Online Letters, April 11, 2017
Carrie Lam’s toughest challenge is housing
Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor will face a difficult term as chief executive that will be full of challenges. Many Hongkongers are sceptical because they see her as the victor in what was a small-circle election.
In a sense this is curse she has to live with and it remains to be seen how she will be able to distance herself from this and make changes in government. Actually, it has to be accepted that no elections or political systems are perfect. You have instances in history of a country with democratic elections and yet a dictator still emerges, and another doing well with a benevolent dictator.
People have expressed grave misgivings about Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and yet he was democratically elected.
Mrs Lam should see her election as an opportunity to do something positive for Hong Kong. She will face some serious obstacles, and the most pressing problem she has to deal with is housing. as property prices are skyrocketing. If she adopts the same methods as her predecessors to get more land for housing, she will never be able to meet the rising demand for homes. I believe that if she could persuade the central government to sell part of the garrison in Stanley at market price, the money generated from the sale of land can be earmarked to build public housing, Home Ownership Scheme housing and homes for the elderly in Shek Kong.
When choosing tenants priority should be given to youngsters born after the handover on July 1, 1997. Many of the people who join political protests are from this age group and they will not feel so dissatisfied once they have a home.
One way to deal with the land shortage is to finally scrap the small-house policy, an outdated legacy of history. If this is not done there will be mounting social discontent in the New Territories.
A harmonious society is conducive to smooth administration and therefore the SAR government will need the assistance of the central government. We can look forward to a new era as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the return of Hong Kong to the motherland.
Lo Wai-kong, Yau Ma Tei
So much to gain from outdoor education
It has been pointed out that Hong Kong students do not have enough outdoor activities and spend the whole school day in the classroom. In many countries like America and Canada, outdoor learning is very successful.
Students can study environmental education, and do recreational and adventure activities, personal and social development programmes, and team building. I think the government should provide additional funds for schools to organise more outdoor activities. It is not enough just to have extra PE classes. Some students may be good at sports and want to form teams, but there often is not enough money to equip these teams so they can participate in inter-school competitions.
The relevant government department could organise outdoor activities like tree planting as a way of helping youngsters understand more about environmental protection. They can learn all about the importance of recycling, reducing and reusing, instead of discarding all refuse.
Katherine Chan, Tseung Kwan O
Overbearing parents a product of their environment
The term “monster parents” has been used to describe those mothers and fathers who are overprotective and drive their children academically, with unhealthy psychological consequences.
However, I do not think the parents should be blamed for this kind of behaviour. This is a trend in our society. As Hong Kong advances, with so many demands on young people, parents want to do what they can to ensure their sons and daughters can succeed in this intensely competitive environment. Also, these parents learn the lesson in their workplace that knowledge is power, and that getting a place at a university is one of the best ways to ensure you can have a better standard of living as an adult.
Of course when under intense pressure some youngsters get so desperate they commit suicide, but most learn to deal with it. What really matters is that the lines of communication between parents and children are kept open, so that youngsters can understand what their parents expect of them and parents can appreciate the difficulties being experienced by their children.
Billy Sit, Tseung Kwan O
Students sitting DSE must learn to cope with stress
The stress being felt by students sitting the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) exam has been very high this year (“Stress levels of Hong Kong DSE takers reach three-year high”, April 2).
In two years it will be my turn to sit the exam. I appreciate that the HKDSE does put youngsters under a lot of pressure. I have learned from the experience of my brother who has had to retake the exam twice and I do not want to go through that. He told me that has found having to resit it has caused him a lot of pressure.
I think that those sitting the exam can do things to help them manage this pressure. After they have revised one chapter they should take a break and relax. Continuous revision without any proper breaks will be counterproductive. During the break they should do something like stretching exercises, listen to music or have something to eat.
Also, they need to try to stay positive about things and have the confidence to believe that they can achieve their goals. If they adopt this attitude then I believe they will have the energy to revise effectively.
If they still feel their stress levels are too high and the things I have suggested are not working then they should talk to parents, teachers and friends who will be able to give them advice. Also, talking in this way will help them realise they are not alone.
Jocelly Tse, Hang Hau
Response towards film shows need for greater tolerance
I think it is ridiculous that some countries have banned the Disney film Beauty and the Beast, because it has a gay character.
Instead the film could be used for education, so that children learn about gay people and that they exist in society.
I am glad that Disney had the courage to introduce a gay character into one of its films. He only appears in a few scenes so I do not know what all the fuss is about. Some parents are embarrassed to talk about sex and so this film is a good way to introduce and discuss the topic with their children. It is better to be upfront about it so that children learn about sex education in a healthy, positive way.
I do not want the next generation growing up stigmatising gay people and saying that homosexuality is a crime. I hope to see a tolerant society where there is no discrimination against homosexuals.
Karen Kwok Sin-ying,Yau Yat Chuen