Would you spend HK$50,000 on a set of English learning books?

July 16, 2015 16:16
A visitor surnamed Lam (inset) spent HK$50,000 on two editions of the Oxford Path English language learning materials for her seven-month-old niece at the Hong Kong Book Fair. Photos: GovHK, Apple Daily

How much would you spend on books to encourage your children to learn English?

Some parents won't hesitate to purchase a package of English learning materials worth HK$50,000 at the Hong Kong Book Fair which opened at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre on Wednesday, according to Apple Daily.

A mother surnamed Yeung paid around that much for Disney’s World of English, a video package of learning materials that makes use of loveable cartoon characters to facilitate a young child's acquisition of English language proficiency.

She said she wants her child, now just a month old, to start early in learning English and building up her confidence in the language.

"The materials are expensive, but they're worth it," Yeung told the newspaper.

Another visitor to the annual fair, surnamed Lam, also forked over about the same amount for two Oxford Path packages, story-based English learning materials catering for pre-schoolers up to 12-year-olds.

She said she'll give them to her seven-month-old niece so that she can cultivate her reading habit even at a tender age.

Before buying the two sets, Lam said she went through a lot of reviews of children's books online, and decided that Oxford Path would be the best for her niece because it's highly interactive.

Legislator Claudia Mo, who has published several books on English learning, said she opposes the practice of buying very expensive English learning materials.

She said what's best is for parents to have the time, devotion and patience to arouse their children's interest in learning the language.

Mo said making good use of examples from daily life is more effective than spending huge amounts to buy learning materials.

Meanwhile, some parents chose to plonk their money down on exercise books for their children.

A brother and a sister, surnamed Chan, opened a suitcase full of exercise manuals and storybooks that their parents bought for them.

The problem, the siblings said, is that they don't particularly like physical exertions.

A six-year-old girl surnamed Lau said she likes picking her own books, and showed off her latest collection of Chinese and English storybooks.

There's also a big demand for books about last year's Umbrella Movement.

Martin, a photographer, is selling a photo album containing about 300 pictures of the pro-democracy protests.

He said he didn't take any political stand while recording the momentous developments in Hong Kong's streets.

His photo album includes a stirring picture of police officers protecting a bunch of young protesters from an agitated pro-establishment crowd.

Another book on sale at the fair was written by a former policeman as a tribute to the officers who were assigned to handle the protests. 

The book appears to have only a few takers.

-- Contact us at [email protected]


EJ Insight intern reporter