Letters to the Editor, September 11, 2016

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 11 September, 2016, 12:15am
UPDATED : Sunday, 11 September, 2016, 12:15am

Elderly bus drivers a cause for concern

I refer to your editorial which gently makes clear the need for a review of driving licences with reference to a recent tragic ­incident (“Review licensing for elderly drivers”, September 7).

I voluntarily stopped driving in my early 60s since I could no longer meet my own standards and did not want to cause an ­accident.

I noted my declining attention span, slower reaction times, ­reduced peripheral vision and generally reduced space/time judgment. Now, my licence sits somewhere and will not be ­renewed next year. I am 66.

Too many of my peers treat the licence as somehow related to their value or even manhood.

It is a problem, particularly for those who make their living from driving and must work ­beyond the age of 70.

I see some elderly bus drivers who should not be driving and just last week one of the drivers seemed hard of hearing when I spoke to him.

At least he didn’t have ­earphones on, connected to a phone or music device.

Shane Kelly, Mid-Levels

Physical exam at 60 or over is really essential

Hong Kong is a busy city and people are focused on their jobs. More citizens now work up to the age of 65.

However, there can be problems associated with some individuals staying on in their jobs for longer, especially professional drivers. As they get older, their ability to drive safely at all times can be impaired. For example, reactions are slower than among younger drivers.

I believe the government should require people aged 60 or over to undergo a physical exam before their driving licence is ­renewed, instead of 75. As they get older, people may develop visual impairment such as cataracts. Also, their powers of concentration will gradually get weaker.

Physical exams can identify people who are no longer fit to drive.

Linda Lam Hok-na, Sheung Shui

Formula E race will definitely be disruptive

The CEO of Formula Electric Racing Hong Kong, Alan Fang, said that hosting “a major international event...on the harbourfront of Hong Kong” would be worth the disruption of traffic, business and normal life in the heart of Central (“Traffic in Central to slow as Formula E hits full throttle”, September 8).

I am chairman of the Chopin Society of Hong Kong (although these are my views and do not reflect the views of the society’s sponsors), which is organising an equally major international event, in City Hall’s concert hall. The 4th Hong Kong International Piano Competition – The Joy of Music Festival – runs from September 26 to October 13. I would strongly beg to differ that the disruption to our event “would be worth it”.

Unlike the Formula E race, which is a money-making undertaking (though there’s nothing wrong with that), our competition/festival is organised by a non-profit company. The Chopin Society is totally ­dependent on the generosity of its sponsors for mounting this 18-day-long, complex and very expensive event.

Mr Fang could perhaps care to look at our site – www.chopinsocietyhk.org – to see the list of sponsors, which reads like a who’s who of state and private-sector institutions backing us with their money, only to have our ­activities interrupted by ­Formula E racing.

We are not implying that the race should be cancelled or postponed, but we do wish that the organisers would engage in a publicity campaign with explicit apologies for any “inconvenience caused”. This should ­include practical advice to all ­concerned, such as ourselves, about how to minimise the disruption, rather than telling us that “it is worth it”.

I wonder if he would feel the same if our festival caused ­severe disruption to his event.

Dr Andrew Freris, Central

Using digital technology beats books

I agree with correspondents who argue that digital technology should replace traditional textbooks in schools in Hong Kong.

Computers and iPads are lighter than a textbook and, in any school day, students might have to carry up to five of these books and some are large. This is a heavy weight to have to carry around or store in your locker, as most secondary schools have lockers.

Also, digital technology is more convenient. At the end of the school day, the students must choose which books to take for homework and ­revision that evening, but they might not always get it right.

It must be annoying to know you’ve got the wrong book and the one you need is in your ­locker. With a computer, the ­material for all your subjects is at your fingertips at any time.

Students can take the ­computer with them wherever they go and do their revision any time they want. This is ­another reason why it is far better than sticking with textbooks.

If students are carrying a lighter load, this will be better for their health.

Having a heavy school bag can lead to long-term back pain, so switching to digital technology is the healthier ­option for students.

Kelly Lai, Tseung Kwan O

Talking about independence is not illegal

I refer to the report “Hong Kong students threaten protest if schools keep up ‘suppression’ of their pro-independence advocacy”(September 7). I am a ­student and believe we should be allowed to explore subjects that we find interesting, ­including independence.

We will be future pillars of society and should try to understand various political issues. As we mature, we will be expected to form our own opinions ­without guidance from parents and teachers.

The role of teachers is not to brainwash youngsters but to help them analyse the arguments on independence when they are discussed in class.

I do not think having such a discussion contravenes any of the laws of Hong Kong. It is just an academic discussion and is fully justified. The aim is to help students have a clearer idea about society and I do not see a problem as long as the teacher does not try to put forward his or her political views. Ideas that are for and against independence should be covered.

Given the importance of freedom of speech in Hong Kong, banning such a discussion would be devastating.

I also do not see anything wrong with students distributing leaflets. It is a means for them to express their views on this subject. Youngsters reading these leaflets are free to form their own opinions. The leaflets can be used simply as reference ­material. Conflict is inevitable if free discussion in an academic ­setting is forbidden.

Priscilla Ko Ka-ying, Po Lam

Fishing zone could prove popular venue

Many ideas have been put ­forward over the years about how to ­develop the waterfront at our magnificent harbour.

There is much discussion of a designated fishing area at the harbourfront in Central, which the chief executive proposed during his policy address. He said office workers could relax during their lunch break by fishing or having a swim.

Some people have said that if a designated area is provided for relaxation, then there should also be a park. These are good ideas, but the idea of people ­fishing during their lunch break is not really feasible. Most ­people have little more than one hour and that is not enough time to fish or have a swim.

However, I think a fishing or swimming zone would be popular with people during their days off if there was also a park.

Alison Wong Lok-ching, Kowloon City