Letters to the Editor, July 5, 2013
Discontent threatens social unrest
As one of the participants of the July 1 march, I firmly believe that the turnout numbers were underestimated by the police and exaggerated by the Civil Human Rights Front.
Nevertheless, one thing for sure is that the turnout was large enough to show citizens' disaffection with the government is serious.
The participants, braving wind and rain, called for remedies to eliminate Hong Kong's countless social problems.
They demanded mainly bona-fide universal suffrage and for Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to stand down.
I accept that the government has successfully addressed some of the city's social problems, such as parallel trading and the influx of pregnant women from the mainland.
However, that is not enough. Also, these minor successes are doomed to be overshadowed by the government's failures to deal with a variety of problems, such as soaring house prices, the widening wealth gap, light pollution and waste disposal, to name but a few.
These failures have led to disaffected citizens continuing to hold protests.
The July 1 march, apart from putting the spotlight on the administration's poor performance, also proved that freedoms of assembly, protest and speech are still intact and cherished by Hong Kong citizens.
I hope citizens will keep expressing their views and highlighting social issues.
The July 1 demonstration was peaceful. However, no one can guarantee the rising tide of discontent will not turn violent in the future.
If the government does not want this to happen, it must listen to the people and resolve the city's social problems.
Magnus Leung Hon-yeung, Shun Lee
Solidarity of protesters has earned respect
There is something about the July 1 protest that seems to bring the best out of Hong Kong people.
They shared their umbrellas during the downpour and refused to leave just because of the rain.
The government should really listen - instead of pseudo listening - to them.
The reason why people speak with their feet and not so much with their mouths is that the Hong Kong government's past consultations have largely been sham affairs that highlight its inability to give us real choices about a universal suffrage system.
I can't imagine the next consultation will be any different, going on past experience.
Jennifer Eagleton, Tai Po
Graduate's Leung insult unacceptable
I was appalled to see on the television news coverage of the Academy for Performing Arts graduation ceremony last month, the behaviour of one of the graduates who pulled up his gown and [still wearing his trousers] showed his behind to Chief Executive Leung Chung-ying. This person bowed to the audience (that is what it looked like) in front of where Mr Leung sat.
Students should be allowed to protest and make demands over issues and they have every right to express their feelings towards the people who they think are doing something wrong. But they should accept that there must be limits.
It was a graduation ceremony. These young people were not just graduating academically but in every other aspect of life. They were entering into adulthood and maturity.
Some of the students refused to bow to Mr Leung, which is acceptable, but showing one's behind is not right. If I were the mother of this person, I would be ashamed of my son's behaviour.
Is this is what our future young generation is going to be like? It does not bode well for the institution which trained these students.
Aruna Murali, Tai Tam
Fairness fears justified in Musharraf trial
I refer to the report, "Pakistan's former dictator Musharraf faces fourth death-penalty charge over Bhutto assassination" (June 27).
The former military dictator's apprehension that he will not get a fair trial is justified, as everybody - the government, the media, the judiciary, and the lawyers - is against him.
The evidence against him in the Benazir Bhutto assassination case is in the form of mere sworn affidavits.
Pervez Musharraf dismissed judges, and those same judges are trying his case.
He could meet the same fate as that of the former prime minister of Pakistan, the late Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who military ruler Zia-ul-Haq allowed to be hanged.
Pakistan's new cabinet has permitted his trial. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was dismissed by Musharraf.
Mr Sharif wants to take his revenge, and also show to the military that the army can no longer dictate terms.
If hanged, Musharraf will be the first army chief in the country to meet this fate.
Deendayal M. Lulla, Mumbai, India
Sex education failure places children at risk
Teenagers dating and having premarital sex have become more common in our society.
However, research indicates that sex education in schools has not kept pace with these developments. Youngsters who have insufficient knowledge may not take the necessary precautions before having sex.
Too often, these adolescents will take a too-open and casual attitude. Also, further research shows that the age at which young people have underage sex is dropping to as low as 13.
The problem is that sex education in schools is mostly discussed as theories.
It fails to make students aware that one of the results of unprotected sex can be an unwanted pregnancy.
Many parents are too embarrassed to openly discuss the subject with their children, so teenagers do not have the necessary knowledge.
Schools and parents both have an important role to play and they must ensure that sex education is improved if we are to see a change of attitude among our youth and a more realistic and educated outlook on the subject.
Schools should discuss different scenarios in depth in the classroom; for example, the problems faced by young unwed mothers.
Also, parents must talk frankly about sex education with their children.
The most important thing is to ensure that teenagers have the correct attitude to sex.
Vikki Tai, Tseung Kwan O
Obama wrong not to call Xi and Putin
I was surprised by US President Barack Obama's response to one aspect of the Edward Snowden saga.
He said he had not phoned President Xi Jinping or Russian President Vladimir Putin to request their co-operation, saying, "I shouldn't have to" ("US 'sloppy' in filing Snowden request", June 28).
At a news conference in Dakar, Senegal, while on his tour of Africa, he "made light of the matter".
Why did he not phone these presidents? This will have been disconcerting to millions of Americans. It made it appear as if the issue of America's national security was not that big a deal to the White House.
Those of us who recall the trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg in 1951 had no such misgivings about the revealing of secrets to the enemy.
In the 1950s, intelligence revelations were still considered treason - a term that has seemingly fallen into obsolescence.
As National Security Agency director Keith Alexander said, Snowden's revelations have "caused irreversible and significant damage to our country and our allies".
That the administration could not be bothered to call Xi and Putin - even when the country's national security is on the line - is not good.
Brian Stuckey, Denver, Colorado, US
Law is needed to protect elderly parents
I think neglect of elderly parents by some children has become a serious problem in Hong Kong.
Nowadays, so many elderly parents are neglected by their grown-up sons and daughters.
It is also a problem on the mainland where one academic claimed that nearly 200 million people aged over 60 are being abandoned by their children. Parents may struggle to look after themselves if they are ill and have to seek help from, for example, non-governmental organisations.
Surely we have a responsibility to look after our elderly parents when we are adults?
People have to remember that while they were growing up, when they encountered difficulties, their mothers and fathers were there to help them with unconditional support.
Grown-up sons and daughters now have the opportunity to repay those sacrifices that were made on their behalf. They should see it as their duty.
I would like to see the government consider the introduction of legislation so that people are required to look after elderly parents who need help and it should not just be in the form of financial assistance.
It is about making young adults in our society behave like responsible citizens. I do hope that we will see this problem in our society being solved.
Brian Wong, Kwai Chung