Talk back

PUBLISHED : Monday, 13 March, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 13 March, 2006, 12:00am

Q Are young Hongkongers becoming more superstitious?

Psychologist Richard Wiseman is finding out how superstitious Britain is through an online survey with the British Association for the Advancement of Science.

The survey, to be held during National Science Week, attempts to understand which people tend to be more superstitious and whether this is linked to a need to control the uncontrollable.

'Most people engage in at least some type of superstitious behaviour, even if it is just saying 'touch wood' or 'fingers crossed',' said Dr Wiseman, 'but it will be fascinating to discover the true extent and depth of these beliefs.'

So, how about Hong Kong? Are young Hongkongers becoming more superstitious?

In my opinion, they are. Why? Nowadays, many young Hongkongers follow their daily horoscopes word for word and they usually read them every day just to check if that day is lucky or not. Most of these daily horoscopes will tell people what they will do and will also give suggestions about it.

And thus most people will follow what it says and they will gradually become superstitious. Also, some people will even go to places where they can get their fortunes told. They will ask many things, such as their future, love, career, school work, etc.

When people lost faith in God, they did not start believing in 'nothing', rather they started believing in 'anything'.

Maybe superstitions are a way of trying to make sense of the world in the absence of a religious faith?

Being more superstitious is a bad trend because I think superstition will make people overdependent on what fortune tellers tell them.

If the augury says you will be rich in the future, maybe after hearing this you will not go to work or earn money because the augury says you will be rich.

Queenie Au

Nowadays, many teenagers go to someone to divine their futures. But are divinations really accurate? I don't think so.

The divinations only predict our futures through cards or even the look on our faces. Then how can the result be accurate?

If that day you are tired, then you will have a bad life, but if that day you are looking fresh, then you will have a good life?

Although the result may not be the truth, there are still many young Hongkongers who resort to these divinations. It costs $50 every time. It is really expensive. But after you know your future, it is not your life.

We need to experience many difficulties in our life. But if you patronise the fortune tellers, then your life will be controlled by what they have said will happen. So I think teenagers are becoming more superstitious.

Monty Yu Cheuk-yin

Most of us might think many of the elderly are very superstitious, always checking for good days on an almanac before making decisions on important matters, and believe celebrations, meetings or other activities held on so-called good days will bring good fortune.

However, many things are changing, including people. Now, many of the young Hongkongers are becoming more superstitious about the horoscope and always buy products with claims that they will bring luck to the owner.

In the old days, most of the young Hongkongers knew the importance of being hardworking, they did not believe in horoscopes. They believed that success would not come without making any effort.

But now many young Hongkongers always want to succeed without putting in any effort. So they start to believe in some illogical things, for example, the horoscopes. Every day, they must open the newspapers and magazines. They do not want to know what has happened in our daily life, they just want to turn to the pages with their horoscope and see whether they will have good luck that day.

Amy Ng Wing-yu

In ancient times, Chinese predicted the future by observing the stars, depending on when you were born or by looking at your facial features. We may think these are unreliable and are so superstitious because what we believe in now are science, research and theories.

Despite the fact we are now in a civilised society, some Hong Kong teenagers are becoming more superstitious. They believe in all kinds of fortune-telling practices, for example tarot card readings. They think those auguries can help them predict their future.

Teenagers, especially young women, are very interested in the horoscope tests in magazines and newspapers to predict when they will fall in love and what type of young men they will meet.

And it is a kind of innocence. Those tests and auguries are completely unreliable. Everyone has his or her own destiny which is controlled by themselves, not by horoscopes. So, for all young Hongkongers, don't be so superstitious anymore, be more scientific and take charge of your own destiny.

Chan Wing-kuk

Q What can be done to improve animal welfare?

Animal abandonment should be an offence punishable by law. However, I also believe that education could play a great part in reducing abandonment.

If the pet is microchipped and the person admits he/she wants to keep the pet, but does not know how to take care of it or train it, then help should be offered free and continued until the pet and owner are both 'trained'.

About five years ago, I found a German shepherd bitch wounded on the highway (near the Arts Centre) leading to the Cross-Harbour Tunnel from the Hong Kong Island side.

She was a beautiful dog and very gentle, but what I didn't know was she had a broken pelvis. To be brief, her owners had left the day before for Canada and had left her with a friend in Wan Chai. A friend with a big heart, but who didn't know a thing about dogs.

The friend was taking her to the pet shop to buy biscuits when she slipped out of her lead. When I found her early in the morning, she was trying to head towards Tsuen Wan, which had been her home.

In this case, the 'new owner' should not be prosecuted, for he was doing his best.

Over the past 20 or so years we have seen a great increase in the number of dogs kept by families, and not only pedigree dogs.

To have a dog is a most wonderful addition to the family, particularly when children are involved.

As Hong Kong families have become more affluent, dogs have become either a member of the family or a prized possession. In most cases it works very well and we have many well-looked-after dogs (quite different from when I arrived in 1965).

But when this is not the case and pets are purchased on a whim and abandoned just as quickly, then a strong message should be delivered.

I recently returned to Hong Kong after an absence of eight years and in this Year of the Dog I really appreciate the coverage you are giving pets!

Well done and please - don't abandon it.

Helen M. Barker

On other matters ...

From my flat I can see The Peak on a good day (rare) and basically nothing on a bad day (often) with a few in-between days. Today, I could see nothing, as was the case for most of this week.

When I went out noticed the Department of Health's poster advising everyone to do daily exercise. They've got to be joking. My teenage son is playing in a soccer match today, as he does most weekends, and after playing last Saturday he felt ill for the whole day.

Before anyone says I should advise my son not to exercise in this pollution, has anyone ever tried telling a teenager not to do what he loves most?

I think the Department of Health should be putting up posters telling people NOT to exercise. It's strange that precautions are being taken against bird flu (not enough) but nothing is being done about the serial killer that goes under the name of pollution.

Suzanne Sparkes