Letters to the Editor, February 12, 2018

PUBLISHED : Monday, 12 February, 2018, 5:15pm
UPDATED : Monday, 12 February, 2018, 5:15pm

Advance notice on flu closures would help

I refer to your report about parents caught unawares when schools closed early last week for the Lunar New Year holiday (“Hong Kong parents take children to school ­despite classes being cancelled amid flu fears”, February 8).

The government, in a bid to prevent the transmission of viral ­influenza, decided to close kindergartens, primary and special needs schools early. I think it did the right thing, considering the health of the young students. It took note of the severity of the flu outbreak and took action.

However, since the announcement came just the day before its implementation, many working parents did not have time to make alternative arrangements for their children during the day. That is why many took pupils to school anyway, and also expressed their displeasure at the short notice.

Schools were also caught on the wrong foot with regard to scheduled tests and lesson plans.

The flu situation had been worrisome for a while. If the government announcement had come earlier, both schools and parents may have been better prepared. And, until schools closed, pupils could have worn face masks and been supervised to maintain strict hygiene. Schools could have also stepped up disinfecting procedures to prevent the spread of the virus.

Debbie Lau, Kwai Chung

New frog with wanderlust hits close to home

The new smartphone game Travel Frog (“Tabi Kaeru” in Japanese), has taken Hong Kong, as well as mainland China, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia, by storm. Developed by Japanese company Hit-Point – makers of the hit 2014 cat-collecting game, “Neko Atsume” – the frog with wanderlust was downloaded by millions within just a few weeks of its ­release.

Many young people in Hong Kong have downloaded the game and can’t stop playing. But why has the game become so popular?

I think it is because of the easy rules, despite being only offered in Japanese.

There are two scenes for players to handle, inside and outside the frog’s hut. Players just need to provide the frog with resources for going out on a trip, such as buying them snacks or a tent.

After wandering about for hours or even days, the frog comes back with souvenirs and photos. The goal is to equip the frog for his trips and collect what he brings back. Many users find the slow pace healing and comforting.

However, Hong Kong parents might find that they have been playing “Travel Frog” for years. It is because they have been raising “the frog” for many years.

For them, this frog, who they have to provide resources to and send out into the world, and then wait for them to return, represents their children. The game teaches us not to worry about a child who may prefer to always stay at home. When they do want to leave, they will do so on their own; all that parents can do is make sure they have what they need. Also, as the frog cannot be controlled by the player, the game teaches us that everyone has to be ­allowed to seek and find their own path in life.

I hope that teenagers who play the game, and wait for their virtual frog to return from its travels, will understand a little more about how their parents feel about them, and try to spend a little more time with them.

Kristy Lee, Hung Hom

Mandarin test debate shows need for clarity

I refer to the article by Alex Lo on the debate over the Mandarin language test at Baptist University (“Students the real losers in language spat”, January 26). Mr Lo says the controversy is part of larger localist battle against “real or perceived mainland ­incursion” and the students are hurting their education and career prospects.

Mandarin is, by all accounts, becoming ever more important around the globe. Chinese today are richer than ever before and ­often travel overseas, and some set up businesses there.

People will definitely meet and interact with Chinese professionals, whether in the workplace or during travel. Thus, it is important to equip ourselves with fluency in basic Mandarin.

I do not support the methods used by the protesters at Baptist, especially student union president Lau Tsz-kei. Using foul language is no way to make your views known, especially as a student leader and even a future pillar of society. However, I agree with those who have called for greater transparency in assessing the Mandarin proficiency test – passing which will allow students to be ­exempted from a three-credit course they need to graduate – after 70 per cent of those who took the test failed.

This way, not only will the students’ worries be eased, but they can also refer to the common mistakes of past students when they study for the exemption test.

This issue is undeniably controversial, and its effects can be far-reaching. Thus, under no circumstances should we overlook its influence on sentiments among students and in society.

Eunice Cheng, Tsuen Wan

Belief in racial stereotypes is hardly modern

I refer to your article on racism in our city (“Where do you stand in racist Hong Kong? January 15).

Hong Kong is a modern, international city, and people from different parts of the world visit us or emigrate here. It is really old-fashioned for such a city to still ­believe in stereotypes about people from a certain country or region.

I’m sure no one here wants to be judged on the basis of their being a Hongkonger or Chinese. We might not understand or know about all other cultures, but we can definitely respect them.

Jenna So, Kwai Chung