Letters to the Editor, November 8, 2017
New Chinese history course is not needed
I wonder if the compulsory Chinese history subject for junior secondary schools, as announced by the chief executive in her policy address last month, is really necessary.
This could create an imbalance in the syllabus and a needless overlap. Over 80 per cent of Hong Kong’s secondary schools already have Chinese history in their history and humanities courses. Given the crowded syllabus and tight schedule, I do not see how they can accommodate Chinese history as a separate and compulsory subject.
In order to make this possible, they might have to shelve some important subjects, such as general history or geography.
This will make it more difficult for pupils to broaden their horizons.
I am also not happy about plans to focus less on China’s dynasties and more on the modern history of the country.
It may raise concerns among some citizens of brainwashing. Or it could simply be a case of teachers not having enough time to look at events in depth and oversimplifying them.
If this happens, pupils cannot possibly have a thorough understanding of this subject.
The way history is dealt with in the present syllabus is effective. There is really no need to introduce an independent compulsory Chinese history course.
Karen Chan, Hang Hau
Waste charge should aim to cut packaging
I refer to your editorial (“Waste disposal fee an investment in Hong Kong’s future”, October 31) on the proposed charge for rubbish collection.
You say such charges for households and businesses are appropriate, as they are based on the concept of “polluter pays”.
I would suggest that this is an inaccurate description of households and even many businesses, because they are not the producers of the ever-increasing amounts of rubbish.
They are simply end users who have run out of someone else to pass it on to. No one I know wants to be forced to purchase four peaches in heavy plastic, but the supermarkets give shoppers no choice.
The consumer is often unable to buy certain products without the excessive packaging. Others have made a profit on manufacturing the packaging, but these companies are allowed to foist their products on us and they face no charges.
If the government was really serious about making polluters pay, it would impose a charge on the import of plastic and other packaging.
Then, not only would the true polluters have to pay, we might see the volume of plastic and other packaging in Hong Kong decrease to more reasonable levels.
Otherwise, this polluter pays ploy is merely linguistic sleight of hand designed to make consumers/end users believe they are to blame, while letting the real culprits off the hook.
Joy Al-Sofi, Sai Kung
Interactive gyms will offer a fun workout
Too many people in Hong Kong prefer to play video games rather than exercise. I think this may be in part because the fitness rooms operated by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) are a bit dull.
However, there is now a way to make them interesting and get more people to work out. The Pure Fitness gym at Quarry Bay is trying out an exercise bike which links the user pedalling with Nintendo’s Mario Kart video game series.
Having video games linked to exercise equipment like this could certainly make the normally boring atmosphere in LCSD gyms more interesting.
It would be great if citizens were able to combine their passion for popular online video games with workout sessions, and in the process find an enjoyable way to get fitter.
Michael Ke, Tseung Kwan O
Happy that tax dodgers have been exposed
I am glad that so many financial documents (known as the Paradise Papers) have been leaked, revealing how rich and famous people around the world have been avoiding taxes through their offshore investments.
These latest revelations are similar to the earlier Panama Papers, showing how offshore tax havens are used by these people, including top politicians and celebrities, to try and reduce their exposure to tax.
I think the public is keen to know the full details about the tactics that these individuals employ, and the truth is finally coming out.
Spencer Lee Hiu-ming, Sau Mau Ping
Best to develop healthy eating habits early
I recently watched a video on YouTube featuring English celebrity chef Jamie Oliver as part of his series called Food Revolution.
He was trying to improve the bad diets of so many Americans. In the episode I watched, Oliver focused on Huntington, West Virginia, which has been dubbed the unhealthiest city in America because so many of its citizens are obese.
He tried to educate students to eat healthier food, get more exercise and think about the consequences of eating too much junk food.
I think this is advice that many youngsters in Hong Kong should heed as well.
They have such a heavy workload at school that, in the evenings, they will often rush their meals or resort to junk food, so they can spend more time on their studies.
This is not good for them and they need to adopt healthy habits while they are young, such as ensuring a balanced diet, and stick with them throughout their lives.
In addition to having a healthy diet, they must also get more exercise.
Kaka Lau, Tseung Kwan O