Letters to the Editor, June 16, 2015
Baby-safe windows must be mandatory
How many more children need to die in Hong Kong before the government introduces proper window standards in buildings?
With scary regularity, a baby falls to his death from a Hong Kong skyscraper.
Yet neither the Hong Kong government, nor local developers do anything to introduce basic safety features that could save our children's lives. Window blade safety hooks and handles that require two-hand operation for opening, thus impossible for small children to open, have been in use for 40 years or more.
Such systems would also avoid the use of the prison-like grilles so common in Hong Kong.
Unfortunately, every day, new apartments are handed over to the public without the most basic baby safety features than could save the lives of children and people walking on the streets.
Stratospheric prices do not warrant safety, nor quality, in Hong Kong's buildings, and innocent children are paying for developers' greed and the government's total apathy to introduce building safety standards to protect the lives of Hong Kong citizens.
After all, this is the only place in the world where I've seen not only campaigns warning of falling windows, but actual windows falling in dense residential areas.
If the government can't even enforce the installations of "fall-safe" windows, how can we even expect them to mandate baby-safe windows?
S. Bestia, Quarry Bay
Text language creeping into everyday use
Textspeak is a kind of language on the internet, which uses a combination of numbers, symbols and letters from the alphabet.
Words are created and sometimes the effect can be amusing and entertaining.
People use textspeak to communicate with friends online, for example, chatting on WhatsApp. It helps people to relax and is a release from the stress of our daily lives.
It is a swift way to write and send a text.
However, like other aspects of the internet, it can become addictive. Also, some people are using textspeak so frequently online that it sometimes creeps into other material that they write.
It is perfectly okay to use textspeak online, but in the real world we need to stick to the correct use of language.
Jacky Leung Kai-kit, Tseung Kwan O
Many teens under a lot of pressure
There are quite a few teenagers who have health problems, some of them physical and others psychological.
One health issue that has escalated in recent years is obesity. A growing number of young people have the sort of bad diet combined with lack of exercise that has led to them developing weight problems.
Psychological problems are common in schools. Hong Kong students are under a lot of pressure academically and this can result in them having emotional problems. They can also face difficulties in their private lives which lead to higher levels of stress.
One of the main reasons so many teenagers have health problems is because they are not getting enough exercise. They will argue that they are so busy with their studies that they do not have enough time for exercise.
Also, some say there are not enough sports venues for them, because there is not enough land to build them. Any available land in Hong Kong is needed for housing.
The government should be launching campaigns encouraging people to exercise more and eat healthy diets.
Ulysses Wu, Sheung Shui
Persevere with reading in English
I agree with correspondents who say young people should read more if they want to have a better grasp of English.
However, many Hong Kong students avoid reading books and newspapers in English.
Some students find it more difficult to read a text in English, because there are a lot of words that they will not understand. This is true of newspapers.
However, they should persevere. Reading more will also improve their understanding of grammar.
Many Hong Kong students still struggle today to be able to speak a complete sentence in English.
If they read a lot more on their own, they will become more confident with regard to sentence structures and will be more likely to be able to speak English.
Aubrey Chui, Fanling
Liberal studies should not be compulsory
I agree with correspondents who have called for liberal studies to be an elective rather than a core subject.
I do not think it does encourage independent thinking among young people. Many students often memorise a lot of facts and this does not develop critical thinking.
Often, the students will be influenced heavily by the course teacher and take the stance recommended by the teacher.
This shows a lack of independent thinking. They are not looking at both sides of the argument.
Even with this subject, there is an element of rote learning and this means teenagers are not acquiring a lot of knowledge.
Overall, liberal studies is imposing a heavy burden on young people, with students having to write so many essays.
Cheung Shun-hang, Tai Po
Bright lights can keep people awake
Light pollution can be a serious problem for some residents in urban areas like Mong Kok.
The main problem is brightly lit advertising signs which stay illuminated at night.
You see dazzling displays of light in very tall buildings, especially during festivals.
However, they become a problem when they disturb people's sleep. And in urban areas at night, there is so much light pollution that you can no longer see the stars in the night sky.
The government should urge shops to reduce their levels of light pollution and conduct more education about its adverse consequences for the environment.
The annual Earth Hour in March also help raise awareness, with over 170 countries getting involved.
Zita Chan Long-sum,Kowloon Tong
Raw deal for ethnic minorities
I am a high school student in Hong Kong, and I have recently been volunteering a lot with some ethnic minority children.
I was very disturbed when I read about the discrimination against these children when entering kindergartens and schools.
It is the responsibility of our government to ensure that all children in Hong Kong are given places in kindergartens. These children should not be denied places because of their parent's lack of English/Cantonese communication skills.
When these children are denied places, they are essentially being assigned the same fate as their parents, a life in a cycle of poverty.
If children are denied places in these kindergartens, their parents may feel discriminated against.
This can easily affect the social harmony of Hong Kong, and set the stage for possible protests.
Many local kindergartens in Hong Kong only teach in Cantonese, but don't actually teach the language, excluding those children who don't speak it. This could also hinder their educational growth in primary and secondary school.
The government says that it has fulfilled its duties in this matter, but I don't agree.
Abi Yee, Tai Tam
Discrimination in workplace still common
There is still room for improvement when it comes to gender equality in the workplace.
There needs to be more education so that employees become more aware of gender discrimination and come to recognise that it is wrong.
It has been a traditional belief in Hong Kong that men are superior to women.
Therefore, some men in the workplace are not comfortable with a woman having a better job.
They may not even be aware that by adopting and holding to this attitude, they are showing discrimination to their female colleagues.
There can be subtle gender stereotypes, which can mean that women face gender discrimination in the workplace.
More research needs to be conducted about what policies are needed to ensure Hong Kong has a gender-equal workforce.
For example, having more childcare services can ensure more women can return to the workplace and have an equal chance to get promotion.
There is still more that can be done in Hong Kong to ensure that male and female employees have equal working opportunities.
Only when that is possible and is widespread will Hong Kong become well known as a city which enjoys gender equality.
Chan Yan-lam, Yau Yat Chuen