Letters to the Editor, October 4, 2017
Far too much emphasis on exams in city
I agree that students in Hong Kong are not encouraged to think outside the box (“Hong Kong lags behind Taiwan, Singapore and South Korea in ‘promoting innovation’ ”, September 30).
As a local student, I agree the system is flawed, because too much emphasis is placed on exam results at the expense of original analysis and getting students to have more experiences of real life. Teachers concentrate on helping pupils get high marks in tests and exams, but the syllabus should also include learning about dealing with daily life in the workplace of the future.
Ironically, pupils who attempt original thinking in tests will often get marked down.
Singapore and South Korea have been extremely successful at encouraging diversity in their educational institutes, which promote the arts and offer youngsters vocational career paths if they do not feel they are academically gifted.
Pupils who are creative and artistic do not have the same opportunities in Hong Kong.
Youngsters should be told that sometimes failing is not a bad thing, as when you get something wrong you can learn from your mistakes. Encouraging innovation should be an integral part of the school syllabus.
Jennifer Chik Wing-hei, Tsing Yi
Beijing must now get tough with poachers
The central government should step up efforts to crack down on poachers of endangered and vulnerable species, such as Asiatic black bears (“Chinese brothers accused of setting up booby traps to kill protected bears”, September 26).
Illegal hunting of protected animals continues on the mainland, with this latest incident occurring at the Northeast Tiger National Park. The body parts of black bears (paws and gall bladders) are sold by poachers for use in traditional medicine.
These actions are illegal, but there are obviously some mainland citizens who have decided to flout the laws aimed at protecting the country’s wildlife.
The government has to bring in tougher legislation, with heavier punishments for people found guilty of illegal hunting.
There also must be more education in schools, so that young people grow up recognising the importance of ensuring the safety of protected species. They are then less likely to become poachers.
Chu Hei-man, Kwai Chung
Wrong climate for shipping container flats
Eunice Cheng (“Container flats are better than sleeping rough”, September 29) should be aware that these shipping containers are made of metal and as such would be unsuitable accommodation during the hot summer months in Hong Kong.
In some areas, they might be vulnerable to strong winds from powerful typhoons. Some of the places where these containers are found are in remote locations in the New Territories and are not near good transport links. This could cause problems for tenants who have to commute to and from their workplace. Also, they are not near shops stocking daily necessities.
Often the containers are on undeveloped or brownfield sites which are not suitable for even a temporary residential development. I do not see this as a real improvement for people living in subdivided units.
Edmond Pang, Fanling
Prefab homes unlikely to be very popular
I cannot see how living in prefabricated homes created from cargo containers can be feasible in Hong Kong, with its subtropical climate.
These units have proved popular in cities like London and Amsterdam, but they do not have the same sweltering hot and humid summers as Hong Kong has. I do not view them as offering a comfortable or desirable option, compared to the subdivided units.
Also, many of these containers are out in the fields. How will tenants be connected to sewage systems and water and electricity supplies, so they can shower, wash their clothes, have flush toilets and cook? I just do not see these prefab homes as even offering a temporary solution to housing problems in the city.
I feel that living in one of these container homes would be a very claustrophobic experience for tenants.
They already suffer from psychological problems because of substandard living conditions, such as in subdivided units.
Yip Wing -yi, Yat Yat Chuen
Don’t let your smartphone rule your life
It is often pointed out that one of the advantages of a smartphone is that it helps you to keep in touch with family and friends. So it is ironic that often when you see people at family gatherings or meeting with friends, they spend much of their time on their phones, instead of using this valuable time for one-on-one conversations.
We should value these times when we can meet relatives and friends face to face. We can meet for lunch or dinner, and can catch up on what they are doing by talking to them, rather than via social network platforms. It can often be difficult to arrange such meetings, as we Hongkongers lead such hectic lives, so we must treasure them more.
We must recognise the importance of ensuring that we are in control of our smartphones, and not the other way around. No matter how often we send text messages or connect online, we should never forget the importance of meeting up in person as often as possible.
Cedar Ma, Tseung Kwan O