Letters to the Editor, January 6, 2017

PUBLISHED : Friday, 06 January, 2017, 5:21pm
UPDATED : Friday, 06 January, 2017, 5:21pm

Museum great, but not Carrie Lam’s tactics

I refer to Michael Chugani’s ­column (“We should not look a gift horse in the mouth”, January 4). As a lover of the arts, I ­welcome the establishment of a Hong Kong version of the Palace Museum and hope in time to see an exceptional permanent ­collection as well as touring ­collections.

However, the tactics used by Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor are somewhat questionable. As a seasoned civil servant, Mrs Lam was able to ­circumvent the rigorous and ­laborious planning, consultation and funding procedures ­together with the associated checks and balances. Will Mrs Lam adopt an autocratic modus operandi if she becomes chief executive?

In terms of funding, it is admirable the Hong Kong ­Jockey Club is to pay for the building of the museum. ­According to minutes to the annual general meeting on August 31, the club’s donation to its Charities Trust, which supports charities, both large and at grass-roots level across Hong Kong, Kowloon and the New Territories, was HK$3.5 ­billion for the year ended June 30, 2016. I sincerely hope the money for the museum’s construction is in addition to the sum earmarked for these local causes and communities.

While I am as frustrated as Chugani at the lack of progress in the West Kowloon Cultural District, the haste with which this deal was struck and presented to the Hong Kong public is very ­unseemly.

As chief secretary, Mrs Lam should have been able to achieve a middle ground with a level of transparency while ­accepting Beijing’s ­largesse.

Helen Cheung, Ho Man Tin

Singer would not apologise for who he was

Like many others, I am deeply saddened by George Michael’s death.

His prodigious talent and extraordinary generosity, that we are only now finding out about, will be sorely missed. But he made his mark in many other ways too. Not only did he refuse to apologise for who he was and what he did, he made it clear that if you had a problem with him, it was your problem, not his.

His refusal to change his views or lifestyle just to court popularity or mollify others, makes him a real man and someone we should look up to.

The tabloid press, so eager to judge and vilify him one day, but queueing up to mourn his ­passing the next, shows how ­pathetic they are and how ­honourable he was.

I would like to remember him as the “anti-sycophant” – don’t be or do something just because others will like you or approve of you, do it because that’s who you are and what you believe in.

Lee Faulkner, Lamma

Learning more important than exam scores

Many posts have been appearing on social media sites by ­students which are related to suicide.

While Hong Kong’s high-pressure education system is seen as largely to blame, with too much focus on score-oriented assessments, experts argue that the issue of youth suicide is complex. They say the seeds of the problem can be sown much earlier than we realise.

The government needs to look at ways of reforming the education system. Learning ­effectively is more important than scoring high marks in exams.

Also, there has to be a change of attitude by companies in Hong Kong. They should not just focus on academic results, but look at an individual’s personality and see if they have a positive attitude to their work.

Pressure can come from many sources, including society, teachers and schools. We all have a responsibility to try and tackle this problem.

Tang Kam-sin, Yau Yat Chuen

Sensible use of smartphones is very important

I agree with correspondents who have urged parents to ­remain vigilant over smartphone use by their ­children. They offer so much entertainment that it can be relatively easy for youngsters to get addicted if there is no parental ­control, especially with all the computer games that they enjoy playing.

It is important for children to get at least eight hours of sleep a night. This is crucial for their healthy physical and mental development. However, if they are addicted to smartphones, they will often stay up late and not get enough sleep, leaving them tired the next day.

However, rather than trying to control the time their children spend on smartphones, it would be better if parents simply did not allow their children to have a phone until they reached the age of 12. This will guarantee they get enough sleep.

Also, parents can restrict usage, say, allowing their sons and daughters to only play video games once a week. The most important thing is to ensure young people do not become overdependent on these devices. They should always be encouraged to be creative and think for themselves.

It is also important for them to develop their communication skills rather than constantly looking at their smartphone screens.

Claudia Chui, Tsuen Wan

Festive stamp issue would be welcomed

Christmas stamps are a simple pleasure. When receiving a Christmas card from foreign countries over the recent festive period, a Christmas stamp was often the finishing touch. Sadly, this was not true for locally-posted cards.

Hongkong Post last issued a set in 2014. Based on the gap of 12 years between that and the previous issue, it would not bring out ­another until 2026.

Hopefully, we shall not have to wait that long.

Christopher Ruane, Lantau

Abuse of study rooms now a big problem

When we are approaching an exam period, the public libraries’ study rooms become very crowded.

As a student, I like using them to do my homework and to revise, because at home there are distractions such as television, computers and ­smartphones. However, some users are abusing these study rooms and this abuse has reached serious levels.

Sometimes I see youngsters asleep at desks or surfing on their smartphones, rather than studying.

I appreciate that the priority of librarians is to maintain good order in the library, but they should also be curbing this abuse of study rooms, otherwise this is a resource that is being wasted. I also urge all users to act responsibly.

Jerry Lam, Tseung Kwan O

Government’s fight against poverty flawed

I agree with the advocacy group which highlighted the government’s shortcomings when it comes to helping underprivileged children (“Hong Kong’s children list livelihood concerns after giving government failing grade for welfare”, January 1).

With its score card, the group gave the government zero points for its housing, medical welfare and new immigrant family protection policies. It also called for a commission on ­children’s rights. It is correct to say that the government has not done well in these areas.

For example, many people still have to live in subdivided units, which are unhygienic and dangerous.

Also, some low-income families are not able to benefit from the waiving ­mechanism of public hospitals where, for example, accident and ­emergency fees are waived.

The government should not neglect the voices of these people who are living in poverty. As the advocacy group says, it should be focusing more on rent subsidies, transitional housing and rent controls.

It has to take a tougher stand against developers so that it can take over more brownfield sites to build public housing estates. The basic human need for housing must be met.

Jessica Tsui Kit-Lam, Kwai Chung