Letters to the Editor, January 27, 2018

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 27 January, 2018, 9:01am
UPDATED : Saturday, 27 January, 2018, 9:01am

University dreams dashed by rigid rules

The minimum requirement for entry to undergraduate courses for Hong Kong students sitting the Diploma of Secondary ­Examination (DSE) is level 3 in Chinese and English, and level 2 in liberal studies and maths. This puts great pressure on students. If an applicant falls short in one of these subjects, his or her university dreams are dashed, even if they do well in the other subjects.

Moreover, Chinese is one of the greatest nightmares for students, as it is very difficult to get a passing grade. This makes our students, especially those lacking a knack for Chinese literature, struggle to get a university place. Thanks to these rigid ­requirements, a Chinese tutor can earn HK$35 million a year.

University faculties, especially engineering and science, are also victims of this inflexible requirement. The red line makes students sacrifice the time they spend on elective subjects, which is not good news for these faculties. Even the president of the Academy of Sciences, Tsui Lap-chee, has said engineering and science faculties have difficulties in enrolling students with a sound foundation in science and advanced mathematics, as the graduates have to put greater effort into core language subjects rather than the elective ones.

I believe there are two ways to solve this problem. First, the requirement for the Chinese core subject should be lowered. The current rule unnecessarily bars many talented youngsters from studying in university.

As for English, other qualifications like TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language( and IELTS (International English Language Testing System) should also be accepted for Jupas (Joint University Programmes Admissions System) admission. These qualifications are accepted for admissions under non-Jupas schemes. So why can’t Jupas applicants have a similar option?

Our students should not fail to enter university just because they failed one core subject in the DSE, especially when the subject does nothing for their achievement in college. I urge universities to improve the flexibility of Jupas admissions.

Henry Wong, Kennedy Town

Try healthy eating to keep disease at bay

I refer to reports that teenagers in Hong Kong don’t get enough fruit, vegetables or exercise, and risk strokes in later life.

Hong Kong students have to suffer a lot of pressure. But to learn that this may cause life-threatening conditions is ­heartbreaking.

There are many ways to deal with these issues; but first, it is ­important to face the problem.

Students should be made aware of healthy diet and lifestyle choices, and how they will influence their health later in life. They must also understand that they are not alone as they try to battle stress, whether school-related or otherwise.

Children should be helped to learn some good habits and use them to relieve stress.

Cheng Sin-hei, Tseung Kwan O

School does not have to be a place of dread

I refer to the letter from Eiman Arif on teenage suicides (“Family support can really help troubled teens”, January 14).

Your correspondent focuses on school counsellors and emotional support. I believe a major reason teenagers suffer from ­depression and stress is the lack of love from the family. The busy work schedules of parents leave youngsters with no one to talk to or receive support from.

They may end up feeling sad and insecure, and suffer from low self-esteem. If they cannot find any meaning in life, some of them may believe that death is the only solution.

Academic pressure is also largely to blame. Busy school days and tutorial classes leaves students exhausted. The high expectations of teachers and parents also make some teens nervous and anxious. They think they are useless for being unable to meet expectations and may choose to end it all.

I suggest that lessons be made more relaxing and enjoyable. Also, schools could set aside some time for students to relax after lessons. Plus, they should minimise the quantity of tests and homework.

Maybe in classes like moral education, students could also be given the opportunity to write down their feelings on a piece of paper, in order to give them a platform to express themselves and ensure that teachers have a better understanding of their emotional situation.

Melisse Lee, Sham Tseng

Diners need to show they care about society

Food waste is a major problem in more prosperous societies, such as Hong Kong.

Many diners will order more food than they can finish, and only a few think about taking away leftovers, just leaving them on their plates to be dumped in rubbish bins instead.

With overflowing landfills, and poor people going hungry, we have to be more responsible when we eat out, and order only what we can consume.

Sisca Chan, Tseung Kwan O

Trump made valid point on immigration

The virtue signalling over US President Donald Trump’s comments about dysfunctional states is becoming nauseating.

The fact is Trump is making a perfectly valid point: why is the US prioritising importing immigrants from failed states (such as Haiti) over states with which the US shares a cultural and religious connection (Norway)?

This question is unpalatable for European leaders to ask, even though every poll available shows that Europeans are sick and tired of the European Union’s immigration policies.

One can actually see that the rise of nationalism in Europe is a direct result of EU immigration policies but, instead of dealing with this problem, European leaders are happier to ridicule Trump for comments he makes that most people agree with.

It may shock some readers, but most people do not care about offence, that is why the Left cannot understand how women and Latinos voted for Trump in the 2016 presidential elections. Most people in the US don’t care if people from Haiti are offended by Trump’s comments, they care more about ­immigration policies that prioritise people from failed states to enter America, over immigrants from safe, stable states.

Dermot Cooper, Causeway Bay

Light pollution is a blight on urban living

Hong Kong is among the world’s worst cities for light pollution, with commercial and residential areas like Mong Kok, Tsim Sha Tsui and Causeway Bay the worst affected. Thanks to the spotlights and LED billboards, Hong Kong’s sky is many times brighter than that of other cities.

Light pollution adversely ­affects life in many ways in Hong Kong.

First, excessive lighting can disrupt the biological clock of humans and affect brain function. Second, in areas of heavily mixed residential ­development, like Mong Kok and Sham Shui Po, some residents may have trouble sleeping, as strong neon lights stream into their bedrooms, with the neighbourhood lit up like a football stadium.

Kathy Li, Tseung Kwan O