PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 02 September, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 02 September, 2008, 12:00am

We should not trivialise pain inflicted by guns

My letter recommending that shooting events be dropped from the Olympic Games ('Shooting events not for Games', August 18) elicited three replies, all negative.

I am sorry that Lester Lim chose to satirise my unease at the military aspects of the Games ('Why stop at shooting ban?' August 20). He trivialises the horrendous suffering caused by the worship of guns in our modern world by referring to the archery, javelin, and hammer-throw events, all military-derived implements. Perhaps he can tell us how many people have been killed by javelins recently.

I am well aware, as A. Tjia affirms ('Olympics had military origins', August 22) that many Olympic events were related to prowess on the battlefield. Primitive people had primitive urges, but that does not require us to perpetuate them. The Olympic movement claims to be a valuable force for peace and harmony between nations. The gun represents the very opposite of this excellent drive and is therefore a contradiction. It is a symbol of military terrorism and has no place in the modern Olympics. If I bring a gun onto an aeroplane I can be jailed. However if I bring a loaded shotgun into a crowded Olympic stadium why am I acclaimed as an athletic hero?

The third letter by G. Dalton ('Games would be a dull affair', August 23) also trivialises this issue by talking about bikinis, cycling and other modern events not held in ancient Greece. Obviously, the Olympics has evolved and should include interesting and exciting new events. But as newer events are introduced why not get rid of the events that are contradictory to the Olympic spirit?

The three replies vividly demonstrate the gun worship prevalent in modern society, especially in the US where gun deaths are a daily 'event', not to mention the shooting and killing by armed men taking place all over the world.

I urge the directors of the International Olympic Committee to consider eliminating shooting events from the Games in 2012 and I hope that peace activists in the host city and nation, London and Britain, will support this drive as a step in the reduction of gun-related deaths and a demythologising of Western gun worship. Every journey begins with small steps.

Perhaps the correspondents would approve the replacement of shooting by a new event called 'long-distance mud-slinging'.

J. Garner, Sham Shui Po

Paralympics needs exhibits

I have just had the pleasure of working in one of the hospitality tents at the Olympic equestrian events in Sha Tin and I have nothing but praise for the organisers and volunteers involved.

I was delighted to be able to take my children to the exhibitions around New Town Plaza and give them the opportunity to experience the 'buzz' of mixing with athletes, officials, Hong Kong residents and visiting tourists all walking round Sha Tin. How disappointing it was however to return a couple of days after the end of the Olympics to find all the exhibits were down and to read that the model 'Water Cube' in Tsim Sha Tsui was already shut. Surely the athletes and visitors involved in the Paralympics would appreciate the opportunity to feel the same Olympic spirit. Will alternative exhibits be installed or does the government and the Tourism Board feel that Paralympians and their guests need less of an experience?

If new exhibits are to be installed that is great, but if not, what sort of message is being sent to the people of Hong Kong?

Sara Beattie, Hong Lok Yuen

Saddened by lip-synch saga

It is inappropriate for Ray Woo ('Even Hepburn lip-synched', August 30) to compare the lip-synching of Lin Miaoke at the opening of the Beijing Olympics to that of Audrey Hepburn in the film version of My Fair Lady , as the former was presented as a live show where one would expect singers to be performing with, or at least lip-synching to, their own voices while the latter was a mere product of the studio.

After all, when My Fair Lady was being done as a staged musical, no lip-synching was involved, as Mr Woo has himself pointed out.

Besides, the lip-synching arrangement was known to all in the filming process and the audience got to know about the dubbing of the Hepburn's voice from the end credits, while Lin Miaoke and Yang Peiyi were, together with the audience, kept in the dark about the matter until days after the event.

It has been reported that Peiyi became depressed when she realised what had occurred and that her vocal contribution had not be acknowledged at the time.

This already shows how reprehensible the whole thing is.

Joyce Siu, Tsing Yi

Dogs are good for your health

It is clear from the inflammatory remarks made by Michael Chugani in his Private Eye column ('Tenants in doghouse over pet requests', August 27) that he is being deliberately provocative. So, at the risk of playing into his hands, I write to set the record straight about dogs in public housing.

Mr Chugani implies that public housing tenants who want to keep dogs are somehow ripping off the system as they should not be able to afford this 'luxury'. This is a very short-sighted view. Clearly he has not considered the health benefits that pet dogs bring to their owners - nor the potential savings for the public health care system.

We, and other professionals in the field, have long recognised that dogs are beneficial for our health.

Simply being in the company of dogs (and cats) is proven to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. The unconditional love of dogs and the 'feel-good factor' that comes with it, not only staves off loneliness and depression, it even boosts the immune system.

Also, for many elderly tenants, a dog may be their only friend.

Jill Robinson, founder and chief executive officer, Animals Asia Foundation

The right choice

The Obama campaign has been perfectly trumped by the elevation of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to the vice-presidential spot on Senator John McCain's ticket.

Anyone who watched her initial campaign speech on Friday can have little doubt of that.

It seems to have left the Democrats reeling and led them to commit an immediate double faux pas by seeming to denigrate both her gender and her small-town origins.

The party is typically out of touch with mainstream America and there is the continuing sense of loss among women who witnessed Senator Hillary Clinton being humbled by the male power structure calling the shots in her own political party.

Governor Palin offers voters solid executive experience.

Ron Goodden, Atlanta, Georgia, US

Chaotic policy

The chaos caused by the suspension of the foreign domestic helper levy is just crazy.

The government, eager to gain applause from its citizens, proposed the cash-back policy without considering the possible consequences.

To avoid similar problems in the future the government should set itself clear goals with any policy and explain them.

It also must consult affected groups to gauge their response to any planned policies.

If it keeps coming up with messy policies, it will lose the confidence of citizens.

Claudia Yip, Lok Fu