Letters to the editor in 2009

I did a search of the SCMP, South China Morning Post, and found out that I had 6 letters to the editor published in 2009. They are on a variety of topics from where I live, Discovery Bay, Drug Testing in schools, Teacher-Student ratios in primary and secondary schools, Recognizing local artists, Disneyland and the HK Government. I reproduce them here for my New Year’s post.

(6) Tuesday, 27 Oct 2009 SCMP
Residents just love to complain

Discovery Bay residents simply love to complain. They complain about the ParknShop prices even though it is obvious the prices are the same here as at other ParknShops. The current Fusion offers a wide variety of European, North American, Latin American, Japanese, Korean and other goods that are not readily available at most ParknShops in the city.

Few customers seem to realise how much trouble is taken to provide them with what they like. They complain about sky-high bus fares. Can you imagine having to pay HK$4 for a bus ride? It is just too shocking. The hire-car is HK$15, so let’s complain. The buses are too noisy. Let’s complain. The swimming pool closes too early. Let’s complain. They complain they can’t have a car. They complain there are too many or too few or it is not convenient, or something. I like Discovery Bay. It is well-managed, convenient, clean and quiet and has many trees, and flowers and pleasant walks are abundant. People who live in Discovery Bay simply love to complain though. Have you heard the new hotel, that it is wasteful, will never have any customers and the few it will have are likely to be bad characters? And, let’s complain.

Bill Proudfit, Discovery Bay

(5) Monday, 14 Sept 2009 SCMP
Drug tests send wrong message

The school drug testing programme is absurd. The time, effort and resources should be put into drug education and counselling. Chasing after students to invade their privacy only teaches them that they have no civil rights. Students who refuse these tests are less likely to be drug-users but are more likely to be students who understand something about freedom.

Some casual drug use is going to happen among students. They need to know the risks and have help available to them. Drug testing is only teaching students the risk is being caught. The chief executive started this absurd campaign and it is time he stopped it. It is yet another example of his disdain for human rights in Hong Kong.

Bill Proudfit, Discovery Bay

(4) Friday, 21 Aug 2009 SCMP
A good way to foster contempt

Drug testing has been tried in other parts of the world and it does not have a significant impact on reducing drug abuse. I wonder if Eugene K. K. Chan, vice-chairman of the Association of Hong Kong Professionals (‘We must act to curb youth drug problem in HK’, August 14) would be in favour of the scheme if it were being piloted in the top-tier Anglo-Chinese schools? Does Angela Chong, of Macau, want to live in a society where she can be searched on suspicion of any crime (‘Nothing wrong with testing’, August 14)? In both cases, I think the answer would be ‘no’. If it is happening to ‘someone else’, it will be okay.

Drug testing of students is likely to result in a student testing positive because of doctor-prescribed medication. They will probably learn how to circumvent the tests. Drug abuse education should be a priority. Students will be pressured into this ‘voluntary’ testing scheme by teachers, school administrators, parents and fellow students.

Testing will not reduce drug abuse but it will lessen students’ respect for authority and confirm there is little respect for human rights in Hong Kong. This is a poor lesson to teach our young people.

William Proudfit, Discovery Bay

(3) Wednesday, 20 May 2009 SCMP
Cut class sizes to raise standards

I refer to the article by Anthony Cheung Bing-leung (‘Smartest export’, May 12). He asks if Hong Kong has ‘a knowledge-rich environment, and a free-thinking, inquisitive and creative ambience that should form the basis of a vibrant education hub’.

As is normal in education plans and policy in Hong Kong his emphasis is on tertiary education. Hong Kong will never achieve [such an environment] unless it reduces the primary-level class sizes to 20 and the secondary-level class sizes to 25 and increases the number of native English-speaking teachers in every primary and secondary school by a factor of five.

Bill Proudfit, Discovery Bay

(2) Wednesday, 22 April 2009 SCMP
How can the King of Kowloon’s calligraphy be saved?

A Home Affairs Bureau spokesman has declined to comment on the artistic value of ‘King of Kowloon‘ Tsang Tsou-choi’s street calligraphy, even though his work was exhibited at the Venice Biennale and adopted by designers as an iconic image of Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong government has no vision and no ability to recognise talent or acknowledge what Hong Kong people value and respect as creative expression. They are willing to spend millions on an art complex and contract out art education to schools with credentials that have been questioned. There really is no hope for art in Hong Kong.

William Proudfit, Discovery Bay

(1) Wednesday, 1 April 2009 SCMP
Do not meddle

I refer to the report (”HK will not bow to Disney pressure’,’ March 23). Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Rita Lau Ng Wai-lan said negotiations with Disney on the designs for its expansion had not reached the final stages. She said the government needed to know what the new attractions would be and whether they ‘would fit the market’s appetite’. This is the essence of the problem.

The Hong Kong government is not staffed by amusement park operators.

The administration has got involved in the day-to-day running of a theme park and this will not work. The government’s interest in Hong Kong Disneyland should be a passive investment. Officials should have nothing to do with vetting attractions like Disneyland and trying to gauge the market. They will never do this well. We only need to remember the West Kowloon arts complex fiasco.

William Proudfit, Discovery Bay

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