Letters to the Editor, August 9, 2016
Parents should stop pushing their children
I am concerned about the way some parents are bringing up their children in Hong Kong, determined that they do well in school, no matter what.
They move to neighbourhoods like Kowloon Tong, to give their children a better chance of getting into a good school. They will force them to join a lot of extracurricular activities in the hope of giving them an edge. They seem to forget how they suffered when they were children in the local education system.
Just like their children, they had to endure a spoon-feeding culture in the classroom. Critics say this kills creativity and crushes many of the goals and dreams that young people have. Having a positive attitude towards life and other people is what really matters, rather than succeeding in the local education system.
There can be watersheds in the lives of young people when they make decisions that can change their lives. That turning point differs with each person and some teenagers will lose their way academically. They will become disillusioned because of spoon-fed education and begin to question the purpose of going to school every day.
I hope more young people adopt the right attitude and stick with their goals. Trying to chase your dream is more important than blindly going ahead with what you are told to do in school and trying to perform well in exams whatever the cost.
Parents should not just focus on academic success and should let their children chase their dreams.
Rico Lam Man-ho, Ma On Shan
Students left with very little time to relax
I agree with correspondents who have been critical of the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (DSE).
Students have to study six to seven subjects, including a core subject. This puts a lot of pressure on them as they have so much to study. The teachers cannot finish the syllabus in class and so extra lessons often have to be organised.
Many youngsters also sign up for extracurricular activities to improve their prospects, even if they are not that keen on taking part.
Faced with so much pressure, it is not surprising that a lot of teenagers studying in local schools are not happy.
I think the root of the problem when looking at the education system is the DSE. It is pushing teenagers, and forcing them to do lots of different things.
This imposes on them a very busy schedule and it leaves them with very little time to relax and to do the things they really like doing.
I think there is a need now for the government to review the DSE, recognise the problems that exist and come up with ways to improve the system in local schools.
Michaela Tse, Tsz Wan Shan
Families get on if they try to keep talking
Relations in many families in Hong Kong between children and their parents are bad, but I wonder if sometimes youngsters exaggerate.
I think too often young people take their parents for granted and fail to recognise the sacrifices they make. They provide us with a home, cook for us and take care of us when we are sick.
I do appreciate the criticism that some mothers and fathers can be overprotective and sometimes force youngsters to do things they do not want to do.
What is important is for children and parents to keep open the lines of communication and talk through any differences they might have.
Anson Lam, Tseung Kwan O
Duterte’s tough stand can curb drug crime
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said his first priority following his election was to eliminate illicit drugs in society.
To achieve his aim he has introduced extreme measures and I agree with what he is doing (“Dozens surrender in wake of Duterte’s ultimatum on drugs”, August 9).
The prevalence of these drugs poses a serious threat to the country, with many citizens becoming addicted. Once that happens it ruins their lives. They can no longer work and with so many addicts in this condition they are a liability to the country.
Also, to feed their habit they will commit crimes and one of the side-effects of these narcotics is that addicts can become psychotic.
If look back through history you can see the devastating effect of drugs in different societies, for example, the way opium addiction undermined the Qing dynasty in the 19th century.
In the last month the security forces in the Philippines have killed hundreds and jailed thousands of people linked to the drugs trade. I think the tough stand being taken by Duterte acts as a warning and it will lead to a reduction in drug-related crimes.
Some critics may feel he has gone too far.
However, I do not think it is fair for Hongkongers to look at how law and order operate in our city and use it as a yardstick to judge the Philippines and the actions Duterte has taken.
Our judicial system works well within the context of Hong Kong. But I doubt if it would be effective at tackling the widespread illegal drug problem in the Philippines, so it is not fair to make a comparison.
Duterte faces a serious crisis and extreme measures have to be adopted to deal with it effectively.
I think that if he succeeds in his campaign, the Philippines will emerge as a stronger country.
Ben Wong, Tseung Kwan O
Critics fear rail link will be a white elephant
Concerns have been expressed by some citizens over the high-speed rail project which will link Hong Kong with Guangzhou.
Supporters point to the success of high-speed networks in Europe and Asia and say it will bring Hong Kong closer to mainland cities.
However, I have concerns about whether it is really necessary for Hong Kong or if it will become a white elephant. And there are still unresolved issues such as having mainland customs and immigration officers at the Hong Kong terminus in West Kowloon.
We are told that thanks to the high-speed link travellers would save 16 minutes, but is that really important? That isn’t even long enough to have lunch.
The controversy over this project highlights the need for the Hong Kong government to always (not selectively) listen to citizens on all matters.
Eve Wong, Hang Hau
Impose 2am switch-off for bright lights
Many people do not get enough sleep for various reasons, including working late into the night or staying out with friends. Another reason why some individuals do not get enough sleep in Hong Kong is light pollution.
In many urban areas, bright lights stay switched on even late at night and this can be a problem for nearby residents. It is getting more serious and concrete action is required.
Advertising signs on streets in areas like Mong Kok are a major source of this kind of pollution. They are very bright and will often stay on from as early as 7pm until 2am.
Time limits must be imposed and these lights should be turned off after 11pm. In the long term, improvements in urban planning are needed so there is a separation of residential and commercial areas.
Candy Wong, Tseung Kwan O