Letters to the Editor, February 19, 2017

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 19 February, 2017, 12:15am
UPDATED : Sunday, 19 February, 2017, 12:15am

Stress caused by unrealistic expectations

The news reports of three young secondary school students committing suicide after the Lunar New Year holidays is alarming.

There have been a number of these tragedies over the past few years.

Some people put the blame on the education system in Hong Kong. As a teacher, I completely agree that students face too much stress in their studies. There are those who say this stress comes from the heavy workload and others who blame the fierce competition for an undergraduate place at one of our local universities, but I am not sure if they are right. Fewer students are now taking the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education and in recent years more university places have become available.

I think the real cause of the stress is that perceptions of education have changed and they have done so in a negative way.

We have high expectations of our children and, while there is nothing wrong with that, it comes a problem when these hopes are unrealistic.

Children may be encouraged to aim for the top tier academically when this is beyond their ­capabilities.

Many parents want their sons and daughters to become professionals, such as doctors, lawyers and accountants. But only about 18 per cent of these students annually enter university. And many undergraduate programmes do not train people to enter a profession.

Children are being told they must stand out, with the emphasis being placed on results.

We eradicate their individuality by telling them what they need in school are good grades. We still blindly believe that ­“getting good grades means ­getting good jobs means getting a promising future”, something which has not been proved.

When they face this sort of pressure some children cannot ­handle it.

When it comes to our kids, we need to ensure that we show more love and support. All stakeholders are responsible – schools, parents, the government and the friends of students suffering emotional problems.

Jason Lam, Sai Wan Ho

Make local youngsters the priority

We keep hearing officials from the Hong Kong government talking about the need to bring in talented personnel from ­outside the city to help boost its economic growth and make it more competitive.

They see this as even more important since the administration embraced the central government’s “One Belt, One Road” trade initiative. In its rush to bring in these gifted individuals, it appears to have forgotten local young people.

The need is to launch more programmes that provide ­opportunities for Hong Kong youngsters and offer professional and vocational training to them. These can be set up in schools and universities. And when it comes to allocating ­resources, the priority must be young Hongkongers and ­helping them learn new skills.

Offering the right kind of education to locals is more ­important than offering it to youngsters from overseas.

This policy should apply to students of all ages. So, for example, when it comes to allocating places at primary schools in North District, local children must be at the front of the queue.

Simon Chung, Kwun Tong

Schools and athletes rely on sports ground

The Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre is an iconic building and one of the landmarks of Hong Kong’s ­world-famous Victoria ­Harbour.

Extending it will mean it can hold more conventions and this will attract more visitors from abroad. Obviously that is good news for the tourism sector.

However, Wan Chai Sports Ground is also a very important venue for a lot of people, ­including individual athletes, students and other ­organisations.

Apart from being vital for their training, for those who have used it regularly over the years it is part of their collective memory.

It is used by schools in the Central, Causeway Bay and Wan Chai areas, because it is the only fully equipped ground nearby with a proper running track and all the necessary equipment for track and field training.

It has been used by many young people who went on to excel as professional athletes. Therefore I would not like to see it disappear so that the convention centre can be expanded. The government must recognise the importance of sports development and that Wan Chai Sports Ground is an integral part of this.

It should try and find alternatives to scrapping this important sporting venue and still being able to offer more convention facilities.

Joey Leung Man-nga, Yau Yat Chuen

Iran is a nation that exports terrorism

The US government is fully justified in imposing a visa ban on Iranians (“Iran consulate in Hong Kong rejects Americans’ visa applications in retaliation to President Donald Trump’s travel ban”, February 11).

This is a country that actively sponsors and exports international terrorism (for example, attacks sponsored in Argentina and Germany).

It also brainwashes its ­citizens with hatred toward the West.

Further, a number of other Muslim countries have imposed a ban on people holding an ­Israeli passport.

Kristiaan Helsen, Sai Kung

Online dating convenient, but be wary

In the run-up to Valentine’s Day last week, a lot of attention was focused on online dating platforms which are becoming ­increasingly popular.

However, it is important that people using these websites take simple but important ­precautions.

Social network sites have shown phenomenal growth, but people using online dating sites have to be aware that they are chatting to strangers and some criminals use them as well.

Users should not divulge their personal information to these strangers, as there are so many online scams and for some it is easy to fall into these traps.

People just have to take care when communicating online. If they arrange a date, they should also make sure it is somewhere public, where there are other people. You could even bring along a friend.

These online dating platforms are convenient, especially for people with busy working lives, but users must be aware of the pitfalls. It is about being cautious and thinking about what information about yourself you are ­willing to divulge.

Jason Luk, Tseung Kwan O

Take time over same-sex union law

If controversial bills are passed in Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan, it will be the first Asian society to legalise same-sex marriage.

The Netherlands was the first country to enact a law making same-sex marriage legal in 2001 and since then many countries have followed suit.

However, these laws have met with opposition, for example, from faith-based groups, often resulting in large protests.

I agree with those who want to see same-sex marriage made legal in Hong Kong.

At the moment overseas same-sex marriages are not ­recognised here.

Some surveys have not shown that a majority of those polled supported same-sex unions, although other surveys have shown majority support for a sexual orientation ­anti-discrimination law.

I think what is important is recognising there is still a lot of resistance to legalising same-sex marriage. We must work ­towards a consensus and aim to pass legislation once the ­majority of citizens are willing to accept it.

Chow Ka-wing, Kwai Chung