Letters to the Editor, September 13, 2017

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 13 September, 2017, 5:02pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 13 September, 2017, 5:02pm

Blanket ban on EdU students just ridiculous

I refer to the report (“School heads condemn suicide taunt as employers ‘vow never to hire’ Education University students”, September 9).

These head teachers and educators should certainly ­reflect a little before filling themselves with righteous indignation over the hurtful and tactless poster on the university’s ­democracy wall, “taunting a top education official over the ­suicide of her eldest son”.

Such pronouncements are as silly as saying that the entire population of Hong Kong should be denied exit visas ­because the city produces a few criminals each year.

They also propose a form of collective punishment for an entire, responsible and largely hardworking community of ­students and staff, and the last time I looked, collective punishment is outlawed by UN charter.

No educational institution whose numbers are in the thousands can say that all of their ­students show the strength of character and impeccable ­moral rectitude that they may want them to achieve. So please let our educators show the young a better considered example, while the administration goes about the business of identifying and holding to ­account those responsible.

Hugh Holme, Tai Po

End to printed handouts good green initiative

Earlier this year, the University of Hong Kong banned the sale of disposable bottled water on its Pok Fu Lam campus. This green initiative was welcomed.

Now, in this new academic year, one department at HKU has implemented an unprecedented policy – a ban on giving printed handouts to students.

I believe this is the right thing to do, and the initiative should be adopted by other departments and the ­other universities in Hong Kong as well.

A semester at our universities lasts about three months, so ­students will use any handouts for a very short period of time. After the term ends, these will probably not be read again.

Sometimes, lecturers even print out in-class activity materials that are only used for a few minutes. This is such a tremendous waste of paper.

Nearly all university ­students these days own laptops. These can be used to access ­online learning resources systems (in HKU and most of the other ­universities, it is called Moodle) in which lecturers will upload teaching materials. As long as teachers upload their handouts, there is no need for printouts.

This can significantly reduce the amount of paper used for teaching purposes. It is through this kind of cooperation that we can ensure the sustainability of our world.

Anson C.Y. Chan, North Point

Pregnant staff face unequal treatment

People can suffer different kinds of ­discrimination in the workplace, including that based on race and sex. Sexual discrimination can especially be directed at employees who are pregnant.

Sometimes their employer will demote or even fire them without giving a good reason. They may not have done anything wrong but lose their job because the boss does not want a pregnant ­member of staff.

The legislation which outlaws such behaviour is much tougher in some countries, such as the US, than it is here.

In Hong Kong and other jurisdictions, the treatment of pregnant women in some workplaces is a throwback to an era when ­gender discrimination was common.

A pregnant employee who is fired may be the main breadwinner of the family, and losing her job could have devastating consequences.

In these jurisdictions, ­including Hong Kong, we need much tougher legislation, so that pregnant women are given full protection in any workplace.

Nicole Ho Wing-lam, Po Lam

Staying safe is the top priority ­as storm hits

The severe storms that have ­recently hit Hong Kong, Macau, the Caribbean and the US have highlighted the need for people to have a greater sense of crisis ­awareness.

Typhoon Hato last month caused a lot of damage in Hong Kong, but there was even more devastation in Macau.

While Hong Kong did not suffer the levels of destruction people have faced because of Hurricane Irma, and we don’t get tsunamis or earthquakes, we still all need to be aware and take the necessary precautions to stay safe.

Donald Chan, Tseung Kwan O

Exodus to Canada makes perfect sense

The fact that there has been a surge in the number of Hongkongers migrating to Canada should be a wake-up call.

I fear that we are losing our competitiveness, as well as our political, economic and social ­advantages.

I believe that most migrants leave because of the pressure they experience in the city, especially in the workplace, something their children also feel in school. Also, some of them have lost hope in the ability of the ­government to deal with pressing social issues and bring genuine democracy to Hong Kong.

The 79-day Occupy movement heightened those feelings. Many people no longer believe Hong Kong can become a better place to live, so they decide to move to a freer society.

I wish the next generation could grow up in a less stressful and more creative city, so that its level of global competitiveness could improve.

Crystal Li Wing-yan, Tsz Wan Shan