PUBLISHED : Sunday, 28 February, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 28 February, 2010, 12:00am

Stop blaming the West for all of Chinese society's ills

I refer to the letter by Hermia Lee ('Young people will benefit from ethics', February 21).

She writes that Western values 'dominant in Hong Kong' account for 'compensated dating, pseudo models and higher suicide rates. If our young people had studied Chinese ethics, things might have been different.'

Is she kidding? Compensated dating is an Asian phenomenon, not a Western one, a product of the mistress culture that has flourished in the male-ruled societies of the region for centuries. Pseudo modelling objectifies women in the same way. 'Confucianism, Taoism and other Chinese values' have many admirable aspects, as do most traditional philosophies.

But Ms Lee should also bear in mind that in the good old days for which she pines, young women were traded like chattels to slave for another family and produce (male) babies.

Even today, China is the only country in the world in which the suicide rate among women is higher than for men.

That the ills of modern Chinese society are all a product of Western influence is a disturbingly widespread delusion, one actively promoted for political purposes.

The irony is that failed communism itself must surely be the most ill-judged Western import in China's history.

Tim O'Connell, Central

Course can instil the right values

Globalisation is an inevitable part of the 21st century. In this information age it is inevitable that Western values will hold sway and we are all influenced by them. This can mean that influence of local culture is loosened. Now the University of Hong Kong's Centre of Buddhist Studies hopes to develop a syllabus that will enable Chinese ethics and religion to be taught in secondary schools. I think this is a good move.

Learning traditional Chinese ethics and religion can help teenagers acquire positive values. Concerns have been raised about social problems related to young people, such as compensated dating. Instances of school bullying and drug abuse illustrate that many teenagers do not have the right values.

Studying traditional Chinese ethics and religion can help counteract this with the injection of positive values.

By interacting with teachers they can develop their critical faculties. Education is the most effective way to deal with these social problems.

Traditional Chinese ethics and religions do have meaning in our daily lives, even in this modern age.

Some people say they are outdated.

Given that some of the ideas date back thousands of years that may appear to be the case. But at a spiritual level Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism are all important, even today. Studying Chinese ethics can help young people to think more about their cultural roots.

It can give them a better appreciation of their country.

It can give them a greater feeling of belonging to China.

I am not talking about countering Western values. But a Chinese ethics course will provide additional information and help youngsters have a deeper understanding of their own traditions.

By passing this knowledge on to the next generation we are ensuring sustainable development of Chinese culture.

Teenagers nowadays do not give much thought to ethical issues.

This course will help to encourage critical thinking and also encourage them to develop positive values.

It can also help in their everyday lives as it can encourage better personal behaviour.

Jason Chung Po-wai, Tsz Wan Shan

Take care when chatting on Facebook

Facebook is one of the great innovations on the internet and for many people it is an essential part of their lives.

It is a global phenomenon and has proved to be so popular because it is relatively new and fast.

However, I am concerned that some people might spend a lot of time on a computer using Facebook. Also some users might feel that all the people they are in touch with are providing their real names.

They could be putting themselves at risk exchanging material with some people who are giving false information about themselves.

It is important that users of Facebook be aware of the possible pitfalls and not always believe what they are being told on the internet.

Ng Pui-shan, Sham Shui Po

Buying in the New Territories can be risky

Travelling to Sai Kung last weekend I saw the signs which said, 'Shame on you Lands Dept', 'Lands Dept gets us trapped' and 'Respect our needs we need a road'. They were located at the Nam Pin Wai roundabout.

Mark Footer comments on the same issue in Postmagazine ('Home alone', February 21), suggested that there was no recourse for the aggrieved except to appeal to the highest authority. So what exactly does that mean? Get the legitimate rights of the landowner overturned however distasteful that owner may be?

Hold on a minute, where does the risk lie in buying property in the New Territories? Caveat emptor (let the buyer beware) applies here.

The fact that the various government departments do nothing is, ironically, a plus factor here. We are fortunate to have a set of principles enforceable in independent courts of law that protect these rights.

Were this elsewhere, someone would get paid off and the road put in for a bunch of people who failed to put in place that most basic of risk avoidance mechanisms, a property search.

So, what are the possible solutions?

In my view, all lie with the homeowners who have been cut off:

Buy out the 'offending' owner [of land blocking the only access road], undoubtedly at a premium, to create a right of way in the village;

Walk to and from your homes; and

Abandon, sell or rent out your home.

The government is quite right to ignore the bleating about 'rights' of careless property owners. Buying a village house carries the ever-present risk of being built around.

Jeremy Kidner, Central

Act now to prevent accident at park

Victoria Park, in Causeway Bay, has a walking and a jogging trail.

It is annoying to find joggers (some going full speed) along the walking trail where you often see very old and very young people walking or playing. However, it soon becomes clear why this is the case. For example, on Thursday during my lunch break I saw a jogger running quite fast on the walking trail.

However, when I looked at the (much narrower) jogging trail four elderly people and two office workers were walking on it.

The park warden made no attempt to sort out the obvious problem. It is up to the wardens to ask pedestrians to leave the jogging trail. It might help if they handed out advisory leaflets.

Of course, they also have to make sure joggers come off the walking trail. If something is not done by the park authorities then we will eventually see a nasty accident when, say, a jogger collides with an elderly person or a child.

Michael Thian, Causeway Bay