Online Letters, July 25, 2017
Paris climate agreement has proved very costly
Global warming doubters commit blasphemy by questioning the whole kit-and-caboodle of the crusade, especially when they question the efficacy of the Paris climate change accord.
They are apostates, waging a lonely battle against disciples of the academy whose sense of the progressive pulse is spot-on.
Some have gone farther than just questioning the assumptions of the global warming lobby by proposing a series of actions which might be a better use of public money than the incredibly expensive actions approved in Paris. And therein lies the rub, for there is little bang-for-the-buck in tying the taxpayer to a global accord which, if all the stars align, will lower temperatures by the end of this century by about one degree. But in an age when we are habituated to the waste of trillions of dollars, it is hard to get worked up about still another progressive waste.
Fare thee well, doubters, for while you may be duplicating Don Quixote, you do so with the best of intentions.
Paul Bloustein, Cincinnati, Ohio, US
Students can benefit from outdoor trips
Schools tend to focus on developing students’ exam skills. However, there are other productive ways in which they can learn new and important skills, such as going on more outdoor trips. This can help them, for example, learn more about the environment.
Schools may be reluctant to organise more of these trips, because youngsters are concentrating on doing well in the Diploma of Secondary Education. But they can improve their social communication skills by having more days out of school and interacting with people, especially Western visitors.
Many students suffer from too much studying in schools. They feel under a great deal of pressure. Outdoor trips offer some diversity and help them to cope better with a demanding studying environment.
As they prepare for the trip they will do more research online which enhances their knowledge.
There will be youngsters who prefer being outside and who can learn more while in a natural environment such as a country park than they would in the classroom. It is good to have different studying methods, rather sticking to a strict regime in school.
William Law, Kwun Tong
Parents should not be overprotective towards children
I would be against schools organising more outdoor trips. If students want to have more excursions to a variety of destinations then they should organise them. It can prove challenging to youngsters if they have to take the initiative, as they can acquire different skills.
Schools and parents should encourage this approach. Too many parents in Hong Kong are now overprotective and there needs to be a change of attitude.
Youngsters need to learn skills that can help them become more independent, so they should be responsible for planning the trips, including arranging the necessary transportation. Also, when they get to the destination, if say they are hiking, they should learn map-reading skills so they can find their own way on the route.
They can also learn more about time-management, such as when to catch buses and how long the whole trip will take. Also, as they are going in a group if they are working together and they can understand the importance of team spirit and communicating and cooperating with each other.
Youngsters can learn to be self-reliant and to overcome setbacks, skills which will stand them in good stead during their adult lives.
Lam Ki-wing, Sai Kung
Courts must get tough with teenage criminals
I am concerned about the rate of teenage crime in Hong Kong. I think the courts are partly to blame for this. Too often they deal with juvenile delinquents in a lenient manner, citing their youth as a mitigating factor. But people who are found guilty of criminal acts, whatever their age, must face the consequences of their actions.
How will they realise the severity of what they have done if they are not properly punished? Heavier punishment can act as a deterrent to these young criminals and to potential offenders. They might be persuaded to turn over a new leaf and lead law-abiding lives.
Also these teenagers when they are convicted need to recognise that they are to blame for their actions, not society. They need to learn the importance of having a moral code and recognising the difference between right and wrong.
If they are experiencing problems they should seek help from family members and teachers. They need to appreciate that everyone is equal before the law.
Kevin Wong, Po Lam
Face-to-face contact better than texting
Just about everyone has a smartphone now in Hong Kong and these devices are really popular with teenagers. Many youngsters take it with them wherever they go and constantly check it so they do not miss a message. They get worried when the battery is running low and they are unable to recharge it.
Some teens simply have no self-control when it comes to their mobiles and this can lead to psychological problems.
I urge my fellow teenagers who have this problem to cut back on their smartphone use. It is better to have face-to-face contact with friends and family rather than constantly sending text messages.
Talking to people directly can help youngsters improve their communication skills and they can widen their social circle. As a consequence they are likely to become more self-confident. Being able to talk directly to friends can help youngsters relieve some of the stress that might have built up during the day. It is preferable to being glued to an electronic device.
Miki Hui Ka-yan, Tseung Kwan O