Letters to the Editor, April 21, 2017

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 April, 2017, 4:56pm
UPDATED : Friday, 21 April, 2017, 4:56pm

Caring peers can help with depression

Some people have said that the rise in the number of Hong Kong students committing suicide ­exposes the inherent weakness in youngsters while others blame the city’s exam-oriented education system.

However, I think that what is required is a deeper understanding of why so many ­students end their lives. This can enable us to help youngsters to deal with depression.

All students are forced to study hard for public exams if they want to ensure a shot at a bright future.

Many of them become stressed, and in some cases this can lead to depression. Not all of them have the ability to get a university place; they may have strengths other than doing well academically, but university here is seen as the only path to success. Failing to get that ­college place can lead to them being labelled as ­“losers”.

I empathise with these youngsters, because I have been left feeling stressed and even ­depressed by the pressure of the ­Diploma of Secondary Education, which I sit next year.

I found it difficult to ­remain motivated when I failed to reach my goals.

Fortunately, classmates and friends sent me positive and ­inspirational quotes, and texted me with suggestions.

Sometimes their ideas were not that useful, but it was just important to know there were people out there who cared. With their help I got better and became more positive.

Hongkongers need to try and understand why so many ­students suffer from despair, and more must be done to help them. We need to be able to offer them the kind of support that can help them to deal with their depression and get through it.

Sharon Lo, Tai Po

Scrap drilling and TSA is a good test

Parents and lawmakers have called for the scrapping of the Territory-wide System Assessment (TSA) and the basic competency assessment (BCA) which is meant to replace it.

I do not think these tests are as difficult as is claimed in some media reports. Everything in the tests is covered in regular ­lessons. It is up to individual schools to decide how many preparatory exercises must be done by pupils.

When I was in primary school, we saw the TSA as a small quiz and it did not take that long to complete, so I do not think there is any reason for the ­Education Bureau to scrap it.

The actual test cannot be blamed for the schools doing too much drilling.

That is done by schools wanting to get better ­results and improve their ranking.

Therefore, the problem lies with too much drilling by schools and parents.

If lawmakers are concerned about so many students ­committing ­suicide, they should focus more on the Diploma of Secondary Education and think about scrapping that exam.

Billy Sit, Tseung Kwan O

Offering Carrie Lam options for her cabinet

I understand that when chief executive-elect Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor visited Beijing, President Xi Jinping (習近平) said it would be important for her to build bridges.

I can think of one way she can do that and at the same time deal with another problem she is ­facing, and that is finding enough suitable candidates to fill up available posts in her cabinet. She should consider offering cabinet posts to Mike Rowse and Paul Zimmerman.

They have both adopted ­Chinese citizenship and given up the passports of the countries of their birth.

By their actions over the years, they have shown their commitment to and passion for Hong Kong. They have a good understanding of China and are capable of dealing with issues in a pragmatic way.

Beijing does not have to ­worry about them bringing ­unwelcome Western influences, since they are both Chinese citizens. I believe they will take on some of the vested interests in Hong Kong, something that would be welcomed by most ­citizens here.

They are both talented, and have inside knowledge about how things work in this city, and so they would be an asset to Mrs Lam’s team.

They can certainly help to build bridges between the ­government and the community and pan-democrats.

Peter den Hartog, Tuen Mun

Better elderly care services long overdue

The government has been criticised for not doing enough in the area of care for the elderly.

Many old people have ­complained about the poor quality of service in some care homes where they have been sent to stay by family members.

I believe the government should come up with policies that will lead to the care system being upgraded, but it has so far failed to do this.

Some old folk cannot afford the more expensive private facilities and go to places which are cheaper, but the level of care is inferior. If they want to get a place at a government-subsidised facility, they face a long wait.

This is a problem that must be addressed. Given that Hong Kong has an ageing population, it is not acceptable to have ­inadequate elderly care services.

This ageing trend will place a huge burden on the next generation, so the government must try harder to improve the quality of services for the elderly and ­increase the number of places in care homes.

I suggest that more funds be ­allocated for this purpose.

Kerensa Kwun Ting-yan, Kwai Chung

Humanity of liver donor an inspiration

The decision by Momo Cheng to donate part of her liver so a woman could have a live-saving organ transplant is something I find inspirational, and I am sure many Hongkongers share my feelings.

Many of us sympathise with the plight of critically ill patients waiting for a transplant, but Ms Cheng took action, despite the risks to her health, to try to save the life of ­someone she did not even know.

We talk about what should be done to ease suffering in our world, but then keep making ­excuses.

Ms Cheng made her decision even though she is not well-off and needs a stable job. She acted swiftly when she realised there was an urgent need for the ­patient to have this liver.

Often when we make decisions we think about what we may gain or lose, about profit and loss. Ms Cheng’s decision was a ­selfless one and based on a sense of humanity that is often in short supply.

There are endless discussions about restoring harmony in the community. People are never short of slogans, but they often fail when it comes to taking concrete action. We all have a lot to learn from Ms Cheng.

I hope she makes a full ­recovery in the near future.

Y. Chao, Tai Po

‘No racism’ claim on flight is inaccurate

In his column, Michael Chugani opined that race had nothing to do with David Dao’s treatment by United Airlines (“Chinese need to accept airline was not racist”, April 19).

But in all fairness, wouldn’t it be more accurate to say that the only people who know for sure whether Dao’s race influenced how the situation was handled, are the person who “randomly” ­selected passengers to be bumped off the plane, and the security guards who dragged him off ?

Maybe it was racially ­motivated; maybe not. No one else knows for sure.

But it is arrogant of Chugani to seem to think his opinion was the absolute truth.

Feng Chi-shun, Ho Man Tin