Letters to the Editor, September 13, 2015
Why overseas college can be good option
I refer to the letter by Rico Lam Man-ho ("An overseas education not for everyone", August 18).
He said many parents send their children to study abroad, either because they dislike the spoon-feeding system of education in our schools, or because at tertiary stage, their children have failed to secure a place at a local university.
I agree that the exam-oriented local education system puts too much pressure on parents and students. We grow up thinking the only way to succeed in society is to get into a university. Everything is geared towards that and so youngsters go to many tutorial classes to achieve that aim, often leaving them little time for relaxation. They often work late into the night on homework. As a Form Six student I sometimes feel overwhelmed by the pressure I face. This is why some parents who have sufficient funds send their children to overseas schools.
The learning environment abroad is more relaxed and allows youngsters to follow their interests. Here they are trying to get high marks in exams rather than acquire real knowledge.
Some students who fail to get a place at a local university will go abroad. A friend of mine will study in Taiwan where the fees are very reasonable, and the cost of living is cheaper.
As your correspondent said, an overseas education does not suit all. They will not be under parental supervision. They have to practise self-discipline and work out their own time-management schedule.
However, I think young Hongkongers can benefit from a period of study overseas and I hope the government will make more subsidies available to give youngsters like me the opportunity to broaden our horizons.
Vivian Lai, Sha Tin
Best learning environment still a school
I refer to the letter by Charity Ng Shuk-ling ("Mainstream schools still the best option", August 31).
I agree with your correspondent that home-schooling does more harm than good as it impedes the development of children's social skills.
Schools have a well-designed curriculum, together with experienced teachers. Not only can they gain a good command of Chinese, English and Putonghua, they can make selections from a wide choice of subjects.
Also, at senior secondary level, liberal studies enables them to develop their critical thinking and analytical skills. Many teachers at local schools have been in the profession for many years and utilise that experience, helping youngsters to discover their talents.
Also, the schools have equipment and facilities not available to the homes-schooled pupils, such as music rooms and laboratories from those studying science subjects. This is a wonderful learning environment for young people.
If the only teachers are parents in a home-schooling situation, the youngster will not be offered the diversity of teaching skills available in a local school. They may have a more flexible curriculum, but they will not have access to such a wide range of learning material.
Education is not solely about teaching what is in textbooks but also equipping students with essential qualities and skills. In this way, schools provide the best environment to enable children to interact and learn about the importance of team spirit.
In mainstream education there are group activities where students must cooperate with each other and hone their interpersonal skills. This can happen, for example, when they play team sports or learn English through performing plays.
In a home-schooled environment children are deprived of that interaction. Parents must think twice before taking their child out of mainstream schools.
Thomas Tsoi, Ma On Shan
Use internet to get more shoppers
I am concerned about the problem of light pollution in Hong Kong. It is particularly bad in certain urban areas, such as Central and Mong Kok.
Many shopkeepers have brightly illuminated signs to attract customers and I am sure complaints from nearby residents are increasing. These retailers and the government should try to find an acceptable solution.
A normal sign that is not brightly lit might stand out. Bright colours applied creatively and better designs, could make a sign more attractive to potential customers than an unattractive neon sign.
Also, shopkeepers should look at other ways to attract customers such as promoting their business on the internet. More people are now using social network sites like Facebook.
The government must now consider legislation to curb this problem. A law is needed which has controls to curb light pollution and which can lead to retailers being penalised if signs are too brightly lit.
Macy Leung Tan-ting, Tseung Kwan O
Air will get worse if trams are scrapped
I refer to the letter by Carman Cheung Cheuk-Ping's ("Trams give us all a chance to slow down", September 2).
I agree with her that the trams are unique and nothing could replace them.
Retired planner Sit Kwok-keung wants them to be phased out to relieve traffic congestion in Central and Admiralty. I can think of a number of ways to rectify the traffic problems (such as restricting car flow), but doing away with the trams is not one of them.
As your correspondent pointed out, the trams remind us of the benefits of a slower pace in life. They are the only mode of transport where you can relax and enjoy the street views of Hong Kong Island.
Also, the fares are cheap compared to buses and the MTR and the service is convenient ,which appeals to students and to office workers.
Because the tram routes go to some of the busiest parts of Hong Kong Island, many people take them during rush hours, in preference to other modes of transport.
They are also eco-friendly as there are no emissions. If they were scrapped, the roadside air pollution problems in Central and Admiralty would get worse. And, they are very reliable with few breakdowns or disruption of service.
The proposal to scrap them was made to the Town Planning Board and the board should take note of the hostile response from the public to Mr Sit's idea.
Jeffrey Chan, Fo Tan
Education can help curb animal abuse
I am concerned about the scale of mistreatment of animals in Hong Kong and the problem seems to be getting worse.
It is astonishing that some people still seem to treat their pets as a kind of toy, failing to realise that this a lifetime commitment.
They do not understand that no matter how tired or busy they are, their pet still needs looking after. It still requires food, water, exercise and companionship.
I think there needs to be better education about care of animals and this should start with teenagers. Then they can learn about how to care properly for animals before they become pet owners.
Nicole Wong Yuen-shan, Tseung Kwan O