Letters to the editor, February 1, 2016

PUBLISHED : Monday, 01 February, 2016, 6:18pm
UPDATED : Monday, 01 February, 2016, 6:18pm

University initiative hurts local students

I do not agree with the letter by Stanley Ip (“More foreign competition at local universities will raise the quality of Hong Kong graduates”, January 20).

Local students work so hard to get the chance to study at a university in Hong Kong.

They put in long hours after the school day to improve their prospects of winning a place and some go to tutorial classes as well.

However, their prospects are further reduced with more places being offered to students from outside Hong Kong.

This will increase the competition for the limited number of university places and this can only lead to more young Hongkongers facing even more ­pressure than before.

For many of them, if a lot more students from outside Hong Kong are admitted to ­tertiary institutions here, many local youngsters will have their dreams of a university ­education ruined by this government policy.

In his policy address Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying announced an injection of HK$1 billion into a scholarship fund for students from abroad.

Local students cannot apply and since 2014, far less has been made available to them in the form of subsidies.

It is disappointing that at ­tertiary level the chief executive is allocating fewer resources to ­locals.

This will raise the level of discontent felt by Hong Kong citizens, especially youngsters.

It comes down to what should be the priority for the government in education and the needs of local students as ­opposed to those who are not from Hong Kong.

Maybe it is true that allowing more foreign students may ­improve the quality of the local graduates. But there must be better ways to make such improvements, such as offering more scholarships for young people who do well academically.

Also, more exchange programmes could be organised with foreign universities.

This would help broaden the horizons of young people of the city.

The government should be trying to strike a balance so that the needs of foreign and local students are satisfied and the two groups can help each other.

Debby Wong, Hang Hau

We should cooperate with police officers

In his column ( “Cold-weather bravado in Hong Kong is far from cool”, January 25), Alex Lo blames the people who risked their lives and those of the rescuers by ignoring warnings against potential ­dangers.

I agree that the frost-chasers were silly to have overlooked the severity of the cold snap that hit Hong Kong. I hope they have learned from the experience and will ­refrain from such thoughtless acts from now on.

There are, however, people whose attitude is even more blameworthy. In a video widely spread on the internet, a Hong Kong girl is seen shouting at a policeman who is ­trying to stop her going up the hill.

She says, “I’m responsible for my own life,” obviously displeased at the policeman’s interference with her freedom. She further points out that it is the police’s responsibility to save lives. She may have thought her assertion justifiable, but I don’t think she knows the least thing about what it means to be responsible.

A responsible person will not do anything that causes an unfavourable result. In this case, her thoughtlessness could have cost not only her own life but those of ­others who went to her rescue.

This is selfishness, which is unacceptable. Imagine a drug addict asserting that he is accountable for his own life. Would that make government attention to the problem of drug abuse unnecessary?

This may have been a rare case. But it has raised concern for a more ­caring and responsible attitude among citizens and for better cooperation with the police to ­ensure the effective execution of their responsibilities.

Angela Chong, Macau

Curb cheating with less homework

I am concerned that some ­students are plagiarising their homework by using the internet.

I think the main motivation for doing this is that students want to reduce the time required for them to do their homework in the evening.

We live in a very competitive society and the education ­system reflects that. Therefore teachers assign pupils a lot of homework.

Many tests are set to try and give youngsters a better chance of getting a place at a university.

This requires a lot of revision. Consequently, some students try to cut corners with other homework by taking information online and then deciding to put it into their assignments verbatim. They may also try to rush homework because they are late starting it on account of being distracted by apps such as Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat. Again this forces them to rush their assigments and they go online.

This problem of plagiarism using the internet is becoming more common. I think one solution would be for teachers to assign less homework.

This will give students an easier workload and they are less likely to resort to internet plagiarism.

Kaka Lau, Tseung Kwan O

Give children financial class in school

I refer to the letter by ­Melody Ho (“Teach children to spend ­sensibly” January 21).

Many children have a poor sense of financial management. Some Hongkongers born before 1970 might have endured ­poverty during childhood and when they became parents in a much more prosperous society did not want their children to suffer the same deprivations.

However, to earn enough to have a good life they often have to work long hours in the office and cannot spend as much time as they would wish at home with the family.

In order to compensate they may give their sons and daughters everything they want.

If children do not get the right guidance they will spend money unwisely, on what they want rather than what they need.

For example, some teenagers will buy the newest model of smartphone to keep up with the latest trend.

They may want to show off and so buy a lot expensive items that are unnecessary.

Parents and schools must educate young people so they learn about the importance of financial management.They must learn how to manage their pocket money sensibly. These important lessons should start from an early age.

Parents can be good role models when it comes to how they spend their money. Also, they should be sensible about how much pocket money to give.

Chloe Hung Yee-ching, Lai Chi Kok

More rent allowance schemes

Exorbitant property prices, high rents, small living spaces and poor living conditions illustrate that housing problems are serious in Hong Kong.

I accept that the government must act to ease the housing shortage in order to improve the living standards of Hong Kong citizens. In the policy address, it was announced that there would be a public consultation over the development of Lantau. The idea is to substantially increase the supply of residential land and so help to cool an overheated property market.

However, I do not see this as a way of alleviating that shortage. I think there is a danger that development projects there could simply lead to the building of luxury estates with villas which are way beyond the budgets of most of us. By contrast we would probably only see a small increase in the number of public housing units available.

This would not alleviate our housing problems and it would lead to more discontent among Hong Kong citizens and result in them having even more grievances against the government.

People would also be concerned about the threat to the island’s environment. The environmental protection of Lantau is important.

The government should ­instead be ­following the ­example set by Singapore and having more rental assistance schemes so that more ­citizens could afford the skyrocketing rents ­people now face.

It also has to implement more urban renewal projects and maximise use of available vacant land with development projects.

I understand that the chief executive cannot solve all our housing woes with one policy ­address. Different interests and stakeholders must be considered when formulating ­housing policies and we still have a long way to go.

Castle Cheung, Lam Tin

We can all do our bit to save the planet

We are experiencing so many problems in the environment globally, caused, for example, by global warming and increased pollution.

These problems are a result of human behaviour and they can have a catastrophic effect and threaten our world.

We all need to be aware of the environmental challenges and we should make changes in our daily lives in an effort to try and ­protect our planet.

In the summer, for example, we should use fans instead of air-conditioners when that is feasible and not set air-cons at such cold temperatures. When we go out shopping we need to take reusable bags.

People who have ­private cars should sometimes opt for public transport.

We should ­follow the 3Rs – reduce, reuse and recycle).

Suki Lee, Hang Hau