Online Letters, January 16, 2018

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 16 January, 2018, 3:15pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 16 January, 2018, 3:15pm

Despite all its problems Hong Kong is still a world city

Some people have questioned if it is still right to call Hong Kong a world city.

I think it is still justifiable to describe it as Asia’s world city and when deciding if it deserves this status we should not just focus on economic development.

We have to examine other factors such as the fact that we have one of the best public transport systems. And it remains one of the world’s most popular destinations for visitors who love food. It is still a food paradise, with a massive array of eateries, from Michelin-starred restaurants to street food stalls.

We still have one of the world’s busiest and best airports and it always gets a high ranking when a global league table is compiled. And with Cathay Pacific we have one of the world’s safest airlines. Some surveys have also shown that Hong Kong has the most competitive economy.

Some critics point out that the gap between rich and poor has reached historic highs and that we have serious environmental problems that must be addressed. However, cities in developed countries like the US and the UK also have problems with such things as pollution that they are trying to address.

Hong Kong will continue to grow and develop more trading opportunities overseas.

Mandy Chan Sze-ki, Yau Yat Chuen

Chinese history course must include comprehensive look at nation’s past

I understand why the government wants to introduce compulsory Chinese history at junior secondary level.

It wants future generations to recognise their identity as citizens not just of Hong Kong, but also of China. Through doing this subject they can have a deeper understanding of their nation’s history which can enhance their understanding of what is happening in the country.

Critics have expressed concerns that this compulsory course might be tantamount to brainwashing, especially if teachers avoid politically sensitive issues. I agree that the course must not be selective. It must present the whole picture to pupils, including the growth of the pro-democracy movement in Tiananmen Square in 1989 and the central government’s reaction to it on June 4.

Understanding that crucial period of history is important for young people if they are to have a firm grasp of the development of modern China. The government must not force teachers to be selective, but let them decide on a comprehensive course.

Sara Wong Kit-yu, Tseung Kwan O

Government can do more to help youngsters deal with stress

I am concerned about the fragile mental health of some young people which has resulted in some of them committing suicide.

Part of the reason so many students suffer from mental stress is because of the nature of the local education system. Often their parents have high expectations which in some cases are not realistic and teachers are also driving them to try and do better.

Also they must deal with perceptions in society. Academic excellence is regarded as the chief priority. Many young people grow up thinking mistakenly that everything depends on doing well in the Diploma of Secondary Education and getting a place at a local university. A failure to achieve this makes them think that they will fail in life. This kind of academic pressure, especially if they are struggling, leads to raised stress levels.

Teens need to know that there are people who will listen to them if they are troubled, such as teachers, counsellors, parents and fellow pupils. If they are given the right support they are more likely to be able to deal with the pressure they face.

Youngsters need to pay attention to physical and mental health. If the lines of communication are open they are more likely to be able to do this.

Mercury Wong Cheuk-in, Yau Yat Chuen

Some online users do get addicted to computer games

Concerns have been raised about supposed free computer games, which ask people to spend money, for example, to get to the next level. What started off as something free of charge can quickly escalate into becoming something that is expensive and it can become addictive, including for young people.

It is important to exercise self-control and think carefully before deciding if you want to spend something on a computer game. I would never spend unless there was a good reason for doing so.

I do not think it makes sense to fork out a lot of money on virtual game packs. I would rather spend money on practical things from which I derive a direct benefit such as eating out and transport. And as I say if you spend too much there is a risk you will become addicted. Some people become obsessed with what are known as “secret sales”.

It does not make sense for players to spend thousands of dollars on a video game that has been touted as being free. I do not think there is anything to be gained by spending your hard-earned money on these games.

Yandy Ma Chung-yan, Po Lam

Warning messages could be important for at-risk individuals

With advances in technology, especially with smartphones, video games are becoming increasingly popular.

Some people use these games sparingly, only playing them at certain times. However, with others these games take up their lives. They spend a lot of time and money in order to perfect their skills and become successful at these games, always seeking to get to more advanced levels.

Unfortunately some people do become addicted and may end up spending money they do not have. They pay for extra levels and additional plots and try to beat stronger players. Like any addiction if playing computers becomes a compulsion then it will be bad for their mental and physical health. There have even been cases of teenagers dying because they played continuously.

Companies which make these games have to recognise the potential pitfalls and take the necessary action. They need to add online warnings cautioning players to act responsibly. If a cautionary message appears before they purchase access to the next level it might make them think twice. What really matters is that young people control their time and their expenditure when playing these games.

It does not help the image of a company if one of the games it has created has acquired a reputation for being addictive among young people. It should have a policy that if parents complain and say that their son or daughter, who is a minor, has overspent that a refund should be available.

As I say, at the very least these gaming companies should be issuing warnings. Young people have to learn that what matters is the real world, not the virtual one.

Wong Cheuk-ling, Kowloon Tong