Paul Stapleton
Paul Stapleton
Paul Stapleton is a long-time resident of several countries in Asia, where he has been teaching and researching at various universities. He writes about environmental, social and educational issues. In his op-eds, Paul's goal is to shed some light on issues of interest as well as generate a bit of heat.

The housing shortage is severe now and solutions are needed. But expensive projects that take over a decade to realise must be assessed against Hong Kong’s very low birth and immigration rates.


The Huawei CFO’s tin-eared blog about her ‘rough road ahead’ is in sharp contrast to the grim fate of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, denied access to lawyers, with no trial date set. Between Canadian rule of law and Beijing’s ‘hostage diplomacy’, there is a clear deficit of fair play.


To better prepare our youths for a brave new technologically different world, education needs to change, starting with experiential, out-of-classroom self-learning.


Machine translation is advanced enough to produce believable versions of primary school students’ compositions. What are the implications for the way English and other subjects are now taught in Hong Kong?

There may be signs of an actual improvement in how the locals are speaking English, and that most of the complaints are coming from native speakers who can’t be bothered to learn any Cantonese

Celebrity golfers should stick to sport and the Hong Kong government to common sense on the issue of whether the Fanling golf course should be sacrificed for housing.

The government’s reluctance to substantially raise penalties for traffic violations and parking meter fees indicates a lack of commitment to curbing congestion and pollution. However, the unrestricted growth in the number of private cars on the roads is the real problem.

Paul Stapleton says a survey claiming to show a steep fall in HK's English skills in just four years may have attracted politicians' sound bites but the results should have been greeted with scepticism

The recent news that red meat, especially preserved meats such as bacon and ham, causes cancer may come as a surprise. Putting bacon in the same category as tobacco seems extreme given that, unlike cigarettes, it is a good source of protein and other nutrients.

Academic staff at Hong Kong universities have just finished making the final tweaks to their grant proposals for this year’s round of submissions.

A new year is now just beginning on university campuses around the city and, as it does, a remarkable social phenomenon is taking place.

The recent incident involving the death of a stray dog struck and killed by an MTR train once again reveals a disturbing hypocrisy with regard to the treatment of and concern about animals.

In education circles, the term "critical thinking" has become one of the buzzwords of our times. More often than not, the term is used to lament the lack of good-quality thinking among the current generation of students.

The debate over a third runway at Hong Kong's airport is heating up again, but it is a debate in name only. In reality, the outcome is a foregone conclusion with only minor tweaks, such as the date to begin construction, yet to be worked out.

The recent news that three tonnes of pangolin scales worth HK$17 million were found by authorities here in Hong Kong comes as no surprise.

This month, final-year secondary school students are writing exams that in many cases will determine their future. For those with hopes of entering university, their main focus will be on doing well in the four core subjects.

Trans-fats are in the news again. These fats, which are vegetable oils that have been artificially solidified in a chemical process, are cheap ingredients in foods providing a pleasant texture and longer shelf life. Instant noodles and biscuits, for example, often contain them.

At a recent event that I attended, a buffet lunch was on offer as part of the day's activities. As I stood in line waiting to pick up my plate, the aromas from the hot offerings wafted towards the queue.

Once again, images of chickens being grabbed by their wings and tossed into plastic bags to be gassed and sent to incinerators have hit our TV screens. The wasted lives of this massive number of sentient beings underscores a sad reality and hypocrisy in the way society treats animals.


The criticism of mainland Chinese tourists has now spread well beyond Hong Kong, with stories about their apparent bad behaviour coming from Vancouver, Paris, Seoul and the Maldives, just to name a few.

For the past four years, I have been conducting my own little experiment in Hong Kong. I have not thrown away any of my food waste into the garbage containers supplied by the management of the building where I live. Instead, each day my partner and I collect fruit and vegetable peels and food leftovers and dump it all into a specially designed bucket that we keep on our small balcony. After about two weeks, we scoop the resulting compost out and take it to our small plot where it fertilises our vegetables.