Forgive but don't forget

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 January, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 January, 2009, 12:00am

Almost everyone knows about the Japanese occupation of the mainland during the second world war and the terrible things that happened.

As a result, a lot of people - especially older ones - will not go to Japan, will not buy Japanese products and will not eat Japanese food.

But we don't need to reject everything Japanese to show that we love our country.

As civilised people who want to lead good lives, we should put the past behind us. We need to forgive the Japanese, not hate them.

We should work towards a healthy and long-lasting friendship with Japan.

History hopefully reminds us that love and acceptance are stronger forces than violence.

Carmen Ip, Hang Seng School of Commerce

From the Editor

Thanks for your letter, Carmen. Most people in Hong Kong seem to love all things Japanese, from manga to food.

It is understandable after the atrocities of the war that people would feel upset at those who continue to deny them. It also upsets people when the leaders of the country continue to pay their respects at the Yasukuni shrine which honours Japan's war dead, including 14 Class A war criminals from the second world war.

We should not fear people. We should be curious about other cultures, and we should forgive the past. But we should never forget. There is a grave danger in forgetting an atrocity - it makes us less careful about stopping the same thing happening again.

Susan, Editor