Letters Online: Lunar New Year in Hong Kong, nightmare schooling, Victoria Park litterbugs, and ‘Fedex’ delivers
Lunar New Year parade is uniquely Hong Kong
The Lunar New Year night parade is one of Hong Kong’s most festive annual events. On New Year’s Day every year, thousands of locals and tourists gather to enjoy the event. The giant street party is billed as having a “festive energy that is uniquely Hong Kong”.
This year’s parade featured nine festive floats, and 25 local and international performing groups, and the theme for this year was “Best Fortune. World Party”.
Apart from making our Lunar New Year celebrations more vibrant and filling those watching with positive energy, the parade brings a number of advantages to the city.
It helps to boost tourism, as it is a remarkable and anticipated event in Hong Kong. Tourists from around the world gather for the event in Tsim Sha Tsui, which is one of Hong Kong’s most popular shopping and dining districts. This translates into good business for local shops. Moreover, most tourists will stay on in the city for a few days. Their tourist dollars will boost the economy of Hong Kong.
Moreover, a parade like this facilitates the exchange of culture among different countries. As the performing groups include both local and overseas performers, both spectators and the performers can learn about and admire diverse cultures through the parade.
For instance, this year’s parade included unicyclists from Japan, diabolo performers from Taiwan, jugglers from the Czech Republic and pogo performers from the US.
This year, however, the days leading up to the new year were a time of sadness for Hong Kong, with the city facing the tragedy of one of its deadliest traffic accidents: 19 people died and more than 60 others were injured on February 10 when a double-decker bus flipped on its side in Tai Po.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor called off the new year fireworks display, as a mark of respect to the victims, and her Lunar New Year message was sombre. She also announced that she would skip the tradition of visiting the Lunar New Year fair and the annual night parade last week.
As the city tries to recover from this tragedy, it is hoped that the new year parade has marked a good start to the Year of the Dog.
Katrina Lo, Tseung Kwan O
Not fair to litter Victoria Park grounds
I refer to the report on the annual Lunar New Year Fair at Victoria Park (“Hongkongers pile into the park for Lunar New Year fair”, February 15).
I was very happy to see more secondary school and university students setting up their own booths at the fair. I think it was a good chance for students to gain job experience and learn entrepreneurial skills, to face business challenges later in life.
Some students even designed their own products to sell. This can help them explore and develop their creativity, which is something that cannot learned from textbooks.
However, there was one discordant note. Many booths were selling food, such as dragon’s beard candy, traditional candy, coconut wrap and maltose crackers. I found a lot of rubbish strewn on the floor around these stalls, such as plastic wrappers and bags, and toothpicks.
I think most people dumped the rubbish on the ground because they were unable to find a rubbish bin nearby, as there aren’t too many of them around, especially in Victoria Park.
But even if there are no rubbish bins, people should be aware that they must dispose of their trash responsibly, not just dump it on the ground.
The government could think about having extra rubbish bins in the park next year, especially near the booths selling food items, so that we do not see a repeat of such littering.
Lastly, I found many people buying a lot of “Fai Chun” calligraphy banners at the fair to decorate their homes. I understand that this is a New Year tradition, but I think they were buying far too many. I suggest that people reuse their Fai Chun, so that they do not need new ones each year, and so celebrate in a much more environmentally friendly way.
Kitty Lui, Hang Hau
Give Hong Kong children room to play
I am writing in response to Peace Chiu’s article on our high-pressure education system (“Long hours, too much homework and stressed pupils – is there a solution to Hong Kong’s education system nightmare?”, February 13).
It really pained me to read about how stressed pupils are over classes, and dread going to school; they even have nightmares about it. They get so much homework that, even when it is school holidays, they barely have time to be outdoors and do what they enjoy. Even the education chief, Kevin Yeung Yun-hung, made an appeal to schools to ease the burden of homework over the Lunar New Year.
A survey also showed that 68 per cent of primary schools studied allocated less than 40 minutes for recess, while 74 per cent allowed under 50 minutes for lunch. Both are below the Education Bureau’s recommendations of two 20-minute recesses and an hour-long lunch break daily.
This is not the age for children to be always cooped up in class or at home, finishing hours of assignments. I believe it is far better to encourage students to go outdoors and engage in physical activities, as that is good for their physical and mental health, and will help them to learn better as well. Schools could hold more outdoor activities related to course work. That way, students can learn more easily and are not under constant stress.
Chloe Kwok, Kwai Chung
Ageless Federer is an inspiration in so many ways
Congratulations to 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer, for becoming the oldest number one singles player in tennis, 14 years after he first topped the rankings (“Roger Federer, 36, becomes oldest world number one in ATP rankings history”, February 17).
Federer’s drive to regain primacy and dedication are an inspiration. Nicknamed Fedex for his winning ways, the Swiss star is an example for professionals in all fields pursuing excellence, not merely in sports.
Moreover, he is a perfect gentleman on and off the tennis courts, with his exemplary manners, politeness and decency.
Despite his phenomenal achievements and wealth, he continues to be very humble and unassuming. He is a role model for all, even those who, like me, may have never picked up a tennis racket.
Rajendra Aneja, Mumbai