Letters to the Editor, December 01, 2015
Wrong to scrap unpopular school test
I disagree with those people who have called for the abolition of the Territory-wide System Assessment (TSA).
The TSA was established in local schools as a way of checking the progress being made by pupils in their studies.
The questions asked in the test are not that difficult.
If students have paid attention in their lessons, they should find the TSA relatively easy.
Parents opposed to the TSA say it is putting too much pressure on children and so they want it scrapped.
They point the finger of blame at the Education Bureau for this, but I think parents must share some of the blame, as must the schools.
Schools impose a lot of practice papers on their students, because they believe the TSA results could affect the ranking the school is given.
Students therefore face an increased workload and sometimes have to work late into the night and do not get enough sleep. Harsh parenting, in some instances, also adds to the pressure.
There is no doubt that many students in schools in Hong Kong are put under a great of pressure.
They should be given the help they need to deal with that pressure, but scrapping the TSA is not the answer. All stakeholders need to get together – bureau officials, schools and parents – and discuss the future of education for students.
I am sure solutions can be found that enable students to achieve their goals.
Polly Lo Ching-in, Yau Yat Chuen
Give students an all-round education
Many parents have complained about the Territory-wide System Assessment (TSA), saying that, to ensure a happier childhood, it should be cancelled for Primary Three students.
Local schools focus too much on academic performances, but neglect other aspects of a student’s education. There is a clearly a need to make changes to the education system in Hong Kong.
Developing social skills and physical well-being are neglected. Students are trained to be exam-oriented.
Instead, they should have a well-rounded education and academic studies are only part of that.
Moral education is important, to ensure a stable and peaceful society. People need to have the right ethical values.
Physical education matters, because exercise makes children healthier and ensures they will not become overweight, and they avoid the illnesses that can come from that.
Learning social skills matters, because it enables young people to communicate and work well with others, which will be very important in their chosen careers.
The government needs to recognise that the present education system is failing to provide this essential all-round education and it should make the necessary changes for the sake of the next generation.
Sabrina Ho Man-yau, Ma On Shan
More subsidies needed to help city’s homeless
I am concerned about homelessness in Sham Shui Po.
This is the poorest of the 18 districts in Hong Kong and it is clear to see this as most homeless people gather near Tung Chau Street temporary market.
It is estimated that there are more than 100 street sleepers in the district and, apart from the poor standard of living they face, there are also hygiene issues to consider.
Many people are reduced to this state because they have had little education and have no skills and none of the necessary work experience that employers often require.
They have little chance of earning a decent living. Their only source of income is often selling discarded material they have collected for recycling, such as copper and cardboard.
Also, some people may have worked, but fall ill or sustain an injury at work and are unable to continue with their jobs.
If they were not entitled to sick leave, they may not have any income while they are ill. They are dependent on welfare payments or any help that an NGO can offer.
High rents in Hong Kong make the homeless problem even worse.
This is a long-term problem and it is not easy to solve. However, it is a serious social issue and cannot be ignored by the government or by citizens.
The government should offer subsidies to those NGOs that help homeless people and there must be more temporary shelters.
Ada Yuen, Yuen Long
Department did not reply to query on delay
In my letter (“Roadworks delay needs explaining”, October 30), I requested for an explanation from the Water Supplies Development as to the condition of the roadworks on Tsing Yi Road, Tsing Yi.
To my disappointment, the department has yet to respond to my letter in these columns.
Regrettably, the department couldn’t care less about the concerns of residents affected by the roadworks.
To make the matter worse, I have seen no signs of resumption of the works in the weeks since my letter was published. The site appears to continue to be left unattended.
All along, a metal board has been erected on the works site bearing the original date of completion, November 22, 2015, which has now expired.
I note that, recently, this date was changed to December 31, 2016.
Clearly, an explanation from the department for the one-year delay to completion is warranted.
What has happened to necessitate the change to the original estimated date of completion?
Michael Ko, Tsing Yi
Allow street art in designated areas of HK
Hong Kong has long been perceived as a “cultural desert”, making it difficult for art and the creative sector to flourish.
The government tried to change this perception with the West Kowloon Cultural District project, but does not encourage street art. When street art appears, officials remove it.
Art needs diversity to flourish. The rights of property owners must be respected, but street art should be allowed in designated areas, for example, on the walls of abandoned buildings and in less busy streets.
The government must have a more open mind and allow alternative art forms.
Allie Yam, Yau Yat Chuen
Some graffiti an integral part of our history
Street art remains a controversial subject in Hong Kong. The most recent example of this is the Antony Gormley sculpture, which was fenced off by the Highways Department (“It’s an obstruction, insists complainant about statue”, November 25).
Some unsanctioned street art has become famous, such as the mural calligraphy of the man known as the “King of Kowloon”, Tsang Tsou-choi, and the graffiti of the street artist with the alias Invader. Should art be seen as something that is limited to acclaimed sculptures and masterpieces in museums and galleries?
Many citizens support the preservation of Tsang Tsou-choi’s graffiti as they consider his work as part of Hong Kong’s history and our collective memory.
Some graffiti is historically important, such as the graffiti you see on those parts of the Berlin Wall which have been preserved.
Why can our government not recognise that some street art can add colour to the city?
I accept that some examples of graffiti are just acts of vandalism and they should be removed.
However, the government has to accept that some of it is creative and is valid as a work of street art. It must encourage creativity in the city.
We should all be encouraged to express ourselves and officials should welcome creativity in the city, including street art that is not vandalism.
Justin Mak, Tseung Kwan O
Poor hygiene on mainland bad for tourism
I refer to your editorial (“Lift standards to draw tourists”, November 25).
Travellers expect to stay in a friendly, clean environment when they visit a country for a holiday. However, that is not always what they experience when they visit China.
They see a lot of litter and citizens spitting and an overall lack of good hygiene in some places.
The central government needs to address this issue. It should introduce stringent regulations to improve hygiene, with increased fines or even a custodial sentence for those who flout them.
Restaurants which adhere to the rules and have a record of good hygiene should have a special sticker which they can put in the window and tourists know it is safe to eat there.
Education of Chinese citizens is also important and it should start from an early age, through, for example, television adverts, talks and leaflets, and it should be targeted not just at children, but also at adults.
The message must be got across to all Chinese citizens about the importance of good hygiene.
Chan Kwan-tung, Tsuen Wan