Letters to the Editor, August 21, 2017

PUBLISHED : Monday, 21 August, 2017, 3:31pm
UPDATED : Monday, 21 August, 2017, 3:31pm

City should be more socially inclusive

As a citizen from an ethnic ­minority group growing up in Hong Kong, I was happy to see the expressions of fulfilment on the faces of five ethnic minority youngsters and their parents who participated in a summer programme organised by our faculty last month.

These young people were supported by scholarships provided by the faculty and this helped them to experience for five days what it was like to be a university student. This kind of experience is very valuable to teenagers from ethnic minorities in Hong Kong, because many of them do not know these scholarships exist or do not think about applying for them. According to the Census and Statistics Department data from 2011, only 26.4 per cent of South Asian young people aged ­between 19 and 24 received higher education in Hong Kong.

I believe programmes and exchange opportunities are ­important for underprivileged youths. They help to empower their educational aspirations, building self-confidence and fulfilling social and psychological needs. When I listened to these five young people sharing their experiences, I was struck by one thing. All five of these ­secondary school students now believe that, like their local counterparts, if they study hard, they can become undergraduates at a university.

I am glad that, in recent years, more of these opportunities have been made available to young people from ethnic ­minorities. However, still, many of them cannot participate ­because of financial constraints. And often they do not know about programmes like the one offered by our faculty, because the promotional material is in Chinese only. And even if the ­information is available on social media platforms, again, it is ­normally in Chinese. As a member of an ethnic minority in a developed city, I really wish our city could be more socially ­inclusive so that more young people from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds could enjoy a level playing field.

This would give them a better chance of fulfilling their dreams and aspirations.

Shanila Kosar, research assistant, Faculty of Social Science, University of Hong Kong

Facilities are needed so bus drivers can rest

It is really important for bus drivers to be allowed to have a proper rest (“Lack of rest facilities forces Hong Kong bus drivers to breach law against idling ­engines”, August 20).

They need to be in a good mental state when they are driving as they have many lives in their hands. If bus drivers do not get a proper rest, they may not be able to focus on their driving, which may cause accidents.

The government should set up lounges next to bus stations which have air conditioning so that bus drivers have somewhere to rest.

I think that, if this happens, we will see an improvement in the performance of bus drivers. This will do more to ensure the safety of passengers.

The government and bus companies like KMB should pay more attention to the problem of the lack of rest places for bus drivers. Efforts by bus companies to build these rest facilities should be cleared as quickly as possible by the relevant ­department.

Lam Yan, Tsing Yi

Smartphone addiction is a real problem

Wherever you go, you see people glued to the screens on their ­mobile phones.

I agree that there are a lot of advantages to these smartphones. They can help with your jobs and aid communication. However, smartphone addiction is a genuine problem and it brings with it physical and ­psychological problems.

It can lead to poor interaction with others. Smartphone addicts spend so much time on their devices that they do not have time to communicate. Their communication skills ­deteriorate and this can destroy relationships with family and friends, and work colleagues.

Prolonged use of mobile phones also takes its toll on users’ health. It can lead to ­insomnia and cause physical problems like neck, back and wrist pain.

If they are in an area where there is no mobile phone signal, this can cause them acute ­anxiety.

One way to ensure people do not risk becoming addicts is for them to cut back on usage, so they avoid compulsive behaviour. If they can see the potential to develop an addiction, they must address the problem ­before it gets worse.

Wilson Chan Yat-Leung, Ma On Shan

HK should have more sports facilities

Secretary for Home Affairs Lau Kong-wah has said HK$20 billion will be spent on developing local leisure facilities in the next five years and it is hoped that every district will have its own heated pool.

Sports development in Hong Kong has advanced in recent years. This has resulted in young athletes from the city doing well in various competitions, locally and at an international level.

At present, badminton and tennis courts at government leisure centres are always fully booked. It would be beneficial if there were more sports facilities and so it was easier to book.

It is a good idea to have more heated pools, preferably ­indoors. People seldom swim in winter and outdoor pools are closed. If there were indoor heated pools, more people would be motivated to exercise even during the cool months.

Utilising space at primary and secondary schools during the summer break is being looked at. This would be another way of promoting sports and getting more citizens to get ­involved in regular exercise.

Daniel Hui Yin-hang, Sha Tin