Treatment of children misguided
I was horrified to read about Xiao Baiyou and his appalling child-rearing methods ('Lessons in tough love from the 'wolf dad'', December 18). My heart goes out to his poor children who have suffered years of mistreatment and to any others raised by similarly cruel, ill-informed parents.
Surely such tragically misguided parenting ideas belong in a distant past?
It is really hard to believe that in 2011 parents can treat their children with such blatant disrespect? 'Lessons in tough love' they most definitely are not. Xiao Baiyou's children have been given a masterclass in how not to raise children.
How his wife could stand by while her children were treated in this way is beyond belief. She also has a lot to answer for.
Getting an education may be important (it isn't to everyone) but not at the expense of children's self-esteem, socialising with peers, creativity, self-direction, independent thinking, sense of security in a loving environment and just plain fun.
Children deserve to be raised in an atmosphere of love and respect.
They are individual human beings with their own interests, abilities and talents that should be nurtured.
Why demand respect for yourself when not giving it to them?
Hitting children teaches them that violence is the way to solve problems.
If they behave in a way you want after you have hit them, it's not because they've 'learned their lesson', it's because they are traumatised and afraid of being hit again.
You are, in fact, teaching them what it feels like to be unloved, abandoned and very scared. Psychiatric hospitals and drug- rehab clinics are full of the results of such brutal parenting.
These unfortunate children may indeed succeed in daddy's eyes by bringing home his much-coveted PhD.
I sadly wonder if they will ever feel self-fulfilled or even have the ability to choose for themselves how to build satisfying adult lives out of the heartbreaking mess that was their miserable childhood.
Shame on you, Xiao Baiyou.
Kate O'Hara, Sai Kung
Principles preached universally
A commonly heard reference to Chinese values is reflected in the interview with Xiao Baiyou ('Lessons in tough love from the 'wolf dad'', December 18). He cites being 'filial to parents, friendly with peers and respectful of ... teachers' as principles that are traditional (suggesting unique) to Chinese culture.
But, looking even further than the creed of the Fifth Commandment ('honour thy father and thy mother') as practised in Christian nations, these parenting principles are recognised and preached universally, all within the bonds of our shared humanity.
C. Joseph Bendy, Central
Not the best save-energy solution
I refer to the report ('Homes with high power use face 20pc bigger bills', December 15).
I do not support the new tariff proposed by Hong Kong's electricity suppliers.
Although it is designed to make consumers who use more power pay additional sums, it will lead to financial hardship for some people.
Inflation is high at the moment in Hong Kong and the cost of various things is rising.
Given the financial problems faced by many citizens, this is not the right time to change the tariff structure.
There are better ways to promote the idea of saving electricity. There should be more public promotions and education in schools.
Over time, people can develop the habit of saving energy. It is about developing lifelong education so that gradually attitudes change.
I am not against increased bills, but the adjustments should be made in a rational manner.
It is unacceptable for power companies, if they make a profit every year, to also announce an annual bill increase.
Even the chief executive expressed misgivings over the proposed tariff hikes.
Derek Ho, Tsuen Wan
Ferry firm should have rethink
Bicycles have been allowed for free on the Star Ferry's Tsim Sha Tsui-Wan Chai route since 2003. Now the company is to introduce a charge of HK$20 for each bike.
It argues that average usage has increased since its Hung Hom services were shut down, as this is the only cross-harbour route which carries bikes. It says a HK$20 fare will not be enough to cover the cost of extra staff to ensure the safety of the cyclists.
Few Hongkongers commute to work by bicycle. I do not believe the company needs extra staff for the bikes.
The Star Ferry should reconsider this charge. Surely it would be better to charge the cyclists a smaller amount during peak hours and let them on board for free at off-peak periods.
Chilli Leung, Hung Hom
Keep cyclists away from HK's traffic
I disagree with those people who are against the proposal for the Star Ferry to impose a charge of HK$20 for bicycles on the Star Ferry route from Tsim Sha Tsui to Wan Chai.
I think that bicycles have no place in Hong Kong.
They are dangerous and should be kept completely away from traffic.
The only places they should be allowed are where there is no vehicular traffic, such as Discovery Bay.
Earlier this month I saw a cyclist travelling down the tram tracks on Hennessy Road and nearly causing an accident by running into a tram. They often travel the wrong way along roads.
Cyclists regularly cycle at dangerous speeds on country park trails with no regard for walkers and, when pushing bikes on the pavements and in crowded areas, often knock into walkers with their pedals.
Please keep them off the Star Ferry.
Ian A. Skeggs, Tai Hang
Accidents caused by poverty
I have been saddened to read about the fatal school bus accidents on the mainland.
Earlier this month, 15 children died in an overloaded bus in Jiangsu that had 87 passengers.
These buses are often overloaded because many schools lack sufficient funds.
They simply do not have enough money to hire enough vehicles so their pupils can travel in safety. They have to cut costs. This is made worse because parents are often poor and cannot contribute much to the cost of transport. Because of this, we will continue to see bus accidents.
The central government should provide more resources to schools so they can rent enough buses and ensure that they are not overloaded.
Beijing must also tighten supervision of the operation of these vehicles. School authorities which allow buses to be overloaded should be punished.
Natalie Wong Hoi-yi, To Kwa Wan
No Nobel Prize for economics
Tom Yam's article ('Is economics about maths or the mind?' December 18), is interesting and relevant, but it also perpetuates a common myth.
Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as the Nobel Prize in economics. There are five Nobel Prizes - in literature, chemistry, physics and medicine, respectively, and the Nobel Peace Prize.
The so-called Nobel Prize in economics is actually the Sveriges Riksbank (Sweden's central bank) Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel.
It was established in the late 1960s after the Nobel Foundation had decided not to institute a Nobel Prize in economics on the same footing as the other established Nobel prizes.
Robert Gregory, Happy Valley
Self-adhesive stamps are long overdue
People should not have to purchase stamps that they must lick in order to stick them to an envelope.
This is the worst form of germ-carrying in this world city. It is the same with those envelopes that you have to lick.
In the interests of good hygiene, there should be a law that forces Hongkong Post to sell self-adhesive stamps and envelopes at its post offices.
Y. W. Wong, Mid-Levels