Blaming the US for Iraq fuels the terrorist cause
What a wonderful solution to the terrorist threat - withdraw, concede they have beaten us, and the free world will cower behind its fortress walls ('Pull troops from Iraq', July 25).
That would leave the oppressed peoples of the world to sort out their own problems. What wonderful slaughter that would bring - what absolute and dangerous nonsense!
The only solution is for the free world to realise that Iraq is the problem that we must all help to resolve. That means France, Germany, Russia, China, Canada and others sending contingents to Iraq now and neighbours like Syria clamping down hard on all supporters of this brutal insurgency to ensure the coalition forces defeat the terrorists on their home ground.
This would give the Iraqis the peace they deserve, and show the forces that mean to destroy us that we are all in this together, and they can never win. Let's stop this nonsense of blaming everything on the US and fuelling the terrorist cause even more.
G. TO, Mid-Levels
Forgive, don't hate
I was touched by the mother whose boy was killed in the bombings ('Mother who lost her son in blasts offers forgiveness instead of hatred', July 25).
She said: 'Hatred begets only hatred. It is time to stop this vicious circle of killing.' That is right. If everyone's heart is filled with hatred and revenge, when will the killing stop? If she can forgive, why can't we?
On the other hand, I cannot imagine that UK police will keep their shoot-to-kill policy ('UK police will shoot to kill despite slaying wrong man', July 25). When they do not get enough evidence to prove that someone is a suicide bomber, they should not kill him. If they really suspected Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes, they could have shot at his legs to stop him.
Why did they have to shoot him in the head? They said he refused to obey instructions. Perhaps he was frightened and did not know what to do. He simply ran. How many innocents will be killed wrongly?
It is useless to blame anyone now. Forgiveness can bring us peace. I hope that peace will come one day.
KWAN HOI-TING, Tsing Yi
Costly health plan
I might have been surprised that Bernard Chan praised the consultation document on health reform ('The right course for health care', July 22), except that he is a member of the Executive Council, which must have let the document pass.
He also represents the insurance sector, which will surely benefit in having a role to play in the suggested changes. What does surprise me is that a document which fails to give any indication of costing could receive such fulsome praise. Does the welfare sector, of which Mr Chan is chairman, share his views? It seems to me that there are unrealistic expectations of Hong Kong families in the document and a lack of awareness, in Mr Chan's review, of the significant shift of the cost burden to the elderly, the chronically sick and disabled, and their families. The document is simply a compilation of problems and hopes, without a responsible attempt to cost these so that the public can comment intelligently.
It gives the impression that the government spends a higher percentage of income on health than other developed cities. This is untrue.
Mr Chan might help Hong Kong families if he can persuade his colleagues in the insurance sector to provide adequate cover for chronic sickness at a reasonable cost, and if he can advise the government on a health insurance scheme that might offset the potentially huge costs to people resulting from the proposals in the health 'reform' document.
W. T. MAH, Wan Chai
Wealth gap will grow
I am in full agreement with David Chappell in his letter 'Wide basis for school aid' (Sunday Morning Post, July 24). In a perfect society, all would receive an education which maximised their full potential regardless of family or personal financial circumstances. But I have lived here long enough to know that this is far from a perfect society.
Civil service education allowances have considerably benefited Hong Kong, allowing for a large group of people to receive a quality education and bring valuable skills to society. Many recipients can be found in the ranks of the most influential. The other reality of the scheme has been the degree of upward mobility and increased affluence it has allowed among ordinary families.
When the allowances are abolished, I doubt that the administration will introduce anything of comparable benefit to a significant proportion of this city's ordinary citizens, and the wealth gap will continue to grow.
PAUL MOUNSEY, Mid-Levels
Equal education for all
I agree with columnist Alex Lo that 'Most people master language by diving off the deep end when they are still young - by immersion' ('Going against nature', July 21).
But Lo's other arguments reveal little understanding of the inherited problems. Tung Chee-hwa has been blamed for many misfortunes that existed before 1997. Lo blames him for 'the introduction of mother-tongue teaching'. In fact, the drive for mother-tongue teaching began a few years after universal free education was introduced in 1972-8. Mr Tung merely implemented what had already been decided and introduced in some schools before 1997.
A little more investigation would have revealed that free secondary education (1978) exposed a huge gap between the rich, who sent their children to expensive kindergartens and primary schools, where they were drilled in English, Chinese and mathematics taught by well-trained teachers, and poorer families, who had to opt for the cheapest education. By the time the children reached Primary Six, the education of rich and poor was, in most schools, miles apart in English, Chinese and mathematics.
Since most secondary schools pleased parents by using English as the medium of teaching, the poorly taught primary children were totally unable to cope with English textbooks. Behaviour then became a problem for many rebellious children, and triads recruited in these schools.
The only real solution is to adopt the long-term aim of equal education for all children, from kindergarten to Primary Six. We must go to the root of the problem, not merely put patches on the system. The Education and Manpower Bureau is on the right track, but much remains to be done.
ELSIE TU, Kwun Tong
Hypocrisy over dogs
I am glad to see the issue of Disney's hypocrisy towards the dogs on its Penny's Bay construction site being taken seriously ('Disney calls in dog catchers, sending 40 to their deaths', July 25).
Disney has made a great deal of money from the fictional portrayal of dogs and other animals. But when it comes to the real thing, Disney is happy to destroy dogs when their usefulness has ended. The stray dogs are used as free guard dogs by the construction companies. In other countries such companies employ specialist security dogs. In Hong Kong the same companies prefer to use dogs bred from strays. The dogs receive the minimum of food and no medical care, and as they are unspayed, they produce several litters of puppies per year. Some puppies are kept as guard dogs, the rest destroyed.
Disney cannot wave a magic wand to bring these animals back to life, but other dogs can be saved. If the companies do not want to pay for specialised guard dogs, I suggest that they keep their own pool of dogs, healthy and neutered. When a construction site is completed, the dogs - and their handlers - can be moved on to the next site. This way, there would be no dogs being put to death, and those who care for the animals will have full-time employment. Disney may also care to donate to the animal rescue organisations which are now finding homes for discarded 'Disney dogs'.
JOHN ELPHINSTONE, Central