Letters to the Editor, August 11, 2017

PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 August, 2017, 4:42pm
UPDATED : Friday, 11 August, 2017, 4:42pm

Associate degrees offer second chance

I refer to the report “Hong Kong students choose public over ­private by opting for associate degrees when missing out on university places”, (August 8).

I understand why many students would rather do an associate degree. Their Diploma of Secondary Education (DSE) ­results meet the basic requirements to get into university, but that was not enough to get a place. The associate degree gives them a second chance and they prefer that, even though they will not get the new HK$30,000 subsidy that goes to students ­doing ­degrees at private universities. They believe that having a degree from a public university is preferable, because it has a better reputation.

Take, for example, engineering. I think an employer, when looking at job applicants, will think that an engineering degree from a publicly funded university is of better quality than one from a private university, especially if it is a well-established ­institution like the University of Hong Kong. So I understand why so many DSE candidates are choosing associate degrees.

It is important for the public universities to provide more ­degree places so that DSE candidates have a better chance of ­becoming undergraduates. These universities should offer new subjects to give young ­people more options.

Jocelly Tse, Po Lam

Raising doubts over mosquito control drive

A worker at the West Kowloon rail terminus station became the first person this year to contract dengue fever.

I was concerned to read about this, especially as the city’s fourth Japanese encephalitis case was also reported this month, resulting in mosquito control work being undertaken at Tin Shui Wai.

I am worried that, in some cases, the government appears to act after an incident, such as someone being diagnosed with a mosquito-related illness, when it would be far better to take ­precautionary measures.

Of course, I am sure the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department carries out spraying in different parts of the city, but does it need to expand that spraying programme to make it more effective? If more manpower and more resources are needed, then they should be provided.

It is also important for individuals to act responsibly. In our homes, we need to check areas for stagnant water where ­mosquitoes can breed, such as ­umbrella stands and plant ­holders.

Mei Lam-deng, Tseung Kwan O

Young children should play, not surf the net

Smartphones have become a daily necessity for most of us and many parents allow their children to use them from an early age. I am concerned about that and agree with your editorial (“Smartphones should only be given to children responsibly”, August 10).

Overuse of smartphones can harm children’s physical health. For example, spending long ­periods looking at a smartphone or tablet can damage their eyes. Also, they need to be outside, getting exercise as they play with friends, not sitting for hours looking at a computer.

Also, when they play and communicate with peers every day, they develop interpersonal skills which is very important. But, too often, you see kids glued to their electronic devices like mobile phone zombies. Parents and schools have a role to play.

Parents must make sure their children are involved in outdoor activities with other kids. This can help them meet new friends and broaden their horizons. They are also getting more ­exercise, which is good for them.

Schools should teach pupils how to use smartphones ­responsibly and set up a timetable for when students can and ­cannot use their phones.

Connie Yeung Hoi-tung, Sha Tin

Simple solution to immigration controversy

The proposed joint checkpoint plan for the high-speed rail ­terminus at West Kowloon is controversial. There is no ­perfect system, but I would like to suggest one that is simple and ­hopefully not so controversial.

I have two proposals. Firstly, passengers entering Hong Kong will go through immigration control in Hong Kong and those leaving the SAR will not be ­required to go through Hong Kong immigration.

Secondly, for China entry, at the first mainland ­station, all passengers will get off the train.

They will go through immigration in China, as they were not processed at Hong Kong ­immigration. Passengers leaving China will not go to mainland immigration, as they will be processed by Hong Kong ­immigration when they arrive there.

Alex Ng, Sham Shui Po

Think tank could look at housing issues

I agree with the letter by Kary Chan (“More starter and public flats are needed”, July 27) that the government must do more to deal with the city’s housing crisis.

Your corresondent is right that there should be an increase in the supply of starter homes for people from the lower and middle classes. And tighter controls should be imposed on people who try to purchase more than one flat in a new apartment block.

It is important for the government to set long-term goals. Therefore I propose it sets up a dedicated think tank which tries to come up with those goals which can deal effectively with the city’s housing problems. Stakeholders from different sectors could be invited to give their valuable opinions.

Housing is a complex issue and it can only be solved if we come up with long-term ­strategies.

Clarence Lam Chi-Wing, Tsuen Wan