Letters to the Editor, August 11, 2015

PUBLISHED : Monday, 10 August, 2015, 5:34pm
UPDATED : Monday, 10 August, 2015, 5:34pm

Answer is not to slash college budgets

Jake van der Kamp raised some interesting points in his article ("Time for Hong Kong to slash university budgets amid job mismatch among young people", August 6).

It makes little sense to keep pumping too many specialised college graduates into an economic environment which can only provide jobs for a much smaller number. But, to conclude that over-educating people broadly and then throwing them into the job market is a bad idea and a waste of money takes a far too narrow view.

Van der Kamp notes with a sniff that "The best managers I knew never went to university." That might be true because, as we all can surmise, a college education merely provides a platform for thinking and doing. It certainly is not the be-all, end-all, for being successful in business or life. But, to somehow suppose that de-funding higher education is a cure-all for matching graduates with jobs is not the point.

Higher education is an opportunity for people to learn in a structured and focused way about a profession, or, more generally, the world we live in.

Pumping out dental school graduates when the market can only support a smaller number is not good. But, the passion for learning, and understanding how the world has worked and does work, through a liberal arts education, should never be compromised. So, yes, maybe we need fewer dentists, but that shouldn't mean that we throw out universities and the ability to elevate understanding of the world we live in.

Young people looking at their future deserve hope. Let's not be blind. But, importantly, let's not be dumb.

Mark Hooper, Pok Fu Lam 

More people should sign up as donors

I could not agree more with those who argue that people who donate their organs or part of an organ give a precious gift to the recipient. A blind person who is given the gift of sight gets to see a wonderful world.

And it is the same transforming experience for people who are given other organs, such as a heart and lungs.

Unfortunately, some people hold on to traditional beliefs and do not register as organ donors, which is a shame.

I admire the two brave daughters who risked their lives so their father could have a liver transplant ("Daughters give livers to save dad in world-first surgery", August 3).

He would have died if operations were not done. The team of surgeons used parts of the daughters' livers. The hospital has performed 1,182 liver transplant operations since 1991. But only 44 per cent involved livers donated by those who have died.

The rate of people willing to donate their livers after death is relatively low, because Asian people are traditional and want their bodies intact at the time of burial or cremation.

I hope this remarkable story will open the eyes of people and the public in general.

Hopefully, it will help them to realise that their practical act of registering as organ donors can save people's lives.

They have to realise that the donation of body parts can definitely save people's lives.

Our government can play a major role in increasing the number of donors by vigorously publicising the importance of the organ donor register.

A. L. Nanik, Tsim Sha Tsui

Materialism a problem with youngsters

Over the past few years, youngsters have become more materialistic.

They are keen to buy the latest fashions and smartphones, and I think this is a cause for concern.

Part of this materialism is caused by peer pressure. Young people want to fit in with their peer group.

They think that one way of doing this is to have the same material items as the other children.

They are afraid of appearing to be different in case they are rejected and isolated. Some may feel that their social status will be enhanced if they keep buying the latest smartphone.

They are also influenced by celebrities they admire such as pop stars.

Many youngsters think the pop idols are fashionable and so they follow them, and want to buy things their idols use and advertise. They feel this may give them a higher social status among their peers.

However, if they focus too much on materialism, they can neglect the more important things in life - things such as real communication with family members. They are the people who can help you and listen to you when you have problems.

I do think the growing materialism of young people is a cause for concern. I think this can be countered by education. And parents also have a role to play. They need to explain to their children that while money is important it should be used with care.

Tang Wingkar, Yau Yat Chuen 

More women now in top positions

I support the growth of the feminist movement throughout the world.

It can bring so many benefits to our world.

First of all, from the perspective of individuals, feminism encourages freedom of one's development.

In today's society, gender stereotypes appear everywhere, such as in the workplace and even sometimes with students in schools.

For example, girls are often expected to take arts subjects while boys are expected to do science.

This may hinder a young person's personal development, and lead to them feeling needless stress.

Feminism promotes the value of "gender equity", and encourages boys and girls not to feel confined by their development in society. This is why I support feminism.

Thanks to the growth of the feminist movement, we have had several influential female leaders.

People have come to realise that women can be influential in society and can make a difference.

Examples of influential female leaders in Asia include Aung San Suu Kyi, Malala Yousafzai , and Park Geun-hye are excellent example showing that women have the ability to lead people towards justice, freedom and happiness. With the success of feminism, many people would not accept women leaders and we would have a less peaceful world.

Feminism can help promote respect between males and females.

If we can learn to respect people as people, we can all learn to live in a more harmonious world.

I believe feminism is a movement that we should all support.

It helps to promote gender equity and encourages people to pursue their ambitions.

Wong Siu-yuk, Sham Shui Po

Parents do sit on board of governors

I refer to the opinion piece by Anjali Hazari ("Parents can contribute to good governance in schools", August 5).

She is clearly misinformed about who makes up the Canadian International School board of governors and the information in her piece is factually incorrect.

In asking the question "Should parents have a place in school management?" there is an implication that parents are not included in the Canadian International School's board of governors. The 2015-16 board of governors at the school includes six parents, which means one-third of the board consists of parents.

Further, she seems to be completely unaware of the efforts now taking place to ensure the school is in line with best practices in Hong Kong.

Contrary to what Ms Hazari presented, the school's members and governors have been very responsive to parental concerns.

In late 2014, a multi-stakeholder task force for governance reform was established and is presently implementing new policies to provide adequate separation of powers between the board and administration.

This includes shifting four board committees away from the board's control and into the hands of the administration.

It is unfortunate that people are weighing in without knowing the full facts.

For anyone who would like a clearer understanding of the issues at Canadian International School and the changes taking place, I would encourage them to visit on our school website www.cdnis.edu.hk and click on "Just the Facts".

Melanie Hnetka, communications manager, Canadian International School of Hong Kong

Cathay uses four languages on route

I refer to the letter from A. W. Jayawardena ("Cathay must be sensitive to local cultures", August 6).

As a standard practice on our Colombo flights, in-flight announcements are made in four languages - English, Cantonese, Sinhala and Tamil.

On Mr Jayawardena's flight on July 17, it seems there could have been an oversight and that in-flight announcements were not made in all the intended languages, although we have been unable to verify this.

However, we have reminded our colleagues about the standard practice for announcements on this route.

We are pleased that Mr Jayawardena had a pleasant and comfortable flight experience with Cathay Pacific.

We always value customer feedback and look forward to seeing Mr Jayawardena on our flights again.

Le Le Ng, manager in-flight services standards and safety, Cathay Pacific Airways