Talkback | South China Morning Post
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Talkback

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 11 October, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 11 October, 2007, 12:00am
 

What can be done to reduce domestic violence?

Domestic violence is perhaps Hong Kong's most serious problem. Most worrying of all, legislators, the Social Welfare Department, police, social workers and women's groups have absolutely no idea how to stop it.

The police have said that 4,967 cases of family violence had been reported up to August 31, almost twice as many as the cases reported in the same period last year.

I listened attentively to Monday's Legislative Council subcommittee meeting on strategy and measures to tackle family violence. It made depressing listening.

None of the community's leaders and representatives had any effective solutions to reduce the violence. Lawmaker Alan Leong Kah-kit's proposal of switching the burden of proof to suspects in domestic violence cases, even if it was passed, would do little to reduce the levels of violence.

The only ray of hope from Monday's meeting came when one ordinary member of the public bravely expressed his opinion.

The young man said he thought there needed to be a radical improvement in education policy in order to educate people how to stay in control of their emotions when they are angry or upset.

The man said that the present education curriculum teaches mathematics, history, science and languages - however it does not teach people about 'emotional intelligence'.

He said the present education policy does not effectively teach people about the ups and downs of relationships and about how to deal with their emotions.

The man said that the government needs to educate people about how to keep calm and deal with the situation peacefully.

He suggested that legislators and government experts should go into the prisons and try to understand the emotional process the brain goes through when people get upset and turn to violence.

Once it was understood why people turn to violence, the man said it was possible to find solutions to stop people becoming violent.

The community's experts have all failed to reduce the levels of violence in Hong Kong over the past decade. The community should not be afraid to turn to visionary thinkers like the young man at the meeting for solutions to help solve this complex problem.

Matt Pearce, Wan Chai

What can be done to attract more backpackers?

Many backpackers have lost interest in Hong Kong because of its rapid urbanisation and the demolition of heritage buildings ('I want to see old HK, not shopping malls', October 8).

American, Canadian and Israeli backpackers who were interviewed said similar things about the demolition of heritage buildings.

They thought Hong Kong was boring and had no personality at all. They only wanted to stay for a few days and were reluctant to return.

I am in partial agreement with them. The old buildings are historically important and are part of the memory of a place. They represent its unique personality.

Hong Kong is a mixture of Chinese and western culture. If it just concentrates on rapid development without preserving the past, it will lose that unique mixture that cannot be found in other parts of China.

The government is not doing enough to preserve our heritage and it could lose out to competitors. Hong Kong has to maintain its status as one of the three little dragons in Asia. Many development and redevelopment projects are about making money, rather than saving a building which is an important part of our heritage. That is why so many shopping malls have been built and while this attracts mainland tourists, it puts off the backpackers.

It is important for the government to develop ecotourism so that we can attract visitors to our country parks. I think more backpackers would be willing to visit Hong Kong if they knew about our country parks. And we could also publicise our heritage buildings.

Although the mainland tourist trade is important, we also must be able to cater to tourists with different tastes.

Chow Lai-nga, Yau Yat Tsuen

Should Chinese University of Hong Kong teach mainly in Chinese?

English is an international communication tool. It is a tremendous advantage for a student if his standard of English is good. If the university adopts a policy of teaching mainly in Chinese, it will weaken students' competitive edge after they graduate.

If lectures and reference books are all in Chinese, how can we ensure that Chinese University graduates will have good English.

Solomon Yuen Chung-wing, Tuen Mun

On other matters...

I wish to express my views on the Free Hugs movement which 'is catching on in Hong Kong' ('A call to arms', October 5), in which campaigners for this movement embrace strangers in the street.

This movement has taken off in western countries, such as the United States and Australia.

Essentially, campaigners put up a big banner in the street and give pedestrians who want it a big, warm hug. It is not difficult to understand why it has proved popular in these countries, as many westerners are far more open when it comes to displaying their emotions.

However, there are big differences between western and Chinese people.

Chinese are more reserved and seldom express their feelings through physical contact. Take me, for example. I did not hug my parents or even hold their hands, after I was ridiculed by classmates in primary school.

Even when they have grown up, some young Chinese will not hug their parents. Also, some Chinese might think that a man offering to hug a woman is trying to take advantage of her. These problems do not manifest themselves in western societies, where family members, colleagues and even strangers hug when they want to express happiness or show they care.

I think some Chinese will think free hug campaigners are mentally unstable. I can understand why friends and colleagues sometimes hug each other in western society. However, I think it will be some time before Chinese people welcome this campaign.

Mick Lo Yiu-wing, Tseung Kwan O

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