Letters to the Editor, May 9, 2017
Teachers need a break from school work
I am writing in response to your report on teachers being stressed out by daily text messages (“Most Hong Kong teachers overwhelmed by volume of instant messages from parents and students: survey”, May 4).
To begin with, teachers do have the right not to share their private details. It is natural for students to want to know more about their teachers and stay in touch or ask for advice beyond school hours, but they should learn to respect their privacy.
Not being able to switch off from work may lead to the health of teachers being affected. Once school is out, they should be able to rest. Having to attend to texts from students and parents in personal time is leaving them stressed and tired, and disrupting their private life. This, in turn, may worsen their quality of teaching.
It is natural for parents to be worried about their children’s performance at school, and some may message teachers to know more about the situation, without realising that this can create pressure. Schools may impose a rule that parents can message teachers only twice a month. That would help lower the pressure on teachers.
While close interaction with teachers is essential for a good all-round education, there must be a balance, and students and their parents should know to maintain a polite distance.
Clarins Ng, Hang Hau
Fight against waste must start at source
Food makes up one of the biggest sources of waste in our prosperous city. The easy availability of food indirectly leads to a lack of awareness about the need to save it. Media reports, including in this paper, have revealed how municipal waste disposal has gone up by 80 per cent in the last 30 years, far outpacing the 34 per cent rise in population (“Hong Kong prepares for the next battle in its war on waste”, April 28).
In recent years, non-profit organisations and the government have adopted different action plans to reduce waste.
For example, the Environment Bureau in 2014 set a target of reducing food-waste disposal at landfills by 40 per cent by 2022, while non-profit organisations have campaigns to collect leftover food from restaurants and packaged food stores to provide meals to the needy.
Proposed charges for the disposal of municipal solid waste, whether generated by homes and offices or factories and restaurants, have also been set out by environment minister Wong Kam-sing, based on the “polluter pays” principle.
However, I think that if the government cannot stop waste production at source, then all these initiatives may prove to be useless.
What is needed is stronger campaigning for greater public awareness of the need to reduce food waste.
William Wan, Clear Water Bay
Blood donation drive needs a shot in the arm
I refer to your article on the call for blood donations (“Hong Kong Red Cross issues urgent appeal for blood donors as supplies dwindle”, May 4).
The article quoted the Red Cross’ Blood Transfusion Service as reporting that inventory had dwindled and was enough to sustain only about four days of normal blood supply.
It said 10 to 11 days’ worth of blood must be stocked up to ensure demand from hospitals for blood transfusions can be met.
While the preceding peak flu season could have been a factor, it cannot be denied that more people must step up to donate.
I believe that the government should promote blood donation campaigns on TV or arrange for talks at schools to encourage people to come forward.
Schools can also invite the Red Cross to tell students about the social duty of blood donation, and through them reach out to their families and friends.
Yuki Pang, Po Lam
Hope trumps all in question of saving lives
I refer to your article on new drugs for rare diseases (“Subsidising new tumour-fighting drug depends on effectiveness, not cost”, May 3).
A 36-year-old single mother died after failing to get a new and costly medication for her rare genetic disease subsidised. But the Hospital Authority stood by its decision not to subsidise the drug, because its effectiveness has yet to be determined.
However, given Hong Kong’s huge cash reserves, I believe they should have given it a try, if there was no other drug that at least held out hope, however futile. At least we would have been spared the regret.
Haley Yu, Tseung Kwan O
Lack of social harmony is behind exodus
I am writing in response to the article on the trend to emigrate from Hong Kong (Number of people seeking a fresh start outside Hong Kong hits three-year high”, May 4).
One of the main causes for this is the social disharmony of recent years. Localism is on the rise. Some people want Hong Kong to be independent from China, while others don’t. This is casting a shadow on the future prospects of Hong Kong. Events like the Occupy movement and the Mong Kok riot have made the city seem more unstable.
The local education system is also a contributing factor. Students are being spoon-fed just to pass exams, and they are stressed with the workload.
Lastly, Hong Kong people want to escape due to financial pressures and high living costs. It is hoped the government can focus more on this issue and strive to improve livelihoods.
Annie Lai, Kowloon Tong
Commercial rents the real villain in HK
Joyce Chang in her letter says that a wage increase of HK$2 per hour will not help workers in Hong Kong, as “shop owners will pass these on to consumers” (“New minimum wage rate is not helping people”, May 7).
Ms Chang is most probably a commercial property owner and does not think or see that the huge increases in rents for commercial (as well as residential) property do much more harm to the purchasing power of the consumer who has to work at minimum wage or slightly above that. Even the middle class is hurt.
So why do we not all protest against those increases, or is it a question of conflict of interest ?
Jeffry Kuperus, Sai Kung