Letters to the Editor, January 19, 2017

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 19 January, 2017, 4:17pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 19 January, 2017, 4:17pm

Sex education must be offered by all schools

It is not surprising to read in newspapers about cases of teenage pregnancy in Hong Kong. This is happening mainly because of a lack of sex education.

Many local teenagers do not have sufficient knowledge about sex to be able to protect themselves and this can have serious consequences.

Schools in our city tend to focus on their students getting good academic results, rather than also paying attention to personal growth, including sex education.

When they reach puberty, teenagers are understandably curious about sex and obviously at an age where there is a greater chance of their becoming sexually active. Therefore, it is vitally important that schools ensure they know about the facts of life and about contraception.

If they become pregnant and lack sufficient knowledge, they may even resort to getting an unsafe abortion, with tragic results.

Among some families, talk of subjects such as sex is taboo and teenagers will feel awkward discussing it with their parents. Therefore, schools have an extremely important role to play. They have a responsibility to provide comprehensive sex education.

The Education Bureau must ensure that all schools have sex education classes as part of the timetable and that they look at all relevant issues, so that youngsters are fully informed.

It is not acceptable in this day and age for any school in Hong Kong to neglect sex education, and there can be no excuses. Schools should not just focus on academic subjects and good exam results.

Anna Yu Sing-yip, Yau Yat Chuen

Thatcher took a broken UK and fixed it

Paul Serfaty is wrong with his negative comparison of Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and ­Margaret Thatcher (“Lam must not emulate later era Thatcher”, January 17).

Thatcher took a broken Britain and fixed it. She ­destroyed the stranglehold of the unions over British industry, made Britain competitive ­within Europe and around the world, and she ­remains our greatest post-war leader.

If Carrie Lam or John Tsang Chun-wah governs Hong Kong with the passion with which Thatcher led Britain, we will see a resurgent city, free of the self-righteous importance of the few, replaced with the ­determined direction of the many.

Mark Peaker, The Peak

Pollution in China requires urgent action

Once again last month, severe smog in northern China led to flights being cancelled, and the closure of roads and factories.

The authorities in Beijing regulated private car use, with restrictions imposed, depending on registration numbers. More than 1,200 factories in the printing, construction and petrochemical sectors had to suspend or scale down production.

While I appreciate the reason behind these measures, they fail to get to the root of the problem. Central and regional governments must come up with long-term solutions to deal with the problem of air pollution.

Restrictions on private car use infringe citizens’ rights, and scaling down industrial production could harm the economic development of China.

What the central government needs to do is engage experts and pour resources into research and development so that it can find the best way out of the chronic smog.

The government must address the problem of poor airflow caused by having so many tall buildings. This is exacerbating the air pollution in cities like Beijing. I do hope with the adoption of the right policies, we will soon see lower levels of air pollution on the mainland.

Emily Leung,Tseung Kwan O

More leave for new fathers is what HK needs

Last year, the authorities in Guangdong allowed fathers to take 15 days of paternity leave after the birth of their child, in an ­effort to encourage couples to have a second baby. Other mainland provinces have even more generous provisions.

The central government ­recognises the importance of having to deal with a rapidly ­ageing society and shrinking labour pool. This was why it eased the one-child policy.

Compare this with Hong Kong, where fathers are only ­entitled to three days of paternity leave. And yet it has the same problem as the rest of the ­country regarding an ageing population.

The government should ­increase the amount of paternity leave that employees can take if it wants to increase the birth rate.

I believe such an incentive would make more couples willing to start a family.

Alice Ma, Hang Hau

Israel could give peace a chance

Your correspondent Alan Landau said Israel has time and again offered suggestions for a peaceful resolution of the ­Israeli/Palestinian conflict (“Israel continues to be unfairly singled out by UN and the world”, January 2).

He cited examples of these initiatives and suggested that ­Israel was both fair and generous in taking them. As the peace process has ground down to the usual war of words, it would be admirable if Israel took action to get it moving again.

It should once again offer to return the West Bank along with the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, get rid of its many ­nuclear weapons, stop interfering in Iran’s internal affairs and help its neighbours to get rid of Islamic State.

Also, it should support the two-state solution and stop the contentious ­building of new ­settlements that is causing such resentment.

Such gestures would show Israel is still generous and go a very long way towards stopping ­Israel being unfairly singled out in a most biased fashion. And it would show the world that Israel is giving peace a half-decent chance in the ­Middle East.

Keith McMullen, Tai Po

Set up hotlines for teens who feel suicidal

Some educators have accused the government of doing little to address the problem of teenage suicide.

There are not enough social workers in Hong Kong. This means that, with social workers in schools having so many cases to deal with, some troubled teens slip through the cracks. The government needs to set up ­dedicated hotlines.

Also, most teens use the internet, so the government must reach out to them and help them understand that they are not alone through web-based advertising.

Finally, the government has to recruit more social workers and deploy them to local schools.

This will make it easier for the schools to identify any students facing psychological troubles and get them the help they need before it is too late.

Kaylie Lai, Kwai Chung

Beauty centre regulation will enhance safety

Last month, the Consumer Council called on the government to regulate beauty treatments which require ­medical procedures.

These kinds of treatment are ­becoming increasingly popular in Hong Kong for many reasons.

One of the reasons is that many people are tempted by the advertisements put out by these beauty centres, especially when the companies use celebrities to promote their ­services.

Some people might think that undergoing such a beauty procedure could make them more successful, professionally or socially. However, as demand ­increases, more of these ­beauty centres are opening and, without proper regulation, there is a greater risk of accidents.

The government must regulate the quality of services provided when the treatment involves a medical procedure.

Yoyo Li Tsz-kwan, Yau Yat Chuen