Letters to the Editor, October 29, 2016

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 29 October, 2016, 12:15am
UPDATED : Saturday, 29 October, 2016, 12:15am

City should welcome new MTR lines

We have been seeing more MTR lines and stations that have been opened (or open in the near ­future). This expansion is ­enhancing the transport network in Hong Kong.

Since the growing network may boost the economy, ease traffic congestion and reduce air pollution, the MTR Corporation’s expansion programme project is sustainable.

In regard to the economy, the extensive MTR network contributes not only to Hong Kong’s wider prosperity but also to the areas around the new stations.

Improved transport brings more visitors to districts such as Kennedy Town. And again businesses there will benefit.

Hong Kong’s highly developed and sophisticated public transport network is one of the most convenient in the world. This attracts lots of investors to Hong Kong. Their argument is that the more convenient the network, the more advantages Hong Kong has.

Besides, the opening of more MTR stations should help to ease traffic congestion on the roads in those areas. Traffic jams are one of the thorniest ­problems in Hong Kong.

As more stations are opened, people who live or work in these areas have more transport choices. Fewer private cars will travel to these districts. This will ease the traffic problems especially during rush hours when everyone is trying to get home.

In environmental terms, rail is the cleanest form of transport in the world. Fewer cars on the road and a lower chance of ­traffic jams should mean lower volumes of greenhouse gases being released into the ­atmosphere.

Greenhouse gas emissions all around the wororld are ­increasing, and global warming is becoming a more serious problem. To protect the environment, the MTR is the most responsible choice for travel, since trains have a high ­passenger capacity compared to other forms of transport and lower levels of greenhouse gases are released.

In short, as the extension of the MTR network meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of ­future generations, which is the definition of sustainability, it should be supported.

Abby Luk Sze-wah, Yau Yat Chuen

Parallel traders still a nuisance at the border

I agree with the points made by Winnas Wong (“Parallel traders still causing major problem”, October 25).

Parallel trading has been an issue for the past few years. The policy of ending multiple-entry individual visits has not ­improved the situation. It only hinders parallel traders who live on the mainland. However most of the parallel traders are Hong Kong residents so the effect of the policy is very limited.

I have lived in Sheung Shui all my life, and the town has changed a lot. Local-style cha chaan teng restaurants have closed down one by one, and countless pharmacies have ­replaced them. The price of ­necessities has increased drastically, not due to demand by Sheung Shui residents but by parallel traders. They even block the roads with their delivery carts which cause a nuisance to people who live in districts close to the border.

The root of the problem is the poor quality of products in China. The laws are strict but enforcement is lax. Corruption is still very common on the mainland and officials can be bribed to ignore the quality issues of goods. If mainlanders have no faith in domestic products, the demand for Hong Kong goods will remain high.

Unfortunately, I believe that policies imposed by the Hong Kong government are unlikely to solve this problem.

Katrina Ho, Sheung Shui

Schoolwork drives stressed teens to drink

Amy Ho calls for tougher action to prevent underage teens from being able to purchase alcohol (“Stop alcohol sales in shops to under-18s”, October 17).

There are many teenagers under 18 who have experience of drinking. Since underage drinking can inflict irreversible changes to the body’s nervous system as well as the organs, we must address the issue.

We should first find out the reasons for underage drinking.

Other than family environment and peer influence, sheer boredom is one of the most common reasons. Many adolescents suffer from a lack of physical activity. Teens also find that drinking makes it easier to discuss their emotions in a social setting.Hong Kong students have a heavy academic burden, and this leaves them little time for anything else. Hence it is important to encourage students to join out-of-school activities.

Although the government ought to tighten the regulations to stop youngsters from being able to purchase alcohol from shops, it is hard for shop staff to recognise people who are underage.

For example, the 7-Eleven chain has a policy not to sell alcoholic beverages to customers under the age of 18. However, employees do not check IDs. Educating teenagers that drinking has an impact on their health is the best way to alleviate the problem.

Hebe Ng Yik-huen, Tseung Kwan O

Foster good reading habits in schools

I urge the government to rethink its decision to scrap reading grants for primary and ­secondary schools.

I did a PhD project entitled “The effect of extensive reading on second language acquisition” and found that extensive reading resulted in significant improvements in students’ reading, writing and vocabulary abilities. The effects were more prominent among students in Chinese middle schools.

Now that more secondary schools are teaching in the ­Chinese medium, it is even more important that we have extensive reading in English ­language in all schools.

I spoke to a mother from Tuen Mun who took a day’s leave to see me. She said her daughter had never done so much reading in English before.

The daughter said she could handle her English homework and could find joy in reading after joining my extensive ­reading project. I knew extensive reading would produce good results even without a ­formal study.

My colleagues and I had bought all the good readers in town and arranged the books from easy to difficult on the shelves in our woodwork room. We spent one lesson each week getting the students to check out books. We got students to share their reading, and to draw, write and talk about the content, not just write “A, B, C or D” on answer cards. Through shared reading, we could help them ­improve their oral skills as well.

We should keep our good reading habits. We should not take the easy way out and say reading a comic magazine is the same as reading a book.

We should not throw away the readers and say students can read e-books. For one thing, not all students may have the means to get e-books.

Thus the government should help students to foster good reading habits by supplying schools with good books, by involving teachers in seminars to promote reading, and not taking money away from schools.

Eva Lai, Sha Tin

Choice of the voters must be respected

I am opposed to moves to forbid the two Youngspiration lawmakers, Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching, from entering the ­Legislative Council.

I accept that Leung and Yau do speak impolitely, which ­offends many people. However, they should not be barred from Legco.

After all, they are lawmakers. They represent their supporters and pro-democracy citizens. It is unfair to the voters to remove the two lawmakers’ rights.

Leung and Yau were voted in by Hong Kong citizens. Some say they have not behaved well, but that does not relate to the work they will do in Legco on the citizens’ behalf.

The lawmakers described China in disrespectful terms. Yet, the voters trust them and so they are entitled to join the council.

Christy Ma, Tiu Keng Leng