Letters to the Editor, September 16, 2017

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 16 September, 2017, 9:02am
UPDATED : Saturday, 16 September, 2017, 9:01am

Tough living conditions are behind exodus

I refer to the report on more Hong Kong people emigrating (“Surge in numbers quitting Hong Kong for new life in ­Canada”, September 11).

There may be various major reasons behind this exodus, one of them being the unsatisfactory living conditions. High property prices and cost of living have long been a heavy burden for many local residents. Pollution and a densely packed urban environment make it less than an ideal place to live.

The political situation in the city may also be motivating some to leave. Social conflicts taking place in recent years have worsened interactions between political factions in the city, and some Hongkongers may feel there is little hope of ­any ­improvement in the near future.

Therefore, the government must not only focus on improving overall living conditions, but also strive to ­restore public trust in the city and its future.

The work of ­restoring trust is one that cannot be neglected. Otherwise, the disappointment of citizens will just deepen, ­causing more of them to leave.

The current situation will probably take a long time to ­improve, and cannot be done without cooperation and compromise on all sides. This city is home to us all and it should be safeguarded by everyone here.

Carol Mo Ka-wai, Tseung Kwan O

Libraries show lack of vision on old books

I refer to the report on Hong Kong’s public libraries (“Hundreds of thousands of books thrown away as libraries slammed for wasteful practice”, September 12). The article said the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD), which runs the public libraries, had an annual procurement ­target of “at least 700,000” items and was throwing away books in perfectly readable condition.

Indeed, updating the book lists every year is a necessary act for libraries. Knowledge in this information age is ever changing. Being a knowledge-based city, we should move forward in tune with time and technology.

As the number of books keeps increasing but the space for them remains the same, libraries discard some to make room. However, is this the only way to deal with the problem?

Hong Kong still has many poor families who can’t afford books. Rather than treat the books as waste paper, libraries could donate to charity organisations or less-well-off families. This will benefit them, as well as promote reading.

Moreover, with online reading being more popular among the new generation, they are borrowing fewer books from the library. So the LCSD may reconsider its procurement target, and put the money to better use.

Hebe Ng Yik-huen, Po Lam

School is not the only cause of teen stress

I am sceptical about a new initiative for students (“Parents, pupils call for study cap to prevent suicides”, September 11).

Some students and their parents want “standard study hours” to be set, at “seven hours or fewer” per day, in order to ease stress among youngsters. I do not believe this will work.

A few years back, parents started to think it was best for their children to learn to compete from the start, and they wanted schools to give more homework and tests so they had enough lesson practice. Now they have started complaining about what they themselves ­recommended earlier.

What is more, even if their children have enough or extra time to rest or play, the parents will get them to join hobby classes, according to their “interests”. Beside studies, this is also where child stress comes from.

The solution is not asking schools to give less homework or setting “standard study hours”. It is parents who have to change the mindset that their child must always be a winner.

Kathy Ho Kai-Fai, Tseung Kwan O

Parents could try to go easy on children

I wish to express my opinion on the call to cap study hours for students, to reduce stress and prevent suicidal thoughts.

I believe academic pressure is not the only reason for student suicides. Can parents shirk all responsibility on this issue?

Students really love to play and indulge in their hobbies, be it video games or smartphone games, or even doing exercise. But parents always want them to study hard, for ever-higher marks. So teenagers have no time for leisure. They may even be told not to go out and play.

Suicidal people have something in common: they feel they cannot trust anyone, even their parents or friends, leave alone social workers or psychologists. Being denied what they enjoy, they are perpetually upset.

Parents think stress comes from studies and exams. That is definitely a major cause; however, do parents really think about what they may or may not have done to make a child take this extreme step?

One can only hope parents will learn to be more generous.

Samantha Lee Hoi-wai, Sau Mau Ping

Self-control is a life skill pupils need to learn

I refer to the letter from Jenny Sit (“Self-control on smartphones vital for teens”, September 7).

It is undeniable that teenagers need to cut down their use of smartphones, but neither should they become too reliant on apps to regulate their lives.

Ms Sit mentioned an app called SelfControl which blocks certain websites or apps for a set amount of time. I don’t think this is an effective ­solution, as it takes away the need for them to be ­responsible for their actions.

Students cannot deny that they are prisoners of their smartphones. When they are ­obsessed about how many likes they get on Facebook, they will keep checking the post at regular ­intervals. Installing an app like SelfControl only limits the use of a certain app for a time, but there are plenty of other things that can keep them glued to their phones, such as TV shows.

The root of the problem isn’t eliminated, so how can students concentrate better on studies? For this, they should learn not only self-discipline but also time management.

Even if there is an app to stop them from connecting to social media for a time, what is to stop them uninstalling the app if they lose their patience, or install ­other games and keep playing.

Rather than rely on apps to do it for them, students should learn self-control. It is a life skill that will stay with them and help them to ­manage their time effectively, even in their careers.

I think students should see this as an opportunity to train themselves. It is vital to learn not only bookish knowledge but also life skills like this.

Felix Leung, Po Lam

Aghast at lack of action over illegal land use

The Lands Department’s appalling record of enforcement is reprehensible (“No action taken for 20 years over illegal land use”, September 13).

That a spokesman has the audacity to state they deal with “straightforward cases first, and thorny cases last” is laughable.

Perhaps all those with illegal structures need only grow a rose garden to evade prosecution.

Mark Peaker, The Peak