Letters to the Editor, April 13, 2017

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 13 April, 2017, 4:43pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 13 April, 2017, 4:43pm

Pan-democrat stance smacks of hypocrisy

Many articles were published in the week following our chief executive election. One particular point that stuck in my mind, barring “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung’s futile attempt, was that the pan-democrats did not field anyone.

In the 2007 and 2012 chief executive races, they put up Alan Leong Kah-kit and Albert Ho Chun-yan, respectively, and the pair got enough nominations to get through to the final stage. Why not this year?

Couldn’t they find any talent who was remotely suitable for this race, or was it the fact that no one wanted this impossible task of serving and pleasing two ­masters at the same time?

In the end, they must have come to realise that it’s far better and easier to carry on criticising the government than being put in that unrewarding spot.

They instead backed John Tsang Chun-wah, who is not a pan-democrat and does not share their beliefs, using him as a pawn for their political gain.

They knew, no matter who won the election in the end, they could continue to bash the new chief executive and the government. Now the race is over and they don’t get what they want, they’re crying foul again and going back to spinning a tale of “small circle” election. How hypocritical.

Cecilia Clinch, Mid-Levels

E-car tax break cut is contrary to green aims

Following the latest budget, the first registration tax waiver for electric private cars will be capped at HK$97,500.

With the reduction of this tax break, the price of Hongkongers’ favourite electric vehicles could be doubled.

This is a counterproductive move by the government as some people will now be put off buying these vehicles.

It seems a strange move, given that officials keep talking about trying to clean up Hong Kong’s air pollution.

I do hope that they will have a rethink and do what is good for the environment.

Lo Man-lok, Po Lam

Fossil-fuelled power plants polluting air

We are consuming far too much energy in Hong Kong. This makes our air pollution problems worse, with power plants ­depending on fossil fuels.

Citizens really need to try to be environmentally friendly and the best way to do that is to be energy efficient at home. We should switch off lights when we do not need them.

Hong Kong should also ­invest more in renewable ­energy, such as solar and wind power, so that we become less dependent on fossil fuels.

Anson Wong, Tseung Kwan O

TSA will work if it gets back to the basics

There has been strong criticism of the Territory-wide System ­Assessment (TSA) and the basic competency assessment (BCA) proposed to replace it, as well as calls for such tests to be scrapped in primary schools.

Chief executive-elect Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor has said she will abolish the test, but I think she did this to counter the effects of being so unpopular. I have doubts about whether TSA should be abolished.

Officials had good intentions when the TSA was launched. The tests were meant to gauge the effectiveness of teaching methods and give the Education Bureau a better understanding of how well schools and their students were doing.

However, that intention was lost by schools imposing a heavy workload on students. When I was in Primary Three, I didn’t feel much pressure from the TSA, because I was told it would have no effect on my overall ­results and would only be used as a reference. I was not forced to do a lot of additional exercises. The balance was just right, but over time that changed and now TSA puts young children under a lot of needless pressure.

It does appear as though the problems with TSA arose from it becoming more difficult and more complicated than simply assessing students’ basic knowledge, so I can understand why so many parents now object to it in its present form. But, BCA is meant to resolve those problems, so I do not understand why they are also opposed to it. They are not giving BCA a chance – I think this is illogical.

Tests and exams are inevitable, and if we get back to the original intention of the TSA with the new BCA then I think it could prove useful.

Yip Wing-yi, Yau Yat Chuen

Review of city’s school system long overdue

With great power comes great responsibility. As education secretary, Eddie Ng Hak-kim is one of the highest-ranking ­officials in the government.

Therefore, he has to take ­responsibility for falling asleep at the wheel and presiding over an education system that has left students disillusioned and ­disheartened.

The system is disintegrating, and various proposals made by the Education Bureau, such as introducing national education, have led to many protests.

Then there is the huge ­debate over the Territory-wide System Assessment (TSA), with calls from many quarters for it to be scrapped.

The TSA was primarily set up to assess schools but, thanks to parents attaching so much ­importance to academic results, it changed.

Schools started drilling for the TSA, which completely goes against its original purpose. To quell the criticism, the bureau has come up with the basic ­competency assessment, but this is a palliative and does not get to the root of the problem.

The high rate of student ­suicides clearly shows there is a need for a complete review of our education system. It is ­devastating when you read about young people who are under so much stress that they end their lives.

This review should be undertaken as soon as possible. It should be done at the highest level and involve different ­bureaus.

Natalie Chan, Sha Tin

Annuity plan looks good but doubts linger

On the basis of the information released to date, the Hong Kong Mortgage Corporation’s public annuity scheme for retirees aged 65 and older appears ­to be ­attractive.

However, I do hope once the final terms are announced that they are not watered down to reach a consensus with those ­offering rival products in the ­insurance and banking sector.

Being a sceptic (realist?), I will not hold my breath in this ­regard.

Doug Miller, Tai Po