Memories of war atrocities still vivid

PUBLISHED : Friday, 28 April, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 28 April, 2006, 12:00am

It is common for people with western perspectives to invoke self-righteous rhetoric regarding Chinese sensitivity over the second world war.

Letter writer Francesco Formiconi ('Outrage outdated', April 26) and others like him speak of the atrocities during Japan's invasion of China as if we hold some petty grudge from an ancient, forgotten past.

As a matter of fact, the events are very much alive in the memories of our elders, and they shall live on in those of us who have had the honour to learn of their hardship first hand.

All must be remembered and held accountable for.

Given this, I find letter writer Jonathan Man's shock that Lane Crawford should sell jackets bearing the Japanese military flag ('Fashion outrage', April 22) completely justified. I fail to see the motivation for such a strongly worded response from Mr Formiconi.

Finally, I recall strong emotions emanating from other East Asian people over recent Japanese controversies. This is most certainly not, as Mr Formiconi claims, a past that only Chinese people keep alive.


Shame on you

Letter writer Francesco Formiconi suggests that Chinese people 'stop their unjustified revival' of Japanese war atrocities in China ('Outrage outdated', April 26).

I suggest he packs his bags right now and moves to Japan or back home, wherever that is in Europe.

Mr Formiconi, you should be ashamed of yourself for living in a city of China and yet being so insensitive and rude to the Chinese.

I wonder what you would do or how would you feel if you had family raped and killed by the Japanese during the second world war?

I suggest you and your like go take a course in human empathy.

AUDREY LI, Heng Fa Chuen

Case for the accused

The director of public prosecutions has assured us that prosecutors have a mandate to uphold the interests of vulnerable witnesses and victims at every stage of the criminal proceedings ('Speed is of the essence', April 24).

He is certainly right in saying that a speedy process is most desirable for vulnerable witnesses and victims of crime. However, I would like to point out that it is equally desirable for the accused.

No prosecutor (or juror, judge, journalist or opinion-maker) should forget that an accused person is to be thought of as innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty.

In any period leading up to a trial, the life of the accused is practically destroyed. Innocence does not help against hostile and well-directed public opinion: jobs go, 'friends' stay away, neighbours sneer, the children are ostracised at school.

There is vulnerability not only on one side.

And even if innocence is proven or there is simply not enough evidence (or truth) to prove the accusation, the stain of being accused cannot be removed.

'Where there is smoke, there is fire' is a common opinion. Unfortunately, it also shows how far removed our ethical standards and the rules of our judicial system are from fairness and justice.

J. BOOST, Quarry Bay

US petrol woes real

I am writing in response to Peter Sherwood's letter 'US petrol woes unseemly' (April 27).

When people ask me what I like best about Hong Kong, I usually tell them the transport system. Frankly, it is brilliant. It is cheap, clean and efficient, and it goes everywhere. Public transport in the US is generally either not very good or non-existent.

Having seen the ABC World News Tonight report mentioned by Mr Sherwood, I must point out his ignorance of the effect of high fuel prices on many American families.

Allow me to give an example. Both of my children drive to work. They have to. There is no viable public transport. They plough through up to 90 minutes of traffic each way to get from a home in the suburbs to the inner city, where they work but cannot afford to live. Fuel prices absorb up to 40 per cent of their income (both are recent graduates). That's a hardship, not an entitlement.

Have state and local governments put too much money into highways? Yes, they have. But in many places, simple factors like distance and population density limit the effectiveness of transport systems. The US is a big country, and solutions that work in Hong Kong and Singapore won't necessarily work there.

Mr Sherwood errs when he cites our 'ignorance' of environmental issues. California enacted clean-air legislation, mandated alternative power sources and reformulated petrol decades before anyone else did.

One reason Americans are not inclined to listen to people like Mr Sherwood is because their hectoring, finger-wagging condescension causes most of us to tune out.