Letters to the editor, April 21, 2016

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 21 April, 2016, 6:02pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 21 April, 2016, 6:01pm

Taiwan doing well thanks to Ma’s policies

Your editorial (“KMT still has a crucial role to play”, April 6) claimed that President Ma Ying-jeou strengthened trade and investment links with the mainland and held groundbreaking talks with President Xi Jingping (習近平 ) “given how Ma’s policies failed to halt a slide in ­economic growth and stem ­rising unemployment”, which is inconsistent with the facts and figures. I would like to share some relevant information with your readers.

First, the “Ma-Xi meeting” had no feature aimed at stimulating an economic boom.

Although it has been affected adversely by the global economic slowdown in recent years, Taiwan’s economic development has maintained steady growth. Germany’s Bertelsman Foundation recently released its Bertelsmann Stiftung’s Transformation Index (BTI), and Taiwan was ranked at the top of 129 countries around the world.

Besides, the performance of Taiwan’s economy in terms of price stability and a ­stable financial sector indicates that the economic reforms under the Ma administration have bolstered the economic structure.

Second, the unemployment rate soared sharply following the 2008 financial crisis, and the Taiwanese government devoted its full efforts to creating job opportunities. As a result, an estimated 750,000 job opportunities were added over seven years.

The unemployment rate since October 2010 has fallen to below 5 per cent. In 2015, the average unemployment rate dropped to 3.78 per cent, the lowest level in nearly 15 years. Meanwhile, in the same year, the average youth unemployment rate among the 15-to-24-year-olds was down to 2.05 per cent, its lowest point since the financial turmoil.

Actually, each university graduate possesses two job opportunities on average, reflecting that our unemployment rate is far better than many Organisation for Economic Development and Cooperation countries.

Ines Huei-ying Chang, deputy director, Taipei Economic and Cultural Office

Time to drop the age bias in workplace

Hong Kong now faces a ­serious problem of age discrimination.

A lot of elderly people are discriminated against in different ways in our society.

Some may be forced to leave their job, because of a set retirement age in the workplace. This can be forced on them, despite the fact that they are capable of continuing to work and wish to do so.

They may dread retirement, thinking it will be boring. Companies should be more ­flexible and allow employees to work for longer if they are still up to the job.

In some countries, their experience is valued and they are seen as mentors in a workplace. We should see them in the same light in Hong Kong.

If these elderly workers are still committed to the job, they should be allowed to continue.

There can also be problems with a generation gap in a family. Sometimes, younger family members will scold their older relatives, saying they are stubborn and have outdated views on things.

They should appreciate the contribution these people made to the development of Hong Kong and its prosperity.

We should not tolerate any kind of discrimination, whether on the basis of age, race, or ­gender. Mutual respect is important in society.

Chan Hei-yin, Tseung Kwan O

Disneyland, Ocean Park can team up

In your editorial “HK Disneyland needs makeover” (April 19), you write that, because of ­falling revenues and the competition from Shanghai Disneyland, our own theme park needs new ideas to ­promote a turnaround. I would like to suggest one.

There is a boat pier in front of the main hotel which could be used to ferry clients from any of the resort hotels, soon to be three, to Ocean Park and back. Instead of looking upon Ocean Park as a rival, it should be seen as a partner – a partner in satisfying the desires of its clients.

As with the Disneylands in Florida and California, one does not normally visit the areas only to attend one attraction. It is my guess that those who are staying in one of the hotels of Disneyland, Hong Kong, would like to spend at least two days in the hotel, using one of those days to go in a high-speed ferry to Ocean Park in order to enjoy that location. There could even be ­combined tickets at a cheaper rate.

Successful marketing of this idea could promote ­increased tourism, not only in the two theme parks, but also Hong Kong in general.

I believe a hotel is due to be completed in Ocean Park next year. This would make my idea even more ­attractive.

Agents do offer packages in which there are tickets for both parks, but this is different to the parks themselves selling the tickets, either directly, or through their hotels. In addition, the packages certainly do not ­include boat rides between the two.

There are times when cooperation brings more benefits than competition.

Chris Stubbs, Discovery Bay

Emphasis on exams hinders learning

I refer to Charles Loy’s letter (‘The way English is taught in class makes students lose ­interest”, April 11).

It is not only in the English class where this happens, but also with other subjects.

The methods used by teachers in Hong Kong schools fail to cultivate students’ interest in learning. The teachers’ focus is more on public exams and so students are given a lot of exercises, which puts them under pressure. Learning used to be an enjoyable experience, but now all students have to concentrate on preparing for the public exam instead of enjoying the process of learning. This is caused by the government emphasising the importance of this exam.

Your correspondent wondered why teachers get ­students to blindly copy words instead of checking that they know the meaning of the words and how to pronounce them. I think that the teachers have become training machines for exams. They do not teach ­material that is not relevant to the exam.

Copying is the most direct method to ensure ­students remember sentences. The education system in Hong Kong places too much emphasis on the ­public exam. The stress caused by academic studies in the city has taken a terrible toll, with a high number of student suicides in the past few months.

The government has to ­realise that making the public exam so important is the root of the problem and must be ­addressed.

Alex Law, Tseung Kwan O

Special stamps will be kept at counters

I refer to Christopher Ruane’s letter (“Hongkong Post must get the basics right”, April 19).

Commemorative stamps issued by Hongkong Post are on sale for three months or until stocks last, along with definitive stamps, at all post offices.

Post office service counters are ­required to maintain a sufficient stamp supply of specified denominations (including the HK$2.90 stamps) to meet demand.

As an alternative to stamps, postal labels printed with the exact postage are available at our post office service counters for on-the-spot posting of mail items.

At the General Post Office, both commemorative stamps and definitive stamps are on sale at the service counters on the first floor, while commemorative stamps and associated philatelic products are on sale at the PostShop located on the ground floor.

We note from the recent stamp stock records of the ­General Post Office service counters that on occasions, HK$2.90 commemorative and definitive stamps that were still in stock were not available for sale at selected service counters.

This fell short of our standing arrangement for stamp stock replenishment. We have reminded our counter staff to promptly replenish their stamp supply in accordance with departmental procedures.

We would like to thank Mr Ruane for bringing the matter to our attention.

Sonia So, senior manager (public relations), Hongkong Post