Letters to the Editor, April 23, 2016
Many reasons for growing discontent
I refer to the article by Paul Stapleton (“Surveys with a smile”, April 12).
Concerning the stressful way of life and weak economy in Hong Kong, it is obvious people are becoming less happy nowadays. There are several reasons the state of our society is worsening.
First and foremost, youngsters’ happiness has deteriorated to a new low because of heavy workloads and busy schedules. They are forced to have many extra tutorial classes for exams, as well as some extracurricular activities. It is very common for children not to have enough sleep, even at a very young age. As a result, children feel depressed.
Moreover, workers are being stressed by their working environments and worries about their future. They are under pressure to work overtime to complete their duties, which leaves them feeling exhausted. They feel their futures are unclear because of inflation. House rents keep going up and so do the prices of everyday goods and services.
And then there is the government, which many believe is not acting in the best interest of ordinary citizens. Divisions within society over the merits of the umbrella movement and conflicts with mainland tourists have also highlighted widespread discontent.
Iris Law Ka-yee, Kowloon Tong
Companies should keep hands off MPF
The Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor hit the nail on the head earlier this year when she said that any proposed universal retirement scheme would be only one of the pillars of the current security net of the elderly.
It is, therefore, paramount for the government, whether the existing administration or the next one, to review the current offset mechanism of employers’ contribution against severance pay and long service. It is astounding that more than HK$20 billion has been offset against Mandatory Provident Fund funds over the past 10 years. This has clearly defeated the purpose of setting up the MPF in the first place.
The administration has dragged its feet on this matter clearly in the interests of the business community.
Ng Ting-chung, North Point
School years miserable for too many
After reading some articles about the education system in Hong Kong, I want to add my view as an Diploma of Secondary Education student.
There is so much pressure on us because of the over-emphasis on exam results. There is teacher pressure, parent pressure and also peer pressure to perform. You are deemed a failure if your grades are not brilliant. It is little wonder some students feel suicide is their only option to end the pain of school.
It seems to me the teaching schedule and method are not suitable for students in fact. Teachers are anxious to get through the syllabus and students don’t get enough time to really absorb the knowledge or explore the subject in greater depth.
The learning process should allow students to fully understand the subject, so the knowledge is embedded for the future.
Plagiarism is often resorted to because students are desperate to impress. Many don’t know how to think through a problem and know the internet can simply give them the answers.
“Learning” in Hong Kong often means memorising. Students just try to remember everything in their textbook, like Chinese. All we need to do is to memorise the model answers. Can students learn anything in that way? It is clear the answer is “no”.
I really hope the system can be changed to help students benefit from a new learning experience. School should be fun, not miserable like it is for so many now.
Andy Fan Ka-wing, Tsueng Kwan O
Extra courses must have fun balance
I am writing in reply to the letter from Ernest Chan (“Overprotective parents are bad for children”, April 17).
I think the action of Hong Kong parents bombarding their children with extra courses is understandable. Every parent wants their children to have bright prospects. When they see other children enrolled in many extra courses, they will worry their child is missing out and be beaten by their peers in crucial exam results.
Parents are scared that the only jobs available to them later would be low paid and their status in society would be miserable.
I would definitely want my children to learn as much as they could, but not in the stressful way with so many extra lessons.
I would still hire a tutor for them to improve their academic results but I would also let them join various extracurricular activities to balance with some fun. I would ask them to choose some they are interested in, which would encourage learning in a more relaxing way because they would be enthusiastic about it.
I believe that it is difficult for a person to excel in a field that they are not interested in and be forced to learn in a stressful way. Also, social skills are important for their future career.
I hope parents can consider their child’s opinions before they sign them up for courses. Also, parents can let them join activities which can improve their communication skills and independence.
Nancy Lam, To Kwa Wan
Heavy rain must not be taken lightly
I refer to the report (“Anger as Hong Kong Observatory refuses to issue red warning amid downpour”, April 13).
A lot of people, including primary and secondary students, had a miserable time trying to get to work and school on April 13 in what were very difficult conditions. Parents had to brave battering rain and strong winds to escort their children to school, which continued to operate with only an amber rainstorm signal in place.
Many people were angry the Observatory did not issue the red rainstorm warning. Conditions were obviously treacherous and even some cars and school buses were stuck because of the rain. When students finally managed to get to their classrooms, we had to sit in wet clothes and our books were soaked.
The Hong Kong Observatory definitely should not just measure the average rainfall in Hong Kong when considering warnings but needs to consider the safety of citizens first. Students should not have had to brave such dangerous weather.
Christy Chung Chi-ching, Yau Yat Chuen
Population numbers don’t add up
I wonder what source Dr Ken Chu (of the Lantau Development Advisory Committee) can cite for Hong Kong’s “projected population of nine million by 2030” in his article (“Tread carefully, April 13).
I found updated projections on the Census and Statistics Department website.
In September, 2015, census officials predicted 8.100 million people in 2029 and 8.244 million in 2044, followed by a slow decline. A difference of 900,000 in 2030 is huge.
Does Dr Chu predict a baby boom in Hong Kong, or an extra 180 mainlanders moving here every day for the next 14 years? Due to high rents alone, neither of those events is plausible.
Before people suggest building roads, a monorail, housing developments and shopping malls on the south side of Lantau Island, they should first study the numbers from the Census and Statistics Department.
Michael J. Sloboda, Tsim Sha Tsui