Letters to the Editor, October 13, 2013

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 13 October, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 13 October, 2013, 3:59am

Parents stymie student search for life skills

There have been reports of students' parents sending domestic helpers to their college to tidy up their dormitory for them. This is as sad as it is ridiculous. Some of these university students are no different to little children: they cannot take care of themselves.

To be a university student it is vital to explore, learn and seek knowledge, but developing a basic ability to look after yourself adequately and to be independent must come first.

What will happen when their parents pass away? Will this generation leave their rooms to become filthy and cockroach-infested? None of us have, or should want, someone else there to take care of us throughout our lives. Academic knowledge is useless without basic life skills.

Parents play a crucial role in shaping their children. They should remember they have to grow up one day and allow them to. Do not overprotect them and help them fix their problems all the time. There is no advantage in doing this. It will only ruin a young person.

Lack of independence will harm their career prospects - employers prefer someone mature and self-reliant. Cultivate their life skills when they are young so that they can stand on their own feet and hone their problem-solving ability.

Both children and parents are responsible for students' lack of life skills. Just by backing off, parents are actually helping to educate their children.

Cynthia Lee, Kwun Tong


Pontiff still needs to tackle sexist doctrine

I simply cannot agree with those folks like Kevin Rafferty who've been going all wobbly over Pope Francis and his reforms in the Catholic Church ("A traditional Catholic, and a truly catholic pope," October 5).

How can we church members, one-seventh of the world's population, respect someone who carries on the hidebound practices of a church which bars women from becoming members of the clergy and indeed becoming pope?

Why do these patriarchs still carry on in the 21st century as though women - who nurture families and do much of the hard work on this planet - are incapable of having a say on religious matters?

I'll find his good deeds and acts of humility laudable once he overcomes his sexism.

Renata Lopez, Wan Chai


China relations set to warm with Vatican?

Pope Francis has aroused great interest due to his warm style and approachability.

He brings an air of openness which should help in relations with China, which does not have formal diplomatic relations with the Vatican.

This is bizarre since virtually all modern states, no matter what their religious or ideological background, have done so for decades. Even predominantly Muslim nations maintain normal relations with the Vatican.

China, being a communist country, has embraced "scientific materialism" and atheism. It imposes strict controls over religious bodies. But the effects of these policies have seriously damaged ethical values, civic virtues and social harmony.

Widespread corruption is directly linked to a lack of spiritual values, religious freedom and moral education.

One reason for communist China's disdain of religion, especially Christianity, is outworn Marxist rhetoric that "religion is the opium of the people". Another reason is historical - a perceived linkage between imperial powers and Christian missionaries in earlier centuries. But at the same time, positive factors can overcome these negative images.

For example, Pope Francis is from the Jesuits, the religious society that sent the outstanding missionary Matteo Ricci to China in the late 16th century.

His language skills and scientific knowledge were admired by scholars in Beijing and his Jesuit successors introduced many useful astronomical and mathematical discoveries.

Another example is the charitable and educational efforts of later missionaries (early NGOs), especially during the famines, floods and wars that caused so much suffering.

Pope Francis, coming from a non-European country, is well equipped to shed the historical baggage that has impeded China's dealings with the Vatican. A more constructive relationship is desirable for China and its people as they face the challenges of this new multi-polar world.

J. Garner, Sham Shui Po


Government must push recycling

Hong Kong's three remaining operational landfills will reach capacity in the near future.

The government hopes to expand their operation but faces a lot of challenges, including opposition from residents near the sites, at Tuen Mun, Tseung Kwan O, and Ta Kwu Ling. An application for funds to pay for the expansion was strongly opposed and withdrawn from the Legislative Council recently, although it was intended to resubmit the application.

Meanwhile, with ever-increasing volumes of rubbish still sent to landfills every day, what can we do to cope with this problem? I believe the best option is recycling and thus reducing waste, which can have a huge impact.

There are already more recycling bins appearing throughout Hong Kong. This makes it extremely convenient for residents to join in and help the recycling initiative. The more we recycle today, the more we can reduce the quantity of rubbish we throw out, thus extending the life of the remaining landfills.

Hong Kong people's lifestyle does not so far seem to have embraced the recycling message. Some people seem to think it's troublesome to clean cans and bottles before passing them on to recycle.

Some think recycling bins are too far from their home and too difficult to get to. Others are sceptical, believing materials sent for recycling will just end up in landfills anyway, either through neglect or because batches contaminated with garbage cannot be recycled.

It is up to the government to take the lead. It must educate citizens about recycling, with advertisements and leaflets promoting a positive message. Citizens can be made more aware of what kinds of waste can be recycled, and not to put rubbish into recycling bins.

The government can provide subsidies or funding to help establish the recycling industry. This could help improve technology for more efficient ways to treat a greater range of recycled products, or encourage better services and involvement from homes and workplaces.

The industry could become profitable and self-sustaining.

Yolanda Cheung, Ngau Tau Kok


Let's look first at our own bad manners

There has been much written about the poor manners of some mainland tourists, but some Hongkongers have a lot to learn.

Last week an 86-year-old friend had to stand all the way on a bus from the Gold Coast to Tsim Sha Tsui. Not one person offered their seat, and she was too polite to ask. This shows a total disrespect for the elderly.

I have travelled on the Shenzhen Metro many times and although I am fit and not yet 60, younger passengers generally offer me their seat.

The orderly fashion in which Shenzhen passengers exit and enter trains is also to be praised. In Hong Kong, to exit a train I always have to fight through the crowd trying to push on.

Perhaps Hongkongers should look at their own behaviour before criticising that of others.

Lorraine Kennedy, Hung Hom