Letters to the Editor, May 17, 2017
China’s bold plans for Africa face obstacles
Reviving ancient trade links between China and Africa is part of President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) “Belt and Road Initiative”.
I believe that in trying to achieve its goals in Africa, China is likely to face severe difficulties and challenges.
Beijing has outlined an extensive development strategy in the African continent. I think the two biggest problems it will have to overcome are political instability in some countries and security concerns.
Many African countries either lack democracy or are in a fragile state. The rights of citizens are not always respected and this causes instability. Things are made worse by the high levels of corruption.
There are also conflicts and terrorist threats in different parts of the continent. In a country where opponents of the government are targeted, any political crisis can easily escalate into violence and war may even break out, making that country very unstable.
I hope more African governments will recognise the immense potential of Beijing’s “Belt and Road Initiative” and will cooperate with China on planned projects.
The related development programmes that could be implemented would perhaps reduce conflicts and lead to greater stability in Africa.
Kathy Cheuk Ka-yee, Kowloon Tong
Hoping golden KMB buses will not vanish
I welcome some of the changes being introduced by the city’s largest bus company, KMB.
Its new double-decker buses, expected to be on the roads in July, will now be red and silver with an outline of Hong Kong’s skyscrapers on the roof.
They will also have USB charging ports and free Wi-Fi, so passengers will be able to charge their electronic devices and use data at no extra cost.
Because of the new colour scheme, the new buses have been compared to the iconic red double-deckers of London.
Red is a bold colour and is appropriate for the new KMB vehicles. I am sure the changes will be largely welcomed by the passengers in the city.
However, I will miss the old golden buses. They are a Hong Kong tradition and it would be a bit sad if we never saw them again. I hope they will not disappear altogether.
Cheung Cheuk-hei, Yau Yat Chuen
Keen shoppers must look out for addiction
A Greenpeace survey has shown that Hongkongers have some of the unhealthiest shopping habits in the world. I think there are some key reasons for this.
Some people find that being able to buy a lot of things gives them more confidence. If they are well-off, they will buy the latest styles in clothing and show them off to friends.
Thanks to the internet and smartphones, shopping has become much more convenient. Just a few clicks lets you buy whatever you want online.
Some citizens may say that shopping helps to relieve stress. They can do this by walking around a mall, visiting their favourite shops, or they may prefer to stay at home and use online shopping outlets.
If people are feeling anxious about something, then shopping can certainly act as a diversion and push negative thoughts into the background for a while. But, intensive shopping could degenerate into compulsive behaviour and become addictive. It could also lead to people getting into credit card debt.
If someone is already feeling anxious about other things, debt or shopping addiction would just make their problems worse and so increase their stress.
I think if people are very keen shoppers they need to recognise the potential pitfalls and make sure they exercise some self-control.
Benson Wong Tat-hin, Tseung Kwan O
Watchfulness is best to foil cybercrime
We must all be more aware of the threat posed online through possible theft of our data by hackers and the need to enhance cybersecurity.
With rapid advances in new technology, more people are using devices such as smartphones and storing a lot of personal data on them. It is certainly a very convenient way to store information, because you can access it anywhere and at any time, but it raises serious cybersecurity issues.
Hackers are very resourceful and use different methods to steal people’s data. Cybercrime, including data theft, is on the rise and often very serious. Individuals have to recognise the risks posed to them and take the necessary action. Courts must impose much tougher punishment on people found guilty of data theft as a deterrent.
Governments can also launch education drives to make citizens and companies recognise the need to make their computers more secure.
Firms need to ensure they have a good firewall to protect their most sensitive documents. This is very important as some of these files can include personal details of their clients.
Taking effective preventive measures makes the job of hackers that much more difficult.
When going online, individuals should only go to websites they trust. They should also choose difficult passwords for email or other sites, which they must change regularly.
Miki Li Ka-ki, Kowloon Tong
Tests always part of life as a student in HK
Many parents of primary school students are opposed to the Basic Competency Assessment (BCA), which aims to replace the controversial Territory-wide System Assessment (TSA).
Education officials say the BCA is designed to enhance learning and teaching. Parents who oppose the TSA test say it puts pressure on their children, as they are forced to study past papers and do repeated exercises so that schools can get a better grading.
The BCA is supposed to do away with this problem of stress, but many parents remain unconvinced. I disagree with those saying they will not allow their children to sit the BCA.
Tests and exams are part of our education system. We have all had to take them during our school years. Should we be allowed to skip one because our parents say it is too difficult?
Parents have complained about the heavy workload for students. However, most Hongkongers in their working lives will have to put in a lot of hours in the office, so school helps youngsters get used to dealing with that pressure.
Some parents spoil their children and are overprotective. They should instead be trying to help their children develop an independent mindset which will help them later in life.
Vanessa Choi Wing-sze, Yau Yat Chuen