDATED : Monday, 18 July, 2016, 4:48pm

Teach young people to think creatively

Hong Kong nowadays lags ­behind other developed economies in the fields of science and technology, because young ­people in Hong Kong are not encouraged to think in a creative or innovative way.

The blame for this rests with the education system. In local schools rote-learning is dominant with students being forced to memorise passages from books.

This does not encourage them to think for themselves. Things have improved a bit with the introduction of liberal ­studies, but that does not tackle the problem of lack of creativity.

I believe the government should follow the example set by Finland and Estonia and ­promote STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) education.

The objectives of STEM ­education are to prepare youngsters for the future needs of ­society through learning ­activities that require knowledge and skills across all the four disciplines so that they will ­develop the necessary capability to solve problems, and be innovative and creative.

Learning how to use scientific methods can help them solve real-life problems. This is better than memorising all the facts in textbooks without really ­knowing what they mean.

With more students trained under STEM education, an increasing number of young ­people will join the workforce able to make a positive contribution to the innovation and technology sector and the personnel shortage problem will be solved.

Kitty Lui Sze-ki, Tseung Kwan O

Children from Finland can enjoy school

I think students have good reason to object to the Hong Kong education system.

They also suffer if they have what are known as “monster parents”, who push their children to the limit and incorrectly think that by doing so, they are helping their children reach their full potential and make them more competitive. For example, they force them to join extracurricular activities. ­Growing up should be, for the most part, a happy experience, but for these youngsters that is often not the case.

Hobbies are important, but young people should be able to choose for themselves.

Aside from these parents, all students have to do a lot of homework. If their workload is too heavy they may lose their natural curiosity and the joy of learning and may end up feeling very stressed. Some get so depressed they take their own lives.

If students are stressed through overwork then it will be difficult for them to sleep properly and this exacerbates their problems. Although I know it is difficult to achieve this, they need to try and strike the right balance between work and play. The Education Bureau should learn from education systems like Finland. Children have far less homework and are given time to play.

In this more relaxing atmosphere they are better placed to improve and develop their communication skills.

Angel Yeung, Shek Kip Mei

Firms can save on bills by switching off

Recent research has expanded on the adverse effect of excess light, showing that night-time light can lead to sleep disturbances.

This is certainly the case in Hong Kong where light pollution is very serious, especially in densely populated urban areas such as Mong Kok. University of Hong Kong scientists found it to be as much as 1,000 times ­brighter than international norms and even rural areas in Hong Kong were affected.

If because of this problem people are not able to get a ­proper night’s sleep then it can detract from their ability to function properly during the day. Citizens need to be aware of this and of the potential problems they face in terms of their health and quality of sleep if they are living close to buildings with a lot of external lighting.

This pollution also damages the ecosystems of animals who have difficulty distinguishing between night and day.

There must be cooperation between citizens and the government. External lighting should be switched off when it is not needed. It also makes financial sense. Firms which switch these lights off when they are not needed save on their energy bills.

The government should monitor the intensity and concentration of the street lights in the evening and monitor other brightly lit advertising billboards.

Emily Leung Choi-yan, Po Lam

Leave backers are tasked with Brexit talks

The UK Conservative Party ­having wrestled itself to the ground is picking up the pieces as it does best with Nanny in charge of the nursery.

A degree of panic at what needs to be done after the Brexit vote meant the possible two- month hiatus of electing a new Prime Minister in secret was abandoned.

Theresa May the new prime minister was not a “leave the EU” campaigner but she has ­produced a cabinet where responsibility for the success or ­failure of Brexit can be clearly laid. Three of her new ministers, all Leave campaigners, are charged with working out the up-to-now non-existent plan “to take back control”.

The actual withdrawal negotiations, the alternative trade arrangements and the overall “making friends with countries who were not ­important up to now” overlap, but are still ­defined responsibilities.

If Britain wants to remain in the single market as Norway, it must accept free movement of labour. But anti-immigration, even with a National Health ­Service heavily dependent on foreign staff, was the real motive for the Brexit vote. Kenneth Clarke, a wise old pro-EU senior Tory, said earlier this month that no two people agree about what Brexit means. He’s right. But at some point a conclusion will have to be reached. A time for accolades or more blood letting.

As Feste the fool in Twelfth Night puts it “the whirligig of time brings in his revenges”.

David Townsend, Kennedy Town

Make diners aware of how dogs suffer

I back campaigns in those countries where dogs are killed for their meat, which encourage this practice to be ended.

I think activists, as part of these campaigns, should make sure diners are aware of how much these animals suffer in ­order for people to eat these dishes containing dog meat.

In these so-called farms, dogs are very badly treated, spending their whole lives in tiny cages and then they are slaughtered.

If people can see how violent their ending is, then they may think twice before ­ordering a dog dish.

However, while I welcome these campaigns to protect dogs, we also need to recognise that pigs and cows are also ­animals. We need to think about their conditions as well.

Rainbow Wong, Tseung Kwan O

Report any suspected child abuse cases

They psychological effect of abuse on a child can be devastating and long-lasting.

While the government has professionals who deal with these cases and there are NGOs, people should be willing to act if they suspect a child may be a victim of abuse.

Delaying making a report to the relevant authorities could have tragic consequences as abuse, unchecked, can sometimes lead to a child fatality.

Of course, I am not saying citizens should take the law into their own hands, but there is nothing wrong with making known their suspicions. They have a responsibility to do so and it will be up the authorities and the courts to decide if the parents are guilty.

The government also has a responsibility to ensure that all children who have been abused are taken away from the environment where they are at risk and found a refuge as soon as they need it.

The administration must ensure there are always sufficient places at care homes.

Wong Ka Lam, Kwun Tong