Letters to the Editor, January 26, 2018
Smartphone users selfish pedestrians
Suffering a slipped disc, I am not permanently disabled. But as I move very slowly about town with the aid of a stick, I am painfully aware of the many hazards the permanently disabled and elderly have to face on a daily basis. Not least the heads-down smartphone brigade cleaving their way through the crowded streets expecting ordinary mortals to move out of the way.
They can bump into you on pedestrian crossings, barging into the MTR as soon as the doors open still staring at their screens.
I have lost my stick a couple of times in these incidents with no help to retrieve it. I too have a smartphone but never use it while I am in motion.
I will recover in due course, but so many have to live with a permanent disability and they are entitled to have as normal a life as possible like the rest of us.
Please look up from time to time smartphone walkers, better still, wait until you are stationary.
Norman de Brackinghe, Pok Fu Lam
E-learning can ease problem of heavy bags
I agree with correspondents who say that it is extremely detrimental to the physical health of primary schoolchildren for them to have to carry overweight bags every day to and from school.
However, I am not sure about the calls for all primary schools to be fitted with lockers. I think the most sustainable solution to this problem is to expand e-learning.
The use of electronic teaching materials in primary and secondary schools is becoming more prevalent, and having more e-books and the necessary devices for each pupil in primary classrooms can certainly ease the physical burden faced by these children.
If necessary the government should offer subsidies to textbook publishers to transfer material online. This means that instead of lugging home heavy books, pupils will having nothing heavier than an iPad in the bag when they go home.
All homework and assignments can be transferred online by teachers so that pupils can do these assignments at home on their computers.
Some school heads appear to be reluctant to make the necessary changes, but it can make a real difference to the lives of these young pupils.
The health risks posed to young children from carrying these heavy weights every day are well known, including conditions like scoliosis, which can become chronic.
There is no need for children to suffer from such conditions and when a solution is so easily available it should be adopted by all schools and the necessary support should be given by the Education Bureau.
This is an ongoing problem that we cannot ignore. If necessary, the bureau should offer subsidies so that schools can buy the online material they need.
Scarlet Poon, Hung Hom
More subsidies needed for kids in rural areas
The problem of children dropping out of school in rural areas of China is a serious problem that has been widely reported.
Children are the future of any society and it is important that they get a decent education. Especially in rural areas they can only escape intergenerational poverty if they get a proper education. Without schooling their prospects are bleak and they face a life of poverty.
The central government must offer additional subsidies to students in rural areas. And it must make sure these subsidies get to the children rather than what happened in the past when the money ended up in the pockets of corrupt officials.
It is also important that the government gets the message of the importance of education for their children across to parents in poor rural areas. The entrance exam system must be changed, because at the moment it is more difficult for candidates from rural areas to get a place at a university than children from cities and towns.
Jessica Tsui Kit-lam, Kwai Tsing
Pupils will gain so much from overseas trips
I agree with correspondents who have said that more local school pupils should be going on overseas trips, including exchange visits. This can enable them to develop and consolidate their social skills and help them appreciate the importance of the global community.
When they study in other parts of the world these youngsters are able, through the experiences they have, to step outside their comfort zone.
While this can be a culture shock it is also beneficial as these enriched life experiences will inevitably help them to broaden their horizons.
I hope local schools can offer their pupils more opportunities to study abroad.
Jessica Liang, Yau Yat Chuen
Confusion over new rules on paper recycling
With the mainland authorities restricting imports of waste for recycling, the Environmental Protection Department has said that some paper (for example, magazines) should no longer be deposited in recycling bins.
Only cardboard, newspapers and office paper are now accepted. This will confuse some people who may not be clear about what they can and cannot put into the paper recycling bins.
This is a radical policy change and there is a real need for a far more comprehensive publicity campaign by the department, including talks in schools. It must ensure that citizens are clear about the new rules for recycled paper and plastic, with only two types of plastic now accepted for recycling – containers for beverages and personal care products.
I am concerned about the wider applications of this policy change by mainland authorities. A lot more paper will not make it to recycling bins. Instead it will be thrown into landfills which are already nearing capacity.
Liz Chan-wing, Tseung Kwan O