Letters to the Editor, May 5, 2017
Mainland’s social media lacks real news
The central government directly influences what news mainland citizens can read on the internet (“China updates internet regulations to tighten control over online news”, May 2).
With the largest social media websites from the West such as Facebook and Twitter blocked by China’s “Great Firewall”, citizens rely on mainland firms like QQ and Weibo for information. Chinese social media and news agencies face restrictions.
To get more comprehensive coverage, I surf different sites. One of the most significant features of mainland social media is that it is very selective and generally runs stories which show the country in a positive light. For example, there are stories on how foreigners are amazed by China, how strong and influential China is, but very little negative news. So mainland internet users are deluged with the good news and cannot check with independent sources.
Operators of social media sites on the mainland require a government licence.
This raises concerns about them being “tools” of the central government.
I certainly hope these restrictions on the mainland never affect us here. Hong Kong must maintain its freedom of the press and speech.
Roslin Law, Tseung Kwan O
Reclamation projects are not eco-friendly
I agree with Green Sense that reclamation proposals for Lantau must be modified (“Green group calls on Hong Kong government to cut back on Lantau reclamation project”, April 17).
Housing is a serious social problem now in Hong Kong. It is such a small city that we don’t have enough land on which to build all the homes we need to meet demand.
One way the government has suggested to tackle this problem is through reclamation. But its proposed project off the northern Lantau coast [near Tung Chung] would mean about 200 to 400 ships would enter nearby waters every day during the construction period, including a marine park.
The Development Bureau has described the negative effect on the environment as being “very limited”.
It is clearly difficult to strike the right balance, but we cannot keep destroying the environment and think there will be no consequences.
We need to change the way we address our land shortage problem. The government has to recognise that reclamation projects are no longer the solution.
We must look at how other countries have found ways to increase their housing supply and create more affordable housing.
Joey Wong, Kwai Chung
Next education chief must be willing to listen
The chief executive-elect is now deciding on the senior positions for her new government and there has been a lot of discussion and speculation about who might become education secretary.
Hong Kong, like so many societies in Asia, has an education system that is considered by critics to be inhumane. It puts students under intense pressure and because of this we have seen a rise in suicide rates.
The Education Bureau has not dealt in sensitive and sensible ways with this problem and its policies show that top officials are not listening to students’ voices.
Education should be about acquiring knowledge, it is not meant to be a competition to be won at all costs.
The next education chief must listen to these students and come up with the right kind of policies that address the problems in the education system.
I do not expect changes to be made overnight, but they are long overdue.
Kaecee Wong, Kwun Tong
Teachers are entitled to enjoy free time
Primary and secondary school teachers are under pressure because of the huge number of app inquiries they get from parents and students (“Most Hong Kong teachers overwhelmed by volume of instant messages from parents and students, survey finds”, May 3).
I think there are two reasons for this. One is that parents are overprotective and the other is that, with no time in the classroom, this is the most efficient way for students to clarify something or get help from the teacher.
I appreciate that parents will send these messages because they care about their children’s education and it may make sense in primary school. However, the fact that the messages are being sent on behalf of secondary students as well does prove my point about some parents being overprotective. By the time their children are in secondary school, parents have to start encouraging them to be more independent and learn to take care of themselves.
Schools need to find ways to deal with this so that teachers are not bothered after work. This is not just a problem in the education sector. In the private sector, employees often find emails from their managers when they get home in the evening that they are expected to deal with, even though they are at home.
Workers should be entitled to relax during their private time.
Phoebe Ko, Tseung Kwan O
Bureau should issue directive on messages
I refer to the report, “Most Hong Kong teachers overwhelmed by volume of instant messages from parents and students, survey finds”, (May 3).
Teachers nowadays are perplexed by the after-work pressure they face from students’ parents.
Some of these parents are constantly messaging teachers, via instant message tools. They are making various inquires, including asking questions that are related to studies.
This leaves teachers feeling that they have to shoulder extra responsibilities, which puts them under far too much pressure.
They are being expected to give immediate answers to parents. If they fail to do so, they leave themselves open to unfair accusations that they are inefficient or are not being conscientious enough.
The attitude of these parent is unfair and it deprives teachers of the right to relax after work, just like any employee in a private company.
The Education Bureau should look into this issue. It should send a directive to schools saying that teachers do not have to handle these kind of messages from parents after work.
Samuel Cheng Ka-ho, Sai Kung
Do not ignore terror threat from vehicles
Hong Kong is a target for terrorism, that is a given (“Police on alert for lone wolf terrorism”, May 4). But are our police diligent in their detection of potential threats? That is an unknown.
When the Irish Republic Army was terrorising London, bombs placed in illegally parked cars was a common tactic. Both the Harrods  and Hyde Park  bombs were hidden in vehicles.
The apathy with which our police handle illegal parking in Hong Kong creates a dangerous precedent for allowing such threats to exist here.
Vigilance is essential for the effective enforcement of all our laws, not ignoring a threat, wherever it may occur.
Mark Peaker, The Peak