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PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 12 April, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 April, 2011, 12:00am

Comparisons with China not useful

Throughout the tsunami and nuclear crisis in Japan, I have been so impressed with how the Japanese have remained calm and disciplined.

This may reflect the Japanese government's success at national education and preparing the population for a big earthquake. Even Japanese primary schools conduct earthquake drills several times a year. So when people are well-trained, they are less nervous and fearful when a real emergency occurs.

The Japanese have remained calm and orderly even when queuing to buy water or waiting for transport after the trains stopped working. Their politeness and discipline during the disaster has been an inspiration for everybody else.

There's no doubt people around the world have been impressed by the way ordinary Japanese have behaved in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami.

But I also find it puzzling that people try to guess how the Chinese would react in a similar situation. And the answers were extremely negative.

I think it is completely unfair to compare the two places. Japan is located in a region that is prone to natural disasters, and the people have grown more used to earthquakes and even tsunamis, which is a Japanese word.

Japan is also a wealthy nation with highly advanced technology, and has some of the world's best early warning systems. Besides, it has very strict building codes - many buildings withstood the quake but not the tsunami.

The situation on the mainland is different. I agree it responds more slowly to natural disasters.

But China is still considered a developing country, and its technology is not as advanced as Japan's. Therefore, I do not think a comparison between Chinese and Japanese reactions is fair, meaningful or necessary.

Tappy Woo Chi-hin, The Chinese Foundation Secondary School

Curtain falls on Hung Hom ferry

The elderly love to talk about the good old days. Many no doubt have fond memories of the ferry pier at Hung Hom. It played a great role connecting people in Kowloon and Hong Kong before the Cross-Harbour Tunnel was built.

Many people think the demise of the ferry service had much to do with its lack of convenience. For example, the ferry pier had no bus terminal - this is a big disadvantage compared to the Star Ferry terminal in Tsim Sha Tsui.

These shortcomings resulted in fewer commuters outside Hung Hom using the pier.

The sight of a ferry crossing Victoria Harbour against a backdrop of skyscrapers is an image unique to Hong Kong.

It is also sad that the bus terminal at Tsim Sha Tsui will inevitably face demolition even though the government has promised that the Star Ferry Pier will be retained.

Now that the Hung Hom ferry service has stopped, I fear the Tsim Sha Tsui Star Ferry service will suffer a similar fate owing to the lack of bus and taxi connections to other districts.

Li Lok-yin, STFA Tam Pak Yu College

Courage to mend a broken friendship

In our daily life, arguments are sometimes hard to avoid. It happens to everyone at some stage. What's more important is how to mend our relationships later.

Many of us simply avoid people we have had disagreements with in the past. Frankly, I don't think that's the right way to go about it, as any 'cold war' always faces the risk of turning 'hot' again.

The pain on both sides just gets deeper, making it harder to solve the problem.

Sometimes things happen between people that leads to a wall of silence. This kind of behaviour not only causes hurt, but can later turn to hate, so nothing good can come from it.

A smile is always a better, and more natural, reaction to silence. Communication plays a key role at these moments.

Sometimes it takes great courage for us to break this type of emotional deadlock, especially if we don't think it is our fault. Let's face it, few of us ever think it is 'our fault'.

It takes at least two people to make a relationship, but it often takes 'guts' to take the first step to repair a friendship gone wrong. Happy endings don't just happen; they're usually hard work.

Rainie Hui-oi man, Pooi To Middle School

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