Letters to the Editor, November 4, 2017
Divided society must focus on civic education
I am pleased that Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor is honouring her election promises, by proposing extra funds for the education sector in her policy address.
The new funding will make a huge difference for public subsidised schools, which are underprivileged when compared to directly subsidised and private schools, due to a lack of capital to nurture potential talents.
However, besides improving the hardware of local schools, I believe that the development of moral and civic education should also receive a push.
With the increasing influence of the internet, traditional moral values are fading. Cyber-bullying is common, as are online wars of words between peers and even between generations. Personal privacy is not as respected as it was before.
The future could be unimaginably terrifying if people did not comply with moral standards any more, as public order would be impossible to maintain. Making civic education mandatory in schools is the only solution.
Positive messages effectively delivered to all students will in the long run benefit all of society, if people act with altruism, courtesy and honesty, as seen in countries with strong civic education, such as Japan.
Anfield Tam, Quarry Bay
Giant screen helps highlight pollution facts
I refer to your article on a massive LED screen in Causeway Bay sparking light pollution concerns (“Heavy on light? Hong Kong LED screen the size of five tennis courts sparks community concern)”October 28). The screen mounted on the side of the Sogo store in Causeway Bay spans about 1,400 square metres. The worry is that it will become a nuisance for nearby residents.
Light pollution is a form of environmental degradation in which excessive artificial light from neon signs and LED screens affects the natural environment and the ecosystem. The physiological cycles and movements of animals and birds may be affected, as the bright light causes confusion about whether it is day or night.
Excessive light is also known to cause sleep disturbance among nearby residents, affecting their quality of life. So I hope large shopping malls and stores will keep environmental interests in mind.
Jessie Leung Cheuk-yau, Yau Yat Chau
Egyptian relics revealed city’s cultural bent
A recently concluded four-month exhibition at the Science Museum about ancient Egyptian culture, featuring mummies from the British Museum, drew a lot of crowds.
The popularity of the exhibition showed that Hongkongers enjoy learning about different cultures. However, they do not get enough chances to do so. The response to the Egyptian cultural relics only proves that more large-scale exhibitions are needed in the city.
These can also help Hong Kong students broaden their horizons, as they become familiar with other cultures and gain a more global outlook, adding to their competitive edge. The government and big private firms can together arrange for more such exhibitions in the city.
Simon Chung, Kwun Tong
Pan-democrats need lesson on picking battles
It is high time the pan-democrats displayed a bit of sense over picking their battles.
Though our new high-speed express rail link is an over-budget white elephant, it is done and built now, and Hong Kong people want it to be as efficient and convenient as possible. So there is no point opposing checkpoint co-location – which most Hong Kong people support for the sake of convenience.
Following the experience of the abducted Hong Kong book sellers, and mainland nationals whisked out of the Four Seasons, Hong Kong people correctly judge that the presence or absence of mainland immigration officials at the high-speed rain terminus makes no difference to their personal security. Time to move on.
The same can be said for electoral reform. The 2014 proposal is the best offer Beijing is going to make, and it is better than what we have now. The pan-democrats should stop dreaming that the Xi Jinping regime is suddenly going to have a rethink about allowing the opposition a bigger voice. Better for them to spend their energy on fighting for something where they may have some chance of making a difference. Accept the 2014 package and move on.
What is worth fighting against is mandatory national brainwashing, which the majority of Hong Kong people clearly oppose. The national education plan justifiably frightens people as it smacks of Big Brother at its worst and is the antithesis of the two systems part of “one country, two systems”.
Even here, however, if national education is eventually rammed down Hong Kong’s throat, the pan-democrats should aim for a small victory: at least insist that Tiananmen is taught in full detail. This would serve as a useful reality check for naive, separatist youth that the Communist Party tolerates no challenges to its authority.
Keith Noyes, Clear Water Bay
For an easy life, phone apps are the way to pay
As technology makes life more convenient, the way people pay has also changed. Applications like Apple Pay and Alipay have already become popular alternative payment methods, and they have dozens of advantages.
First is convenience. Users do not need to bring cash when dining or shopping, which means there are no limits to their choices.
With these payment apps, they do not have to wait in line at the ATMs, which saves a lot of time. No more remembering passwords to withdraw cash, or counting it out at checkouts or when settling bills.
These payment apps are also more accurate, as the bill up to the last cent can be settled immediately. No more struggling with loose change or getting the amount wrong. The process of finishing a payment is made so much smoother.
Cindy Wong, Tseung Kwan O
Now stuck in cashless rut with Octopus
Hong Kong lags behind the mainland in becoming a cashless society, as it has stopped exploring this area since the popular Octopus card was launched two decades back.
Cashless payments in Hong Kong are not promoted enough, compared to other Asian cities. WeChat Pay, one of the most popular e-payment platforms in mainland China, has been intensively promoted by the government there.
Almost all shops and markets on the mainland, not to mention chain stores, accept this mode of payments.
Even some beggars reportedly use QR code printouts so that people can donate to them via the payment apps.
In Hong Kong, we are just stuck with the Octopus card.
The government should create more opportunities for cashless payment platforms to gain popularity. Persuading more shop owners to accept such payments and promoting them in different mass media would be good steps towards creating a cashless city.
We should lead on new technology, not just follow.
Mandy Li Minying, Kowloon Tong