Letters to the Editor, April 6, 2016

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 06 April, 2016, 5:08pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 06 April, 2016, 5:08pm

Channel helps children with their English

I was very disappointed to learn about Now TV’s decision to terminate Channel 445, Discovery Kids, from April 11.

According to the customer relations officer I spoke with, the decision to terminate the ­channel was mainly for business reasons, not because Now TV wanted to terminate the service.

While Now TV might feel that it is merely a business decision, it should think about corporate social responsibility and how important this channel is to children in Hong Kong.

Channel 445 covers a wide range of subjects – including ­general knowledge, science, the humanities and arts – in a very interesting way. It helps children to learn in a fun way.

Many children have told me they learn more from the programmes they watch on ­Discovery Kids than they do from school textbooks. It also ­provides a good English-learning tool and this is rare in Hong Kong.

The kind of programmes broadcast on Channel 445 are not easily accessible to Hong Kong citizens. These quality programmes can play an important role in a city with declining ­English standards and a rigid ­learning style in schools.

I urge Now TV to reconsider its decision. This is definitely a way for Now TV to help Hong Kong children and do some good for ­society.

Edward Lee, Ap Lei Chau

MTR should be lowering its fares this year

The MTR Corporation is ­proposing to raise fares this year by up to 2.7 per cent. This is being done under the fare adjustment mechanism.

As an MTR passenger, I am not happy with this decision, ­because the company has never used this mechanism to adjust fares downwards. The MTR Corp has a rail monopoly in Hong Kong and so most citizens have no choice but to use its ­services. Consequently, it makes huge profits annually and I do not see any justification for ­raising fares this year. Also, there have been technical problems on the network and breakdowns of service which have been very inconvenient for passengers.

It does offer discounts on same-day return trips, but this is not beneficial to all passengers like me who only make one trip.

The fairest way to make sure that all its users benefit is to have an across-the-board fare cut.

Samantha Ho Lai-ching, Kowloon Tong

Good to learn simplified characters

I refer to the article by Raymond Young (“Traditional or simplified, the script is for communication”, March 30) and don’t understand the brouhaha over learning simplified characters.

I learned Chinese (simplified characters) at Peking University in the mid-1970s.

When I came to Hong Kong I was confronted with traditional characters. I quickly realised that many of the differences were logical and straightforward. For example, simplified radicals are based on pre-existing cursive forms in use for ­centuries. These are very quickly mastered.

It took me just a few months of part-time study to be able to read Hong Kong signage and newspapers in traditional characters.

Moreover, I suggest it’s easier to go from traditional to simplified, rather than the ­opposite route I did.

If an adult gweilo such as me can quickly adapt from simplified to traditional characters, surely local mother-tongue ­Chinese speakers can go from traditional to simplified even more quickly.

As for calligraphy, of course it will continue to be done in the more artistically felicitous traditional characters.

In short, Hongkongers should stop moaning and get on with the job of learning the written form that’s used by the vast majority of Chinese, and one that will enable reading Mandarin as it’s increasingly written outside China. It’s not about China trying another takeover route.

Peter Forsythe, Discovery Bay

Officials must act over illegal dumping

Fly-tipping of tonnes of soil is a problem in the New Territories. Companies involved in fly-tipping are seeking to reduce their costs.

Although the government says it has been monitoring the problem of fly-tipping of waste, there are still a lot of cases of dumping where the government appears unable to act, sometimes because it cannot find enough evidence against the alleged culprit. Few cases are prosecuted in the courts.

I do not see using concrete to stabilise a dump site and ­prevent a collapse during heavy rain as being the right solution. Once the concrete has hardened it is more difficult to ­clear up this site.

If a pile of waste appears to be hazardous then the government must have the powers to remove it immediately, before the rainy season starts.

It is not acceptable for government departments to just leave it as it is and do nothing for a long period, which is what happened with the “waste hill” in Tin Shui Wai.

If waste dumping is considered by officials to be illegal then they must act.

The government must find an effective solution to this long-term problem of illegal dumping and it should act swiftly.

Bonnie Lee Chun-tung, Kowloon Tong

Zero tolerance approach is long overdue

I have been concerned about the safety of residents living near the massive illegal mound of waste in Tin Shui Wai and the inefficient way in which the goverment managed the whole incident.

Residents were really frustrated with the lack of effective action by the relevant government departments.

Complaints over this site had been lodged as far back as 2007 and yet officials failed to take ­notice until it received widespread media attention.

When landowners see this lack of action it encourages them to continue dumping waste. Shotcreting this site does not get to the root of the problem of illegal dumping.

There must be a change of tack by the government. If it wants to restore public confidence in itself it must show zero tolerance towards acts of illegal dumping and it must impose tougher penalties.

Fung Sze-man, Ngau Chi Wan

Let marine animals stay in the wild

I understand why marine ­animals are kept in captivity in aquariums.

One argument put forward is the education one: that many people who will never get the chance to see dolphins and whales in their natural habitat can learn about conservation by seeing them in captivity.

However, do those people running aquariums and theme parks think about the animals’ feelings and if they are suffering?

The tanks they are confined in are too small for these large mammals compared to the ­distances they travel in the wild. This must have a devastating ­effect on them mentally and I doubt if their lifespan is as long in captivity.

I do not think these marine animals should continue to be kept in captivity and they should no longer be caught for such purposes. They should be left alone and be allowed to stay in the wild.

Senuri Cheng Tsz-wai, Yau Yat Chuen