Letters to the Editor, June 30, 2017
New test will not put pupils under pressure
I do not think parents should oppose the Basic Competency Assessment (BCA) test.
It replaces the Territory-wide System Assessment (TSA) that parents of Primary Three pupils disliked so much. And yet, these parents are now opposing the BCA. They think that, like the TSA, it will increase the pressure on their children.
In fact the questions in the BCA test do not require drilling. They cover basic knowledge that students will learn in normal lessons. This is different from the TSA test, which contained many difficult and tricky questions. So these parents need not be worried about the BCA.
I agree with correspondents who have argued that tests and exams are just a part of our education system and our lives, students will always have to face them. It may be a test to determine the secondary school they will go to or sit for the Diploma of Secondary Education exam.
Nowadays, parents spoil their children and are overprotective, but children must learn to face challenges, as they will have to deal with them as adults in the workplace.
Also, parents and some teachers who say that the BCA would, like the TSA, affect the ranking of a school are wrong. It just tests and assesses the basic knowledge of students.
Aiven Chu Tsan-man, Tsuen Wan
Passengers left in dark about minibuses
Single and double-decker buses operated by Hong Kong’s main franchised bus companies have the route number on the back as well as the front. I don’t understand why minibus operators cannot do the same and also have numbers on the back.
As a frequent minibus user, I would appreciate this. It would help us to know if the minibus about to depart is the one we wanted, instead of passengers having to run to check the number at the front of the vehicle before it moves off.
Jameson Gong, Central
Rating device can make taxis raise standards
I think the general service of taxis in Hong Kong is quite poor.
Over the years I have encountered some bad drivers. On one occasion, I was standing in the street trying to get a taxi. I had a box and a heavy school bag. Many of them stopped and the drivers asked me where I wanted to go. When I told them my destination, which was relatively close, they refused to take me.
This form of cherry-picking when it comes to the fare they will choose is disrespectful to Hong Kong citizens. I also think that some of them will try to go the long way round to a location to earn a higher fare. When you suspect this has happened, you feel you have been deceived.
I accept that these drivers need to earn a living, but that does not justify the kind of behaviour I have described.
I agree with those who say that the installation of closed-circuit TV cameras and a rating device could lead to an improvement in standards.
Cameras could act as deterrent for cabbies who are tempted to act dishonestly.
Similarly, a ratings device could lead to honest and good drivers being rewarded, because passengers praised them for their performance.
What matters is safeguarding the interests of passengers, and this can only be done by raising the overall standards of taxi drivers in our city.
Crystal Au, Yau Yat Chuen
No migrants to blame for latest US shootings
In his letter (“At least Trump tries to keep out terrorists”, June 17) Dermot Cooper advocates the merits of the travel ban for six Muslim-majority countries.
Mr Cooper says that,“when it comes to Islamic terrorism”, US President Donald Trump “is the only Western world leader who recognises the danger it poses and will fight to keep America safe from the horrors”.
So far this year, there have been more than 200 mass shootings in America and not a single Muslim has been involved. But yes, let’s focus on Islamic terrorism and ignore the stranglehold the terrorising gun lobby has over the lives of innocent ordinary American citizens.
In previous incidents, from the tragic Orlando nightclub shooting to a recent spate of terrorist attacks in the US, they were perpetrated by American-born Muslims, not immigrants or asylum seekers. This is an inconvenient fact your correspondent also ignores.
Trump is so committed to protecting America, he is selling over US$100 billion worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia.
This will help to advance its politically driven sectarian wars in the Middle East. Out of the 19 9/11 hijackers, 15 came from Saudi Arabia. Yet, it is not even included on the farcical list of the countries that are affected by Trump’s Muslim ban.
Therefore, I would say to Mr Cooper, the very last thing we should be doing is putting our misguided trust in a president who is setting America on a path of chaos and decline.
Muhammed Adnan, Sham Shui Po
Bad air a threat to mental and physical health
In May, concerns were raised again about levels of air pollution in Hong Kong when thick smog enveloped the city.
One of the causes of this haze is the regional pollution, as a result of China being the world’s factory. But there are also local factors, such as restricted air movement in our crowded and narrow roads.
The problem is exacerbated by traffic congestion, as so many citizens prefer to have a car when they could use public transport.
I am concerned about the effect this pollution has on people’s health. I think it can aggravate stress among some. When pollution levels are very high, especially in blackspots like Tsuen Wan, then it is natural for people to worry about their health, especially if they have existing conditions, such as a respiratory disease.
While individuals can’t clear the bad air, we can all try to have a smaller carbon footprint. For shorter distances we should walk. And people with cars should try to use more public transport. It is not acceptable to do nothing and just wait for the government to act.
Natalie Lam Suet-ping, Yau Yat Chuen