LETTER TO SCMP:
There's no need for the kerfuffle over use of simplified characters in Hong Kong. (Alex Lo and Paul Stapleton, recently).
I learnt Chinese as an adult, first in Beijing in the mid 1970s. Being Beijing, I was taught simplified characters. In later full-time study in Hong Kong I learnt the traditional forms. I found this a pretty straightforward process.
What is rarely mentioned by commenters is this: that simplified characters are most often derived from a cursive version of the traditional. For example: 言 (yan) is written cursively as 讠. This character is also a common radical, so it is a part of many characters. In one stroke (as it were) you've learnt both forms of hundreds of characters.
Learning a few basic rules for the connection between simplified and traditional characters allows anyone to be literate in both. In short order.
By the way, if there's a sensible order in which to learn, it's simplified then traditional: walk before you run. (Though it's no big drama if it's the other way around).
Take it from me: if I can learn both simplified and traditional forms of Chinese characters anyone can!
9 Siena One