Letters to the Editor, April 10, 2017
Despite pitfalls, waste scheme is a good idea
Hong Kong’s waste management problems are getting worse, with the average Hongkonger throwing out about 1.39kg of household waste per day.
This is why the government has come up with its waste charge, which it plans to introduce in 2019. It believes this is the best way to tackle the city’s municipal waste problem. However, some concerns have been raised, for example, the suggestion that it could be difficult to implement.
Residents will buy government-designated bin bags. People who feel they generate so little waste that they should not have to do this might get into the bad habit of simply discarding their waste in the street in bags which are not government designated. This could make our waste problem worse and increase government refuse collection teams’ workloads.
Another potential problem is that restaurants will pass on the cost of the charge to diners. With people leaving so much food on their plates, it ends up being thrown out, so it is likely that HK$1 or HK$2 will be added to the price of each dish.
Despite the criticism, I think the charge is the best way to tackle our municipal waste problem. But, for it to work, Hongkongers must recognise their civic responsibility.
Queenie Ng, Yau Yat Chuen
More financial help needed for guide dogs
There are only 40 guide dogs in Hong Kong and that is not enough to meet the needs of citizens who are blind.
I was shocked when I read this statistic, because guide dogs make a major difference to the lives of these people. Just using a stick on our busy streets is not enough. Having a trained guide dog makes it far easier to get around. The dogs help their owners to avoid colliding with other people.
If the person is hurt, the dog will bark to attract attention so that medical help can be provided swiftly. And they are not just helping, they are also companions.
It is good that there is greater tolerance in society, with these dogs being allowed into many restaurants, on public transport and in malls. There is also more public acceptance, because blind citizens have suffered from a lot of discrimination.
The non-profit organisation, Hong Kong Seeing Eye Dog Services, trains guide dogs, but it is expensive and there is a waiting list for them. The government should pay the training costs. Other NGOs helping blind people and the citizens themselves should also be given more financial help.
The government should be doing whatever is necessary to improve the lives of those who are visually impaired.
Alvis Lee Ki-yung, Tseung Kwan O
Uplifting broadcaster will be missed
The article on Jonathan Douglas (“Final morning call arrives”, April 8) does tribute to a man who has enriched and brought music education to the Hong Kong public through his daily selections, comments, interviews and an uplifting start to the day through Morning Call on RTHK Radio 4.
We will miss him and I wish him well, and thank him for bringing listeners years of pleasure.
N. Fung, Repulse Bay
Rote-learning culture has failed students
Although there is greater public awareness about problems in the education system, because of the spate of student suicides, these problems remain unsolved.
As a prospective candidate of the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) examination next year, I believe the vicious cycle we are seeing will continue unless the exam is revamped.
Students face a hectic schedule because of the gruelling three-year syllabus, with repeated drilling and supplementary classes.
This means there is no time for them to really digest and think about what they have learned. In this rote-learning culture, their priority is to memorise as much as they can for exam questions.They face tremendous stress and yet much of what they have memorised over that three years will be of little use in the real world. They are not being helped to acquire the skills needed to succeed in the very competitive work environment in Hong Kong.
Secondary schools should nurture whatever talent these young people have and equip them to deal with the challenges of working in this society.
Because schools are so exam-oriented, there is very little in the way of moral education.
I hope the new government will try to tackle these issues.
Damon Wong Kwun-tsung, Hang Hau
Subsidies can ease citizens’ housing woes
Hong Kong continues to suffer from a lack of affordable housing. It is inhumane that someone has to live in a tiny subdivided apartment where they have to fit in a sleeping, living and cooking area and a toilet.
I believe the root of the problem is that there is an insufficient supply of public housing and, for people on low incomes, this is a problem given the high rents in the private housing sector. The waiting period for a public flat is getting longer.
Through various measures, developers have artificially inflated rents and, with skyrocketing prices, many citizens, especially young adults, feel hopeless about the prospects of buying their own flat. There seems to be no immediate solution to this problem.
Officials must not shirk their responsibilities and there must be more effective intervention in the property market.
The government should offer temporary housing and subsidies to citizens on low incomes to help them with their rent. The priority should be improving the quality of life for people.
Victoria So Wan-tung, Tsuen Wan
Response by Putin makes things worse
US missile airstrikes approved by President Donald Trump against a Syrian airbase appear to be a morally justified reaction to Bashar al-Assad’s chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians.
The repercussions on already combustible Middle East tensions, global geopolitics and escalating terrorist action will remain unclear for some time.
The strikes brought a swift response from Russian President Vladimir Putin, an ally of Assad. He needs to realise that suspending the US-Russia agreement on information exchange to avoid mid-air collisions over Syria risks the loss of life of innocent air passengers, including Russians.
This could lead to an essentially ground-based civil war becoming a conflict in the skies.
Joseph Ting, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia