Letters to the Editor, July 15, 2017

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 15 July, 2017, 9:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 15 July, 2017, 9:00am

English offers wider horizons for students

When discussing language usage in the classroom, some people claim that Putonghua is better as it’s the language of the future. Some say our mother language, Cantonese, is better. In my opinion, using English in the classroom is the best choice.

There are English medium of instruction schools where students are taught mainly in English. The performance of EMI students is better than those using Cantonese in many inter-school competitions. In a competitive society, students will stand out from the crowd if they speak English well. It helps them broaden their horizons.

Some educational experts claim that Putonghua is more important as it can strengthen job security in the city. However, Hong Kong is an international city. By learning English, ­students are able to communicate with foreigners. They have more choice of future careers. They can choose to stay in Hong Kong or go overseas.

For these reasons, I think using English as the main language in the classroom is a better choice than Cantonese or Putonghua. Students are the future of Hong Kong, and I hope the Education Bureau thinks carefully before making any decisions on language policy.

Fei Hui, Tseung Kwan O

Listen to the words of a wiser president

In his final speech from the White House in January 1961, president Dwight Eisenhower issued this dire warning: “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist.”

I call on the Republicans and other political parties to follow Ike’s wise words; to stop our “shoot first, ask questions later” tone and use diplomacy to save the US and the rest of the world from ruination. Congress must rein in the military and our trigger-happy, fake president Donald Trump who is seemingly looking for a fight.

Herb Stark, Mooresville, North Carolina, United States

We must work with China to cut pollution

Researchers have found that our air quality is getting poorer. According to the Environmental Protection Department, Tung Chung and Tuen Mun have seen record high levels of air ­pollution.

The chances of getting respiratory and heart illnesses are increased, especially for the children and elderly, whose ­immune systems are weaker.

Large amounts of pollutants enter Hong Kong from the mainland, so joint efforts are needed. The central government should not focus solely on development, but should also consider the environment. Both sides ought to set up strict systems to prevent people from dumping pollutants into rivers. The two governments must ­cooperate.

Cecilia Tang, Yau Yat Chuen

Improve travel options for the disabled

Hong Kong is densely populated, and different modes of transport are working at full capacity. Many elderly and disabled people find it difficult to travel around Hong Kong due to a lack of barrier-free facilities.

For example, people using wheelchairs may avoid the MTR because there are not enough lifts reserved for them. A journey which is supposed to take half an hour can be three times as long for disabled people.

Taxis provide a point-to-point service but they are expensive. Moreover, most taxi fleets lack wheelchair-accessible ­facilities.

I would suggest enhancements in both hardware and software to help increase ­accessibility.

In terms of hardware, for instance, low-floor light buses could be used on hospital routes so that people can get on and off more easily. The taxi trade could increase the number of taxis with wheelchair access, and ­offer discounts for the disabled.

The government should also work with NGOs to increase the number of rehabilitation buses for disabled people. It can be difficult for them to book the service at present, thanks to the low number of rehab buses in ­operation.

In software, promotional materials such as videos and posters could be used to ­promote a caring culture, so that more citizens will offer a helping hand to assist disabled people when travelling.

Apps could also be developed to provide a clear system to help them find the shortest route to a destination.

Daniel Hui Yin-hang, Sha Tin

Cold calls are disturbing but also ineffective

I agree with correspondents and columnists who have complained about the rise in the number of cold calls people ­receive in Hong Kong.

I receive cold calls while I am having dinner, hanging out with friends or even sleeping. It is extremely disturbing. Most of the calls come from banks or beauty salons. Some people choose to prank the callers. Some choose to hang up immediately.

According to a survey, only 1 per cent of cold calls actually get a result. It shows that they are ­ineffective.

We should follow the lead of the US government, which has implemented “do not call” lists. Marketing companies are required by law to check the databases and remove registered numbers from their to-call file. Our government must step in.

Laurent Li, Tseung Kwan O

Our children are at risk of poor health

I agree with correspondents who have argued that students in Hong Kong are not getting enough physical exercise.

Primary and secondary school students rarely exercise enough these days, because they have too many other pressures. These range from exam scores and peer pressure to after-school activities and pressure from parents. They spend all their time on schoolwork or other things, so they have no time for any sports.

This is a serious problem and we must solve it. If students are given no time for exercise, they may become obese or suffer from high blood pressure or ­diabetes.

Parents must reduce the pressure placed on their children. Students will only stay in good health if they are given free time to do exercise.

Daniel Chan Ka-lok, Ma On Shan