Exercise Mandates in Schools: A Vital Shift in Approach
Chu Kwok-keung, the lawmaker representing the education constituency, argues against the efficacy of enforcing one hour of daily exercise for students as a panacea for the mental health crisis gripping students in Hong Kong ("Hong Kong should enforce guidelines on pupil exercise time at school, mental health advisory head says", January 14). However, his stance overlooks the well-documented benefits of physical activity on mental well-being.
The Education Bureau underscores physical education as integral to holistic learning, recommending 5 to 8 percent of lesson time be dedicated to physical activities. Schools, entrusted with nurturing healthy lifestyles, bear the responsibility of providing ample exercise opportunities, notwithstanding homework demands.
Numerous studies link exercise to improved resilience, heightened self-esteem, and reduced academic burnout. Yet, as screens increasingly dominate students' leisure time, motivating them to prioritize exercise becomes imperative. Moreover, outdoor activities offer a respite from the myopia epidemic plaguing Hong Kong's youth, exacerbated by prolonged screen exposure.
As a parent, I empathize with the pressures of academia. While I advocate for reduced homework, I implore schools to adhere to mandated exercise quotas, exploring innovative avenues to integrate physical activity seamlessly into curricula. Dr. Lam Ching-choi's Advisory Committee on Mental Health could pivot from enforcement to fostering a culture of encouragement, thus fostering holistic student well-being.
Samuel Mak, Part-time Student, Master of Public Health, University of Hong Kong
Messi's Honour: A Reflection on Superstar Responsibility
The recent controversy surrounding Lionel Messi's absence from a highly anticipated match in Hong Kong raises pertinent questions not only about contractual obligations but also about the essence of honour in sportsmanship.
Every athlete, especially those of Messi's stature, bears a moral duty to uphold the integrity of the sport, honor their team commitments, respect referees, and above all, acknowledge the unwavering support of fans. To neglect these tenets and shroud one's absence in silence reflects a grave disservice to the spirit of sportsmanship.
The disillusionment felt by young fans underscores the profound impact of such actions on impressionable minds. If elite athletes normalize absenteeism without accountability, we risk fostering a culture of apathy among future generations, undermining the very essence of sportsmanship.
In essence, honour in sports transcends individual prowess; it embodies the values of integrity, accountability, and respect for the game and its supporters. As we navigate the aftermath of Messi's absence, let us reaffirm our commitment to nurturing a sporting culture rooted in dignity and accountability.