Letters to the Editor, June 4, 2016

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 04 June, 2016, 12:17am
UPDATED : Saturday, 04 June, 2016, 12:16am

Youth athletes struggle to get financial help

I refer to the letter by I. Poon (”Teens are put under a lot of pressure”, May 18).

Many youngsters have dreams for the future which are undermined by Hong Kong’s spoon-fed education system, or they are encouraged to aim for a place at a university.

However, university is not the only path to having a successful career. Youngsters may want to get into fields such as sport and acting which do not require a university degree.

If you have watched matches in different sports between teenagers, performances by them, or have seen examples of their art work, it is obvious that these youngsters are as talented as their counterparts abroad.

I’m sure all readers recall Chief Executive Leung Chung-ying’s comment [which he later clarified] that sport did not contribute to the economy. I am disappointed by the government’s attitude towards sport. Students can get loans or scholarships to study at university, but it is more difficult for a talented young athlete, artist or other kind of performer to get financial help.

Family pressure does not help in Hong Kong, with some parents effectively putting up barriers unless the child wants to study for a degree.

The government should not just focus on academic studies. And parents need to change their attitude and recognise that university is not the only option. I urge youngsters who have dreams that do not include studying for a degree to stick with them.

Eddie Wong, Tseung Kwan O

Hiroshima a reminder for all nations

It finally happens. A sitting US president visiting the memorial site where the first atomic bomb was dropped in the city of Hiroshima, Japan.

It means different things to different people. To many, it marks a time for healing for the loss of close to 140,000 innocent lives. For others, it serves as a ­reminder of what destruction human kind is capable of, even towards its own kind. We should all check ourselves in repeating the same folly.

But since then, many more nations have gone nuclear, ­despite the non-proliferation of nuclear armament movement. We have been more assured that we could self-annihilate with such capabilities stored in ­obscure silos around the world. All nations claim that they are doing it out of defence. None is prepared to give up or pare down their arsenals. Just what have we learned from Hiroshima?

Perhaps the aggressor in the Far East during the last world war has been vindicated. It, too, is a victim. Despite its benign intention to free the people in Asia from imperialism, it has paid a high price in playing the messiah. That it had failed gives it the legitimate reasons to rise from the ashes again. Its attempts to whitewash its history to its young and seeking to rewrite its pacifist constitution are signs of its wish for resurgence. Are all these vindictive?

All human lives are precious. Never mind how they perish or how large the carnage in whatever scenario. Is it unfathomable to ask the same aggressor to atone for atrocities committed to innocent lives beyond its borders? Is it unfathomable to see their prime minister lay a wreath at the Nanking massacre ­memorial? Healing can only begin if we face history squarely.

Rapprochement between feuding states can only occur with both sides willing to set aside their differences, including their interpretations of ­history.

Hiroshima serves as a warning, perhaps, to all of mankind.

If we choose to ignore it, the consequence of another such folly would destroy us all, and there will not be another chance.

Lee Teck Chuan, Singapore

Strike balance with your smartphones

Many Hongkongers, but especially teenagers, appear to be inseparable from their smartphones.

They communicate via ­mobiles and play computer games on them. Some adults say this has a negative effect on the development of children, but I am not convinced this is always the case.

These devices do have ­advantages for teenagers. They are able to find any information that they need quickly.

The negative aspect comes when teens spend too long playing online games or on social networks like Facebook and Instagram. This wastes their time. They need to learn self-discipline and strike a balance ­between using smartphones to ­relax and for their studies.

Oscar Au Yeung, Tseung Kwan O Limited use of e-learning can work in class

There are benefits and disadvantages to the development of e-learning in schools.

I have used e-learning at school and it has some advantages, but overuse can cause health problems for youngsters, such as eye strain and sore wrists, especially if they are also using their smartphones during breaks.

There is also the risk that when using the internet to study they will be easily distracted and might start playing internet games. Also, buying computers is expensive compared to say buying second-hand textbooks. This could be difficult for ­students from low-income ­families.

I think having a mix can work at present, with students using e-learning when it is feasible, but also having some textbooks available. Using less paper is environmentally-friendly.

Stephanie Chuang, Mid-Levels

Roof collapse should not happen again

Most Hong Kong citizens know about the roof collapse accident at City University and many would realise it’s not just university students who would be ­worried – anyone working under a rooftop garden might be concerned.

It is very fortunate that only three students were injured in that accident. Imagine the potential tragedy if 1,000 ­students had been in the sports centre at the time.

There are not only rooftop gardens at City University but also in some secondary and ­primary schools. Maybe others won’t be so lucky if another roof collapses, so what should we and the government do to avoid potential disaster?

There is a responsibility for schools to check a structure’s condition at least once a year. But the government appears to do nothing to prevent or solve the problem.

It seems different officials shirk their responsibility and shift the blame on others. This is not the way to protect lives. Officials need to step up with ­concrete solutions.

Marco Fung Pak-hin, Tseung Kwan O

Organic food worth the extra dollars

Nowadays, more people are ­eating organic food in Hong Kong, basically because our environment is so polluted. A lot of food is produced using chemicals and consumers want to avoid that so they’re happy to pay extra for organic produce.

The word “organic” refers to the way farmers grow and ­process agricultural products, such as fruit, vegetables, grains, dairy products and meat. Organic farming is designed to encourage soil and water conservation and reduce pollution.

Farmers who grow organic produce don’t use conventional methods to fertilise and control weeds with herbicides but use natural fertilisers to feed soil and plants, and crop rotation or mulch to manage weeds. Their methods are better for the environment and our bodies, and their practices should be ­supported.

Charlie Poon, Yau Yat Chuen