Letters to the Editor, October 5, 2017
Roads are in dire need of maintenance
I refer to Chris Wood’s article (“The 18 years it took Hong Kong to get first MTR subway line – how the Post reported the story”, September 29). It prompted me to reflect on how the MTR has grown from its official first journey in October 1979 to being the best mass transit rail system in the world – so much so that many other countries contract with the MTR Corporation to run various aspects of their rail services.
However, in reading Wood’s article, it made me think that at the same time that the city started investing in and expanding the MTR, it obviously and equally ceased investing in our roads, on which we also travel every day.
Our roads are a complete disgrace in terms of lack of quality and maintenance. A trip to Singapore last month only highlighted how horrendous our roads are and this is clearly where Singapore has us fairly and squarely beaten.
We could argue that the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge will be something that Singapore will not have. However, I doubt that they will be envious of a crossing that will see such limited use, in comparison to its size, as the restrictions on licence plates will not see it filled with motorists.
Instead, the spending of billions of dollars on a symbolic infrastructure project is no more than visual testament by our city leaders to further cement (pun intended) their position that Hong Kong is just another Chinese city.
As we continue this little game of whether we are better than the Lion City, the government must not only address educational variances, but also the failing and dismal conditions of Hong Kong’s roads.
We pay excessive first and annual vehicle registration fees so let’s use the funds to import some asphalt and re-pave this great city so that we may at last enjoy a smooth and comfortable journey when not travelling around on the MTR, or in Singapore.
Simon Constantinides, Pok Fu Lam
Container homes just a quick fix
In her letter (“Suitable design tops concern for box homes”, October 1) Cathy Ng Ka-yi clearly missed the point. These prefab units are not meant to be part of the effort to meet Hongkongers’ long-term housing needs, but are intended just to be a quick way of getting the dwellers (about 80,000 of them) out of their bedbug-infested subdivided flats.
Of course, we won’t be moving them out of their hell holes into more hell holes. And these converted shipping container temporary dwellings will be fitted with air-conditioners, water supply and basic sanitation facilities, including septic tanks.
Being temporary, they could be quickly dismantled and therefore sites should not be difficult to find.
They could be within walking distance of the end of MTR lines so that, with government travel subsidies, it wouldn’t be a problem being far from the centre of the city.
Peter Lok, Chai Wan
Exam focus is not helping students
According to recent research by the Economist Intelligence Unit, Hong Kong students are less prepared for a future where technology is dominant than youngsters in Singapore and South Korea.
As this will make them less competitive in the jobs market, the government must reform the education system. The main problem is the exam-oriented mindset in schools, especially the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education Examination (HKDSE).
The new senior secondary curriculum introduced in 2012 produced a packed syllabus aimed at preparing students for this exam. Pupils who get unsatisfactory HKDSE results often feel they have failed. That fear of failure increases levels of stress.
This exam-based philosophy is no longer suitable and our young people need to be equipped so they have the skills to do well in the workplaces of the future.
A holistic approach is needed aimed at whole-person development. The future pillars of society will need to take an interdisciplinary approach and be able to react to regional and global shifts if Hong Kong is to remain competitive.
Different stakeholders need to work together to make the necessary changes in local schools, so that youngsters are better prepared to deal with the challenges they will face in the adult world.
Mandy Li Minying, Kowloon Tong
Opt-out system would boost organ donation
An advocacy group has suggested people should be asked if they would join the organ donor register when they are applying for a new identity card or driving licence. I think it would be better for the government to adopt a universal opt-out system, so that you are considered to be a donor unless you ask to be removed from the list.
There is already a programme in place encouraging youngsters to join the register. This new scheme would not reach older citizens, most of whom do not need new ID cards once they are permanent residents and probably already have a driving licence.
An official opt-out policy could get rid of the registration process that some people might find time-consuming. Also, elderly people may be reluctant to register and do not know how to do so, but the opt-out programme solves that problem. There is definitely a need for Hong Kong to have more donors as many patients run out of time and die waiting for a transplant.
Stephen Leong, Fanling
Talent drain must be addressed
A recent survey showed that more Hongkongers said they would be willing to leave Hong Kong for better career opportunities elsewhere.
There are a number of reasons for this trend, including the unstable political environment which convinces some citizens to look at emigrating to a country where the politics is not as intrusive.
Also, it’s easy to understand why certain professional people, such as doctors and nurses, would want to leave Hong Kong. Those in public hospitals are under a lot of pressure because of staff shortages and long hours, so it’s little wonder that they would move elsewhere if they are offered better working conditions and pay.
Losing talented people is a problem for Hong Kong’s economy, especially with an ageing population. The government should work with companies to import more suitably qualified people from overseas.
Zoe Chung Ka-man, Po Lam