Letters to the Editor, September 04, 2016
Most teachers are diligent professionals
I find it disheartening that the education authorities have threatened to dismiss teachers if they abide by localist views.
As an ex-secondary school teacher, I understand the mentality of these professionals. They teach to impart knowledge, to nurture the growth of youngsters into responsible citizens of this city.
It is their right and duty to share their life experiences with their students in ways they deem fit.
Teachers have to go through years of training before they are certified. They are interviewed before being employed. On-the-job training is also essential. So they have all reached a certain level of professionalism.
If they display that professionalism and are good at their jobs, they should not be dismissed. When deciding on their continued employment, how they stand politically should not be seen as a priority.
Some new teachers have problems with classroom discipline. Others may not be sufficiently well-versed with their subjects. But if these obstacles can be overcome with individuals’ efforts and the help of colleagues, I think the number of recruited teachers to be expelled should be kept at a minimum.
Teaching is a respectable profession. It is both unfortunate and undesirable that teachers should be involved in political strife in a society.
Student movements have gathered momentum in our local schools. Now some teachers have become involved.
If this kind of political infiltration in our schools is allowed to spread, one day, these institutions could become breeding grounds for youngsters espousing revolutionary ideology and this could threaten academic freedom and independence.
Jacqueline Kwan, Mid-Levels
Independence is suitable topic of discussion
I do not agree with executive councillor Cheung Chi-kong, who said independence for Hong Kong should not be discussed in schools and that it was “a political demand that would inevitably lead to ‘violent’ actions” (“Localist leaflets to be given out in Hong Kong schools”, August 31).
I believe that rather than banning it, if we respect freedom of speech, it is appropriate to talk about independence in liberal studies classes.
The pros and cons should be discussed, as part of the overall goal of getting students to talk in-depth about all aspects of current affairs. And students are entitled to say whether or not they support it.
Whatever the Basic Law or China’s constitution says, if people believe in independence for Hong Kong, they are entitled to express their views.
Instead of attempting to sweep it under the carpet, we should be asking what is motivating so many Hongkongers to think this way, given that this is unprecedented.
We should be trying to understand the social and political factors that have led to this.
Peter Tam, Tseung Kwan O
Consumers should always check labels
I refer to the report, “Soy sauces contain potential carcinogen” (August 16).
Soy sauce is one of the most common condiments in Chinese cuisine, often added to dishes to improve the taste.
Now the Consumer Council has revealed that a substance which is thought to cause cancer (if a lot is consumed) was found in 11 of 40 soy sauce samples that it tested.
This clearly presents a problem that has to be addressed and highlights the need to do more to ensure food safety in Hong Kong.
Citizens need to take greater care. It is up to all of us to read the labels on products before we buy them so that we know exactly what they contain. Then we can decide if they are safe.
The government also has a role to play. It should take samples of all soy sauce on sale and carefully check them and it should remind manufacturers that their nutrition labels must be accurate.
When the relevant government department is made aware of problems over products, it should make the necessary improvements, so that all brands of that product, in this case soy sauce, are safe for consumers. Companies must ensure all their products are safe and accurately labelled.
Rachel Leung Cho-kwan, Sham Shui Po
Some breeds of dog unsuitable for Hong Kong
I refer to the court case where a woman was fined HK$18,000 and ordered to have her two Tibetan mastiffs listed as dangerous after they attacked her neighbour who ended up in hospital (“Woman threatens to jump as dogs put on ‘dangerous’ list”, August 30).
I think this case highlights the problems associated with keeping some breeds of dogs in a city like Hong Kong. The government must recognise this and take appropriate action.
It has to decide which breeds of dog should not be kept here and then introduce the necessary restrictions.
Tibetan mastiffs are large dogs and they can be dangerous. I think there are other breeds of dogs that should not be kept in the typical Hong Kong apartment.
If the government does not come up with a list of barred breeds, then we will see more of these kinds of canines being purchased by citizens.
They can be dangerous for pedestrians and people living in the same estate who may be attacked.
Their import to Hong Kong should be restricted. I also think that the courts must get tougher with owners whose dogs attack and bite people. I do not believe a fine is always enough, or at least, it should be increased.
Harsher punishment can encourage owners to make sure their dogs are leashed and muzzled and pose no threat.
Joyce Chang, Yau Yat Chuen
Cooling-off period long overdue
The recent closure of California Fitness gyms in Hong Kong showed that consumers have insufficient protection in certain areas. This is something that the government needs to rectify.
Ex-members of the gyms described how they were persuaded to purchase high-priced private training sessions through questionable sales tactics which were criticised by the Consumer Council.
The regulations governing consumer rights must be tightened. People should object if they feel they are being coerced into signing a contract and the Consumer Council must act promptly and expose firms which employ these practices by making their details public.
Cooling-off periods must be introduced so that if people change their minds, they can withdraw from a contract. Some countries have established cooling-off period regulations and the Hong Kong government can learn from these examples.
The city has a reputation as a shopping paradise, and if we want to keep that title, we need to protect consumers.
Katie Lee Hoi-kei, Kowloon Tong
Some scientists are predicting colder weather
I am disappointed in the senior scientist at Hong Kong Observatory, Lee Sai-ming (“We must focus on big picture of man-made global warming”, August 25).
Years after the scientific community responded to the total lack of evidence regarding “man-made global warming” and started to emphasise humanity’s potentially catastrophic influence on the climate by referring to “climate change”, Mr Lee reverts to “man-made global warming”. They are all based upon a fraction of a degree of extra heat during the summer months.
He then refers to a consensus among scientists, which surely cannot be questioned. Consensus and science, Mr Lee? He then goes on about how future generations will suffer (if drastic action is not taken).
He must be aware that future projections are based on computer models that even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change acknowledged to be less than reliable. A large body of scientists still argue that we are in for an extended period of colder weather, which bodes ill for humanity.
Let us hope that those who talk about warming are correct and the planet does indeed experience a little bit of healthy extra warmth.
Short-term measurements may suggest a warming phase, but these are nothing extraordinary compared to periods of much warmer weather decades and centuries in the past.
G. Bailey, Ta Kwu Ling