Letters to the Editor, October 21, 2017

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 21 October, 2017, 9:02am
UPDATED : Saturday, 21 October, 2017, 9:02am

Make students think for themselves

I agree with Roanna Ng about ­local schools (“Rote learning and exam focus not smart”, ­October 7).

Hong Kong’s education system has been criticised for spoon-feeding because students just memorise the teaching material that is given by the teacher or acquire some skills to take the exam. Many students fail to acquire critical thinking skills and other talents that will be useful in later life, especially when they find a job. Students are simply studying to prepare for exams and they have lost the inspiration to chase more knowledge that will be useful to them. We all know there are many university graduates who cannot find a job.

Schools need to offer more liberal studies lessons to allow students to develop their critical thinking, which will be crucial in their futures.

Critical thinking and creativity will be much more useful in the long term than just passing an exam. The knowledge needed for an exam may not necessarily be relevant later but the critical thinking skills will last a lifetime. More discussion sessions during lessons would make students think more and not just rely on the answer given by teachers.

The government also should promote STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics). The objectives of STEM education are to prepare youngsters for the future needs of society through learning activities that require knowledge and skills across all the four disciplines so that they can solve problems, innovate and create.

Kitty Lui Sze-ki, Hang Hau

Timing of China history rule is odd

I refer to the report (“Roundabout route to national education? Chinese history rule for Hong Kong secondary schools stokes fears of renewed push”, October 11).

The majority of schools ­today already teach Chinese ­history as an independent subject, while others incorporate it in their world history lessons. Extending Chinese history to become an independent compulsory subject will probably not pose a huge threat to Hong Kong.

Some might say that this is already national education, but I don’t think so. I’m sure students from forms one to three have critical thinking skills, and Chinese history isn’t very biased in general.

However, it is quite odd that Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngorhas decided to announce this at such a time, during the peak of teenagers’ disapproval towards China.

James Wong, Tseung Kwan O

Qipao cultural classic worth preserving

The tradition of wearing qipao is slowly fading but the dressmaking skills must be preserved before it’s too late (“New blood, old masters keep qipao trade alive”, September 28).

Qipao is a beautiful representation of Chinese culture and its tradition deserves to be passed on to future generations. This doesn’t mean we have to keep the qipao designs unchanged, they can evolve and be adapted to modern life and tastes.

I suggest first promoting the importance of preserving the qipao to all youngsters and make them understand how important it is to safeguard our culture. If we don’t take up the responsibility now, this ­tradition might be lost forever.

I think the government can also promote Chinese culture to countries around the world. The more people know about our culture, the more some might help with preserving it. Who knows, the qiapo may even ­become a fashion trend again.

It is a great idea to share our traditions with people from different nations. Important things deserve to be promoted around the world.

Cathy Iong, Ngau Tau Kok

Soccer fans’ anthem boos disrespectful

An Asian Cup football qualifier between Hong Kong and Malaysia on October 10 again had local fans booing the national anthem and some even showed their middle finger as it played. Such behaviour is childish, disrespectful and damages Hong Kong’s reputation.

Even though these fans might say that they do not see themselves as Chinese, it is simply a matter of respect recognised around the world that national anthems deserve. Would they boo the American national anthem?

US President Donald Trump has criticised players at National Football League games who have knelt in protest at racism and police brutality as the national anthem is played but it should not be an occasion for politics and the issue of freedom of speech.

Hong Kong’s pan-democrats always use this as an excuse for booing the national anthem and opposing a proposed national anthem law. They forget that the anthem is not about the right of free speech but nationalities. If they do not recognise their national ­anthem, no country will want to accept them as their citizens. The soccer fans have already hurt Hong Kong.

Billy Sit, Tseung Kwan O

MTR video raises issue of fairness

The MTR Corporation has been criticised for a video targeting people with backpacks and workers, students and other travellers it sees as causing tension on crowded trains.

The video shows several situations in which some passengers wearing backpacks cause disturbances by refusing to move or backing into other passengers. The corporation advises those with back packs to take them off and put them on the floor.

One of the reasons people get angry with the video is that it exaggerates the problem of wearing a backpack, but ignores the inconvenience caused by parallel traders with their bulky luggage. An online commenter said “it’s lucky enough for me to board a crowded train already, where would there be space left for me to put my bag down? ”

Many commuters might think the MTR has double standard towards the parallel traders and local passengers.

The video deepens a divide between Beijing and Hong Kong. The bulky, heavy luggage of parallel traders and Chinese tourists has created more inconvenience than a few back packs, with reports of pregnant women, children and the elderly ­having to fight for space.

It seems the MTR is not willing to confront this problem and gives the impression mainland tourists and traders are more valued than local passengers.

Madison So, Yau Yat Chuen

Student suicide trend must be reversed

I am concerned about the mental health problem of teenagers. It is tragic when you hear of students, some as young as 12, committing suicide. Parents should be the first to try to solve emotional issues behind their child’s behaviour.

Daily communication can help unravel the reasons a child is reluctant to go to school. Are they just worried about academic results? Maybe they are being bullied. Family support is crucial but teachers also play a key role.

We must all try to stop this worrying trend.

Annette Tang, Kowloon Tong