Letters to the Editor, November 1, 2017
Do not ignore negative side of nation’s past
I am glad that the Hong Kong government has launched a second round of consultation into the decision to make Chinese history a compulsory subject at the junior secondary level.
Even though it is 20 years since the sovereignty of Hong Kong was returned to China, many Hongkongers still struggle with their national identity, and tensions remain between some groups and the central government.
Hong Kong continues to enjoy a high degree of autonomy and freedom, but it is still important for citizens to know about the nation’s history and how it relates to Hong Kong’s past. Young people need to know the struggles and hardships of previous generations so they do not take what they have for granted.
However, we must not fall into the trap you find in some countries which only focus on past achievements, rather than failures, in their national history syllabuses in schools. Sensitive and negative aspects of history must also be studied. Pupils need to know the full story and learn to think for themselves and reach their own conclusions.
This is the best way to help them develop their critical thinking skills. This compulsory Chinese history course must be taught in an objective way.
Cynthia Tam, Kwun Tong
Simple way to curb illegal parking in city
The main cause of illegal parking in Hong Kong is not that drivers do not want to pay to park. The main cause is simply the lack of parking spaces.
A lot of buildings housing public car parks have been demolished because of urban redevelopment. They are mostly replaced by new residential blocks, with parking places only for flat owners and tenants.
This exacerbates the problem of congestion, because many drivers are forced to park illegally on streets; or they will drive around and wait for a legal space to be free, thereby blocking traffic in a lane. This means that the lack of parking spaces impairs our cityscape.
You also see a lot of commercial vehicles parking in rural areas like Yuen Long, which is unsightly. This creates a bad impression with tourists seeking to enjoy what should be unspoilt areas of the New Territories.
The government should build more buildings containing public car parks.
It also needs to introduce policies which discourage people from buying cars, so there are fewer private cars in the city. Also, developers should be forced to ensure there are enough parking spaces in new residential buildings, so that all tenants with cars can be helped.
Ivy Fung Ho-ching, Yau Yat Chuen
Declaration of independence was a coup
The relative silence from the EU regarding the crisis in Spain is notable for its wisdom.
Two salient facts make the current crisis solely an internal Spanish affair. Firstly, in the 40 years of Spanish democracy there has never been a single election, referendum or opinion poll in Catalonia showing a majority of its population in favour of independence.
Secondly, Spain shares a key constitutional principle with the three largest remaining members of the European Union: Germany, France and Italy; namely that none of its regions can unilaterally declare independence. Independence can only come about with the agreement of the rest of the country.
The Catalonian nationalist movement has been hijacked by a ragbag of reckless politicians peddling economic half-truths, who have been specifically and purposely goading Madrid into taking punitive actions.
Their declaration last Friday of an independent state was nothing short of a coup d’état and the EU should be commended for paying it no heed.
David Konn, Pok Fu Lam
Cooperation key to tackling climate change
Countries around the world are experiencing more extreme weather conditions, because of global warming.
Scientists have warned about the devastating effects of climate change, with low-lying areas being submerged by rising sea levels.
All governments must do more to tackle this problem. And if we see ourselves as global citizens, we must also change our lifestyles, so that we do more in our daily lives to protect the environment.
Fung Siu-chung, Tseung Kwan O
Daily exercise routine would help pupils
A survey has found that many youngsters in Hong Kong rarely exercise and are not eating enough fruit and vegetables (“Stroke warning as bad habits of young revealed”, October 30).
Some people might say these bad habits are due to laziness, but I disagree.
A lot of young people would say that because of their workload at school, they simply don’t have time to exercise. Certainly the recommendation of exercising five times a week is not realistic. Students want to stay healthy, but after the school day ends they often have to attend extracurricular activities and tutorial classes and then do their homework.
The best way to deal with this problem is for schools to take the initiative. In China, pupils throughout the country must do an exercise routine together in the morning. This could be done in local schools.
Also, the Education Bureau could issue guidelines about what kind of food should be provided in school canteens, with greater emphasis on fruit and vegetables.
Jojo Wong, Po Lam