Letters to the Editor, May 17, 2016

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 17 May, 2016, 5:23pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 17 May, 2016, 5:23pm

Tougher laws vital to protect consumers

My 12-year-old daughter was seduced by an online ad into attending an audition for young actors at a hotel in Causeway Bay last Saturday.

The so-called celebrity in charge was trying to encourage vulnerable and impressionable teenagers to sign up for a short course in Los Angeles which he described as “life-changing”, which would almost guarantee them paid acting work, and which would most likely include meetings with superstars like Miley Cyrus and Selina Gomez (he was very good at dropping names).

We were invited back for the parents’ orientation on Sunday afternoon. On Sunday morning, I went to my local police station and told them about what was happening, suggesting they should come along to take a look. I was told quite firmly that such behaviour is not against the law in Hong Kong. I might have contacted the Consumer Council, but I know from bitter experience that they are ­completely toothless and ineffective and nobody is scared of them. Sure enough, on Sunday afternoon, we were strongly ­encouraged to pay US$5,000 for a five-day course, and I saw some extremely gullible parents signing up.

Why can consumers not get better protection from unscrupulous behaviour like this in Hong Kong? Why is there not better legislation against these business practices?

Warren Russell, Tseung Kwan O

Beach and trails on Po Toi in filthy state

On a recent public holiday, some friends and I took the Tsui Wah ferry to Po Toi Island. It was a very pleasant 30-minute journey from Stanley. On arrival, we walked some of the trails and had lunch in one of the beach-side seafood restaurants.

Sadly, we all came away appalled at the rubbish and filth, which was evident everywhere. The beach in front of the restaurants is littered with all kinds of rubbish (even a large rubber tractor tyre protruding from the sand); not a good impression for those eating at the restaurants and a danger for children playing on the beach. The trails were littered with every conceivable kind of ­rubbish: empty bottles, cans, tyres, plastic, planks of wood, discarded housing materials and cigarette packets, to list just a few.

The public toilet, near the restaurants, was in a filthy state and had neither liquid soap in the soap containers nor hand dryers. How is this allowed to happen, especially at the weekend, when the authorities know lots of visitors will visit the island?

Hong Kong is trying to think up more attractions for tourists. A visit to Po Toi (and other outlying islands) – if well marketed by the Tourism Board – should ­afford a great and inexpensive day out, and an opportunity to enjoy the scenery and trails of Hong Kong.

The Islands District Council chairman, Chow Yuk-tong, and his team along with the restaurant owners/operators and the islands’ remaining residents should all hang their heads in shame and embarrassment at allowing this island to fall into such disrepair. If they all roll their sleeves up and work ­together, they could clean up the island in a very short period of time and, for little capital outlay, make it a really pleasant place to visit.

Graeme J. Still, Aberdeen

Youngsters should pursue their dreams

I refer to the letter by Joanne Ko (“Students can realise their goals even if they don’t get to university”, May 16).

­I agree with your correspondent that Hong Kong ­students are so focused on their studies that they often fail to realise their dreams.

Even if they do not get a university place, they should not despair and should keep trying to achieve their goals.

So many still think there is nothing so important as getting a university degree.

However, they may have abilities in areas that do not ­require studying for a degree and where they would be ­happier. They mistakenly think that without a degree, they will not achieve their dreams. I wish more of them would oppose the norm and pursue their goals.

In Hong Kong, we have to ­remove the stigma attached to failing to get a place at a university. Youngsters should not see this as humiliating.

Our society needs people with different aptitudes. For example, a youngster who is a talented footballer does not need to go to university. And they should be supported in ­trying to achieve their sporting ambition. These young athletes can help to inspire other young Hongkongers who are good at sport.

It will do more harm than good if society keeps trying to force youngsters to pursue a ­tertiary education.

Peggy Cheng Pui-ki, Tuen Mun

Teens are put under a lot of pressure

In many films, you see characters portrayed who decide to chase their dreams, but in Hong Kong, young people are often told their dreams are unrealistic.

Parents emphasise the importance of studying hard and getting a high-paid job. Youngsters feel trapped in the spoon-fed education system and often think they have no choice but to try and get a place at a university.

One writer said that “living without an aim is like sailing without a compass”. I think our dreams are important to us.

It would be sad if youngsters give in to parental pressure and then regret their decision. They should pursue their dreams.

I. Poon, To Kwa Wan

Will pan-dems gain anything from meeting?

I refer to the article, “Not ­worried: Hong Kong chief executive tells critics to go ahead and complain about him to visiting state leader” (May 15).

It is difficult to decide if Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying was right in taking this approach. Nor am I sure that arranging a meeting between visiting top mainland official Zhang ­Dejiang (張德江) and the pan-democrats was a good idea. Some pan-democrats are determined to tell Zhang that they do not think Beijing should let Leung stand for a second term as chief executive.

Making such an appeal could bring Leung even closer to the ruling Communist Party. Is the leadership in Beijing likely to heed such a request made by pan-democrats? We have to ask if the pan-democrats are being naive, thinking that their views will be heeded by the central government.

I think Leung came up with some good policy pledges, ­although many have not been implemented.

I hope that whoever becomes the next chief executive can bring some prosperity and peace to Hong Kong.

Tsui Yuen-lun, Yau Yat Chuen

Adopting a dog makes sense and saves a life

I refer to the letters on May 9 by Charles Harraway (“More dogs will die if all estates ban them”) and Bernard Lo (“Adopt a dog instead of buying one”).

I do not think housing estates should ban dogs as they are loved by their owners. If more estates imposed bans, there would be a lot more strays.

A dog which has lived in a family home and is then abandoned has difficulty adapting to this new, hostile environment in which it must hunt for food. Many die because they cannot adapt.

If I wanted a dog, I would adopt rather than buying one from a pet shop. In doing so, you may be saving a dog’s life as it will not be put down.

People need to think carefully before deciding to get a dog. They need to realise that they will be responsible for the dog for the rest of its life.

Donald Wong, Tseung Kwan O