Letters to the Editor, April 29, 2017

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 29 April, 2017, 9:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 29 April, 2017, 9:00am

Bike-sharing concept has pros and cons

There has been some debate about the suitability of operating the city’s first bike-sharing app, Gobee.

On the one hand, the app is suitable for Hong Kong.

First of all, it promotes the concept of environmentally-friendly travel. Compared to motor vehicles, ­bicycles do not emit pollutants and have zero carbon footprint, and thus ­prevent further damage to the environment.

Moreover, Gobee’s ­e-bicycles are powered by solar panels, and pick-up and drop-off locations are flexible. ­Besides, renting is more suitable than purchasing a bike, given the small living spaces in the city.

But on the other hand, if too many people ride bikes on city roads, and use up parking space, they can slow down traffic and also cause overcrowding.

Also, as rentals are done via app software, the real information on users often cannot be confirmed, so it may be possible for underage children to rent a bike with their parents’ credit cards and mobile phones.

After comparing the arguments from both sides, I think the credibility and suitability of a bike-sharing service in Hong Kong is still open to question.

Michael Ke, Tseung Kwan O

Democracy a long-cherished dream for HK

I refer to your report on Wang Zhenmin (“Beijing official ­rejects need for development of democracy in Hong Kong over next decade”, April 22).

I do not agree with Wang, the legal chief of the central government’s liaison office. It is a little contradictory to adopt a Basic Law that shows the goal for Hong Kong is to achieve universal suffrage, and also to let Hong Kong people have a high degree of autonomy, but refuse to let us achieve universal suffrage. The central government should be held to that promise.

Wang rejected universal ­suffrage or other democratic ­development for Hong Kong as the city has to take care of more urgent livelihood concerns. He meant the divisions in our ­society and support for “Hong Kong independence”. But I think these problems arose ­because the people’s voice was ignored by the central ­government.

There is no way the central government can ignore the ­topic of democracy, as giving more freedom to the people of Hong Kong is still a great way to solve its problems, it is a loss if Beijing still won’t accept this.

Wang said the push for ­democracy could trigger endless political instability and internal conflicts, as in the Middle East. But the people of Hong Kong have been longing for democracy and are willing to be rational in the common interest.

Mary Ng Ka-yan, Kwai Chung

Daily exercise good for both mind and body

A recent survey revealed that youngsters in Hong Kong are not getting enough exercise. I feel this may affect the physical as well as mental health of our students in the long run.

Hong Kong has become such a competitive city, students mainly focus on their academic results to ensure a bright future. They revise and take part in ­various tutorial classes throughout the week. Leave alone regular exercise, most students these days are not willing to spend any time in physical activity, and so ­neglect their physical health.

Teenage students must take sufficient exercise, as it can provide them with energy, boost brain power, promote better sleep and even help develop a healthy mind. Exercise also strengthens immunity and so protects from disease. Physical activity even relieves tension and stress, so exercise must not be skipped, especially in such a fast-paced and hectic city.

Moreover, people should learn early to achieve work-life balance. Though academic ­results are very important for entry to university, without good health, nothing is worth it. Sport and physical activity are preventive measures, and can even boost self-esteem.

Physical activity improves metabolism and can even help students to develop a clearer and sharper mind for schoolwork. I hope the government will better publicise its minimum recommended daily exercise target and encourage students to do more exercise.

Rachel Hui, Yau Yat Chuen

Learning must be made a joy for children

Your article on drilling by schools (“Hong Kong group wants parents to report schools drilling pupils,” April 12) brought back a few memories.

I believe that primary school is a place for children to cultivate an interest in study and enjoy the learning process. Early school days are not just about education but a delightful childhood as well. We should, of course, work hard at school as we get older. But some mistakenly believe that good grades are the only route to success.

Nowadays, teenagers face so much stress in their studies that it totally distorts the purpose of study. Studying is a process for us to discover the world with curiosity – and it should be fun.

If children are pushed to aim for the top tier when this is often beyond their capacity, anxiety and stress are unavoidable.

I believe that schools should focus not just on results, but also on a variety of activities for all-round development, as students will always have different ­abilities and interests.

The government should also strictly regulate after-school ­activities and not allow this time to be used for exam-oriented skills classes.

At the same time, I sincerely hope that everyone in society can show more love and support to students, and see that their ­individuality is not destroyed.

Monica Li, Kowloon Tong

Climate change is not entirely man-made

I refer to Alex Lo’s column (“Bringing back the mojo in maths and science”, March 25).

Our educational institutions also need to bring back original climate-change teaching and ­research to debunk the claim that there is scientific consensus on man-made global warming.

Media reported that 2016 was the hottest year on record, caused by “climate change”. Poorly publicised was the fact that it was the time of El Niño, a natural, periodic force responsible for the warming that has long been in existence, even in the pre-industrial era.

Nobody denies climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) gave up its original title of ­“global warming” because the world failed to warm as predicted, and it now uses “climate change”. This enables it to use any aspect of climate (often weather) to suit its needs.

The basic idea is that man-made carbon dioxide is causing an increase in global temperatures. All climatic ­models are based on this premise. But ­carbon dioxide has a minor role in affecting temperature. Our dynamic Earth – through geothermal heat released into the Pacific Ocean by subaerial and submarine volcanic eruptions, including lava flows since 2013 – is the probable cause of the El Niño conditions.

Wyss Yim, Pok Fu Lam

Time to rethink our policies on giving organs

Hong Kong’s health chief Ko Wing-man said under-18s will be allowed to donate organs only if a big majority backs it.

The debate arose after a girl was not allowed to donate part of her liver to her critically ill mother because she was three months shy of 18. I agree that under-18s can be allowed to ­donate organs if it is an urgent case. If the eventual donor livers had not been found, all may have been lost. But we cannot always depend on luck, so the policy should be revised .

We should also think about how to improve the rate of organ donation in Hong Kong, which is among the lowest in the world.

Chloe Sze, Kwai Chung