Q Are young Hongkongers becoming more superstitious?
It's indicative of some people's increasing narrow-mindedness that when faced with a situation of negative relationships between peers or co-workers, many prefer to follow superstition, wasting money to curse and hex those they have problems with, rather than tackling the issue head-on to resolve the problem rationally and realistically. Instead of trying to seek a practical solution to the problem, they seek to compound the issue further and pour greater negativity into the situation.
Isn't it about time that Hong Kong people decreased their belief in superstition and old-wives' tales and woke up to reality? Hopefully we may no longer need to read about victims robbed of their valuables and money in superstitious street scams, or naive women duped into having sex with fung shui wizards to ward off bad luck.
If people took bigger steps to solve personal issues actively, instead of seeking ways to escape them, perhaps one day we may live in a Hong Kong where people don't consider suicide a solution to problems?
David Tang, Causeway Bay
Q Should all corporal punishment of children be banned?
The recent death of two children has shocked society by demonstrating corporal punishment can get out of hand. The parents might start off believing they were just correcting the children's bad conduct, but end up showing how tragic the result can be.
Some parents argue that their children perform well after corporal punishment. They believe the right amount of corporal punishment can teach a child to behave.
However, seldom do they really dwell on how much will become too much. The end does not justify the means. Have you ever asked your children how they felt when they were spanked? Studies have shown corporal punishment hurts children physically and psychologically.
Alarmingly, corporal punishment is so prevalent in Hong Kong. In a household survey conducted by myself, about 44 per cent of the parents admitted having administered corporal punishment and physical violence to their children.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child requires states to protect children from all forms of violence, including corporal punishment. The existing law in Hong Kong prohibits teachers from administering corporal punishment to pupils (Cap279A, S58), and prohibits anyone, including parents, from administering corporal punishment to a child in a centre (Cap243A, S15 & S45R).
However, there is no explicit law prohibiting corporal punishment at home. It appears to parents that they have the right to physically punish their children. There is no clear boundary between corporal punishment and child abuse.
Corporal punishment should be banned by law, just like Sweden did in 1979. Since then, at least 15 countries have banned corporal punishment in the community, including at home.
Legislation alone would not be effective in stopping violence against children. Imprisonment is not the ultimate purpose of banning corporal punishment. Sentencing options for prosecuted abusive parents should be expanded to include court-mandated batterers' intervention programmes for abusive parents. Rehabilitation is better than punishment alone. Support for parents is urged to prevent violence through intervention.
Edward Chan Ko-ling, Department of Social Work and Social Administration, University of Hong Kong
On other matters ...
Television programmes often go unappreciated. Most of our parents think television viewing is an unproductive habit and like us to stay away from television.
But is television viewing really a waste of time? I don't think so. I am writing to share a vision of a new goal for watching TV.
Watching television can enhance my language proficiency and knowledge. If I watch television, for instance, geared towards improving language proficiency.
In Hong Kong, the language proficiency of students is falling. The first step in turning the tide is to boost the appetite for language learning.
Watching television can trigger an interest in learning English and widen our horizons.
To keep pace with the changing world, our language must steadily gain ground. Practice is always the key to success in language learning.
By watching TV, we can learn how others speak, think and express themselves using English. No matter what kinds of TV programme you opt for, even cartoons can help enhance your language proficiency.
Anita Ching, North Point
I continue to be puzzled by the attitude of those who would put the health and lives of almost 7 million people at risk so they can sell some chickens.
The statement of the chairman of the Hong Kong Poultry Wholesalers' and Retailers' Association that the imposition of the ban 'would create not only a serious shortage but even a public panic' is self-serving.
People are going to panic because they can't buy a chicken? I don't think so. However, the panic will be very evident the minute the first human victim of bird flu appears in Hong Kong.
I am encouraged by the statements of many people who say that the imposition of the ban is correct. I hope common sense prevails.
Ed Hahn, Central