Letters to the Editor, January 3, 2017
Teach gender equality from an early age
Equality in education is an important issue, as gender equality guidelines improve education for men and women.
The goal of providing better education for women does not mean neglecting the rights of men. It is about placing men and women on an equal level, recognising the value of women.
Also, it can decrease the pressure on boys who in the past had been put under pressure to conform to traditional roles and ways of thinking. This created stereotypes which can now be eliminated with a more gender-balanced education system.
In the workplace, women have often found that their contribution is not appreciated and they have had to sacrifice a lot for their family and in pursuit of their careers.
The empowerment of women in society is now recognised as a human rights issue. However, gender inequality cannot be fully eliminated by the implementation of legal and administrative measures.
Education is very important, so that people develop a change of attitude and are taught to recognise the positive impact of gender equality in a society.
A society benefits and advances when the women in it are not deprived of their rights, but are treated equally.
And this recognition of equality should start from an early age, so that children recognise gender equality and are given equal access to educational resources.
Charlie Poon, Yau Yat Chuen
Hoping for less cruelty and death in 2017
A horrible 2016 ended with a world rife with fracture and rage.
Tyrants and terrorists trailed blood and rubble across the Middle East and Europe and refugees drowned in the Mediterranean. Right-wing extremism and xenophobia are on the march.
The American election set loose old racial hatreds. The Earth got hotter. The first hour of 2017 witnessed a murder of innocent patrons celebrating the New Year at an Istanbul nightclub.
The desperate sea of humanity escaping brutality, poverty and threats to life continues. There are more refugees on the move than at any time since 1945.
The antidote for a 2017 pregnant with danger and uncertainty is to assert that there is humanity and dignity in every person, however poor or desperate. Yet our leaders remain silent on guarding against the perilous hysteria that reduces those we believe threaten our livelihoods and prosperity to being nameless numbers that is a prelude to their banishment.
The world must realign its moral axis to breed the courage to speak out against cruelty exacted against those different from us and the vulnerable homeless. As Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
Joseph Ting, Carina, Queensland, Australia
TSA does not help Primary Three students
I do not agree with those who back the resumption of the Primary Three Territory-wide System Assessment (TSA).
This can only lead to schools once again increasing their drilling of pupils. They are concerned that TSA results will affect their ranking and admission rate, despite what officials might say.
This puts a lot of pressure on school heads and so I think it is inevitable that pupils will face a lot of drilling because of TSA.
Students do not benefit from TSA, because it is not evaluating them individually and looking at areas where they can make improvements. They know it will not affect their prospects and so there is little enthusiasm on their part and they will not give it their full attention.
There is no strong case for resuming Primary Three TSA.
Angel Au, Yau Yat Chuen
Cutting back on homework is impractical
Many students in local schools complain that they have too much homework and say that limits should be imposed. They argue that because of their workload, they do not have sufficient time to relax in the evening and at weekends.
I would not be in favour of schools implementing a policy of less homework as I do not think it is the best way to reduce pressure.
It is difficult to cut it across the board, because different students approach their homework in their own way.
For example, some youngsters might welcome having up to 10 assignments a day and feel it is not excessive, while others might take the view that it is far too much.
Therefore, asking schools to have a uniform homework policy that applies to all its students is not really feasible, given that they have varying levels of ability and are doing different subjects.
However, what schools can do is educate students about the most efficient way to manage their time and how to deal with the pressure that can come with their studies and with sometimes having a lot of homework. What matters is for schools and students to keep open the lines of communication.
Tiffany Wong, Sham Shui Po
Why mainland visitors cut spending
Even though there was an 18 per cent increase in the number of mainland tourists over the Christmas holiday period, this was not matched by a rise in spending in Hong Kong’s shops (“HK tourism surges, but shopping frenzy fizzles out”, December 28).
I think that, in the past, the Hong Kong economy, especially the retail sector, has depended too much on mainland tourism.
The tourism sector should accept that times have changed and try to diversify and attract more visitors from countries in Southeast Asia and Europe.
The number of overseas tourists during the Christmas holiday increased by 2.5 per cent, so there is clearly a lot of potential in this global market.
I think the reason mainland visitors spent less is because more of them are not just visiting Hong Kong, but going further afield.
Living standards have improved on the mainland and so they are now visiting more countries.
Products they would usually purchase here can often be bought in these places.
If they are planning a longer holiday abroad, they will often stay in Hong Kong for a shorter period, say one or two days. Obviously, if they are here for a shorter period, then they will spend less.
I think things will improve if the tourism industry recognises this and decides to diversify and depend less on visitors from north of the border.
Mandy Yeung, Yau Yat Chuen
Renewable energy must be top priority
Air pollution in Beijing has become more serious.
The thick smog affects all residents and many walk around wearing masks. But they often still end up suffering from various diseases including respiratory illness. Because of wind flow, this smog can affect nearby cities and even parts of other countries.
It is important that people should be able to live in a clean environment. Apart from the damage to health, this smog can also hurt the nation’s economy.
The central government should be accelerating its programmes to develop more renewable energy sources. It should also have more campaigns on TV explaining to people what they can do to try and help clean up the air. Other countries are doing these things and ensuring they have much cleaner air.
Leung Man-kit, Kowloon Tong