Letters to the Editor, September 21, 2017
Limit on hours of study will not ease stress
Teenagers in Hong Kong are under immense pressure with their studies. Over the last few years, there has been a rise in the number of teenage suicides. This is why there has been a call for schools to have a daily study hours cap for students.
I am not convinced, however, that standard hours will reduce stress levels, because there are other factors at play. For example, some teenagers become obsessed with how they look and how people perceive them, what I would call their “body image”. Negative feelings about this can affect their self-esteem. Allowing them standard hours will not help in any way.
Even if such a system were in place, many youngsters will ignore it and keep on working long hours. The traditional heavy workload will not simply disappear because a new cap has been imposed.
In fact, it may make some youngsters even more stressed, as they will spend fewer hours in class, giving the teacher less time to complete a very busy syllabus. A cap of this kind cannot change anything without a revamp of the whole education system.
What is important is teaching students to find coping mechanisms so they can deal effectively with stress. Talks could be arranged to help students with stress management. Emotional education is very important for youngsters.
Chloe Hui, Tseung Kwan O
PLA stint may make students more sensible
I refer to the controversy over university students and their right to freedom of speech.
One wonders why these students wish to waste their time discussing matters completely against the Basic Law, while being subsidised by the Hong Kong taxpayer.
The students might as well waste their time arguing that the moon is made of cheese.
There could be a simple solution. When I turned 18, I was compulsorily conscripted into the British armed services for two years.
I believe it would do them a world of good if all Hong Kong males on their 18th birthday were equally compulsorily conscripted into the People’s Liberation Army for two years of training.
Let us see after this military training if they are quite so willing to waste time to discuss nonsensical matters.
Alastair Foulkes, Mid-Levels
Mainland rules show recycling needs rethink
The local recycling sector has been affected by the new mainland regulations restricting the import of wastepaper.
The changes briefly led to a temporary halt in wastepaper collection in Hong Kong, and this affected everyone involved in the collection and recycling of this material.
The incident highlighted the fact that the industry is heavily dependent on sending its waste material across the border, but cannot now meet the higher standards demanded by mainland authorities. This exposes weaknesses in the recycling operators and the government.
Local recycling firms must improve the way they process and classify wastepaper. If necessary, they should get better machinery and the government should help with this, perhaps in the form of subsidies. It is better to choose this option than to look for other export markets.
If the operators do not make a concerted effort to enhance their product, the problem of a backlog of wastepaper piling up will get worse.
We also need to see a change in the mindset of citizens, so that they are trying harder to separate waste at source and recycle wherever possible. There must be more education by the government, because the public recycling bins you see all over the city are being misused. The level of public environmental awareness must be raised.
Rainee Ho Lok-yin, Kwai Chung
Plan long-term on approach to waste in city
Recycling operators in Hong Kong find it very difficult to do business and things have been made worse by the mainland ban on 24 types of polluting “foreign rubbish”.
The government should be offering more help to this sector, such as assistance to upgrade their machinery so that firms here can process wastepaper.
There also needs to be more intensive public education. Few Hongkongers separate waste at home and then deposit material in recycling bins. The government should try to change this mindset so that a lot more waste is recycled.
Moreover, long-term solutions are needed to reduce the volumes of waste produced.
Jason Luk, Tseung Kwan O
Caution must always top the list for hikers
The incident concerning two mainland tourists, who had to be rescued last month after being stranded on Kowloon Peak during Severe Tropical Storm Pakhar, showed the need to take precautions when a storm approaches. But it also illustrated the importance of being sensible whenever you are preparing to go on a hike.
People often get into trouble on trails because of lack of planning. Some may choose a route that is too difficult for them and they do not realise this until they get into trouble. Or they may get stuck up a mountain, because they do not have the right equipment, such as ropes, or they get lost because they set out without a map or compass.
Finally, I do not think it is good to hike alone; people should always bring a friend along to call for help if need be.
Grace Chui Wing-yin, Sheung Shui