Letters to the Editor, September 12, 2016
Kindergarten fee hikes will hurt the poor
I refer to the report (“Costly lessons for parents as kindergartens raise fees”, September 8).
While fees at kindergartens will go up for this academic year, most of them will also be charging between HK$4,000 and HK$7,000 for meals.
I think the government should be willing to provide some form of financial aid to families on low incomes, because many of them will not earn enough to be able to pay the high fees.
In fact it would be better for the administration to make kindergartens part of its 12 years of free education provided to Hong Kong citizens, so that children get free education from kindergarten rather than primary level.
One kindergarten in Tsuen Wan will be charging about HK$55 a day for meals which is unbelievable.
Compare this with the average charge of HK$20 a day at a secondary school. Surely the kindergarten pupil does not eat more than a secondary school student. If I were a principal of a kindergarten I would be trying to find ways to lower the cost of meals.
The needs of these children should not be ignored by the government.
Teresa Ng, Tseung Kwan O
Lanterns are much better for environment
Glow sticks are now very popular during the Mid-Autumn Festival because you can buy a lot of them for only around HK$30.
They can be fun for a few hours at the festival on Thursday, but think of the damage they do to the environment after they have been discarded and the damage they keep doing for decades. They cannot be reused because of the chemicals inside and the plastic containers cannot be recycled.
At this year’s festival, adults need to think about the consequences of the choices they make and how they and their children will celebrate it.
I hope more of us will buy lanterns, whether they are reusable or home-made, and avoid glow sticks. Hopefully, this will persuade retailers to order fewer glow sticks next year.
Myriam Bartu, Discovery Bay
Food donation network must be expanded
I refer to the article by Wendell Chan of Friends of the Earth (“Why waste so much food?’’ August 24).
I knew the food waste problem was bad in Hong Kong, but I didn’t realise it was so serious – almost 40 per cent of municipal solid waste is food.
The government has already done a lot to try and reduce volumes of food waste through education, with its Food Wise campaign and the mascot Big Waster. But it has to get more businesses to donate unused and still edible food, such as supermarkets.
This food can be turned into nutritious meals for needy people such as the homeless, instead of ending up in a landfill. There could be a reward system for stores which donate food. It would be easy to operate as there are many volunteers who can go to businesses to pick up the food.
While there is already a network of donated food being made into meals for the needy, the government needs to expand that network and spread the idea of its importance.
Mak Wing-kwan, Tsz Wan Shan
Aerial spraying can kill a lot of mosquitoes
Tiffany Wong’s advice to Hongkongers is admirable (“Measures at home will curb mosquitoes”, September 7).
However, householders’ efforts in their apartments will only be a drop in the ocean. Mosquitos breed a lot more outside the home.
During the rainy season, with each heavy downpour, mountain gullies overflow to form puddles on either side for long enough for a generation of mosquitoes to breed. (Singapore’s daily rainstorm is even worse.)
But these gullies are inaccessible on foot. I therefore suggested in April that aerial spraying of insecticide be employed.
The Chief Executive’s Office assigned the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department to pursue the matter, and it acknowledged that this was the case on June 2, but I have not heard of any follow-up action being taken, now three months afterwards. Meantime, the state of Florida has started this aerial spraying.
Peter Lok, Chai Wan
Ancient trails a vital part of HK’s heritage
The ancient trails in parts of Hong Kong are of great historical value and should be preserved.
They date back centuries and were often the only land links between communities. Generations of people have walked on these paths and yet now some of them are at risk of disappearing and are becoming overgrown.
Of course some are still widely used by walkers, but others are becoming hidden under the encroaching shrubbery.
The two most popular ancient trails for hikers are Yuen Tsuen in Tsuen Wan and Kap Lung in Tsuen Kam Au.
Hong Kong has a modern and fully developed infrastructure, with MTR lines, and many commercial and residential buildings. But we see less and less of our heritage. It is valuable and what remains must be preserved.
The ancient trails are a treasure that should not be lost. They are an integral part of our natural landscape.
Tiffany Kwok, Tuen Mun
Burqini ban leaves Muslims feeling isolated
I understand the reasons behind efforts to ban women from wearing burqinis in France, given the terrorist attacks in the country for which Islamic State claimed responsibility.
However, I think the ban breaches the freedom of individuals to choose what to wear. If citizens cannot be allowed to wear what they want how can it be called a free country?
Many Muslims feel this ban will leave them feeling isolated.
Christy Ma, Tiu Keng Leng
Many office workers have unhealthy diets
I recognise the importance of having a healthy diet and have got into the habit of eating more vegetables and less meat. I also try to put less sugar in drinks.
I think I am probably a lot healthier than some Hong Kong people. So many office workers have to put in long hours. They may find it difficult to have meals at regular times.
In the evening they might just have an unhealthy snack. Companies should allow employees to have time off for their lunch and dinner breaks so they can have time to enjoy a healthy meal.
Children also love unhealthy food, like chocolate, potato chips and fish balls. Schools should educate students about the importance of having a nutritious diet, including reading food labels.
It is possible to cultivate a taste for healthy food.
Jessica Kwong, Yuen Long