Letters to the Editor, June 8, 2014
Parents must set an example for children
A video featuring a woman on the MTR shouting at a fellow passenger who criticised her for allowing her child to eat on the train has been viewed extensively on the internet recently.
The incident has undoubtedly added to the ongoing conflict between Hongkongers and mainland tourists over unacceptable behaviour in the city.
The woman's attitude is disturbing. To cover her embarrassment, she blames the accuser for being meddlesome, calling her a busybody. But what upsets me most is her child's obvious discomfort. He looks uneasy, folding the food bag repeatedly, signifying his readiness to stop eating. He hides his face behind his mother and keeps his eyes downcast. Young as he is, he understands that they have become the target of criticism.
I am not talking about the behaviour of tourists. What concerns me more is how the behaviour of some parents in public affects their children. I have seen some fathers talking loudly and using foul language while their children are present. I have also seen a mother scolding her child for refusing to join her when she jumped a queue at a customs checkpoint. Parents are also frequently seen piling food onto their child's plate and then allowing it to remain untouched.
Do they know what a negative impact such behaviour can have on the child's development? The child either feels ashamed of having unreasonable parents or, worse still, learns from them and becomes an unreasonable person too.
In the case of the angry mother, she could have apologised for overlooking the signs telling passengers not to eat or drink on the train and could have taken the opportunity to educate her child with regard to appropriate behaviour. Those who witnessed the scene would then have been more tolerant and forgiving.
The woman's behaviour may have been questionable, but it is not fair for the child to be an endless object of ridicule. It's time we put a stop to the circulation of the video.
Chong Lai-kun, Macau
Curb rising property prices
I am writing to express my view regarding Hong Kong's lack of affordable housing.
Most citizens have just enough money to cover their daily expenditure, with only a small proportion of their salary left over each month. Hongkongers who want to own property face a tough challenge when trying to save sufficient funds.
Apart from this, Hong Kong is experiencing excessive inflation every day. In Central, a lunch set costs HK$100, and prices keep rising.
Some may say if a youngster is industrious and saves money regularly into a bank account instead of wasting it on meaningless products, they can buy a flat after a few years of hard work.
However, a small flat in Hong Kong can cost more than HK$3 million. Are these tiny flats worth this much money? I think not. When it is possible to buy a much bigger apartment overseas for the same amount of money, is it worth us working hard for one or even two decades to buy a tiny flat in Hong Kong?
If only a minority of people are buying flats, why are prices still increasing? Wealthy mainlanders are major investors in property all around the globe, not just in Hong Kong. When sellers know there are people willing and able to pay more for properties, they will increase prices accordingly. That is why prices keep rising.
Most members of the public in Hong Kong don't have enough money to buy their own properties, and rising prices will ensure that this remains the case.
The government should implement some effective and efficient strategy in order address this problem and enable citizens to buy their own homes.
Bonnie Wong Kong-ki, Yau Yat Chuen
World is failing women over rights abuses
We read many articles about the US, the UN, and the developed countries pushing their democratic ideology on the grounds of human rights.
However, the basic human rights of women continue to be blatantly abused and ignored. Women forced into marriage, stoned to death for alleged adultery, raped, subjected to limitations on their freedom on religious grounds and sexually harassed at work and while travelling are often unable to obtain justice.
News stories documenting such treatment are reported daily, but little seems to be being done generally to protect women, let alone the implementation of effective laws to deter such abuses and blatant violations of human rights. Laws are needed that allow more severe punishment and enable ease of enforcement.
The world seems to be focusing solely on politics and to have forgotten the basic need to protect women. The US, which claims to be the leader in ensuring human rights, continually fails to openly condemn such abuse in offending countries where women suffer mistreatment. The UN is yet another organisation that does not speak up on the subject.
President Barack Obama called upon the world to practice empathy after his meeting with Pope Francis. Is our world so clouded by politics and blinded by greed that no concerted efforts are taken to allow women to enjoy human rights?
Maybe the US and the UN can put politics aside, stop the hypocrisy and slap sanctions on countries where women's rights are being violated. They also need to implement an international law that prevents religion from being used as an excuse for such travesties in the modern world.
No religion should preach that women should be deprived of their human rights. It's time that the fundamental rights of life for women were addressed to stop the continuing atrocities we read about every day in the media.
L. B. Saw, Ma On Shan
Traditional values losing their appeal
I am writing to express my opinion on changing attitudes to traditional Chinese and Western festivals.
People are tending to focus on Western festivals more than Chinese ones and seldom try to understand the meanings behind the festivals.
For example, many people celebrate Halloween by dressing up in costumes or going to theme parks. However, only the older generation perform rituals for the Chinese Hungry Ghost festival.
Most people view festivals simply as holidays rather than trying to understand the true meaning behind them. The Chinese festivals are becoming increasingly commercialised. People are used to eating rice dumplings during the Dragon Boat festival, but they seldom think about the reason for it, which is to commemorate Qu Yuan.
These traditional Chinese festivals teach us that we should respect our ancestors as well as famous historical figures. However, people today seem to have lost their traditional values.
Eleanor Lui Lok-ching, Lai Chi Kok
China is under threat from within
I believe China will wane in the coming 50 years if it doesn't take action to save itself.
Corruption amongst officials is widespread.
While many ordinary citizens are aware of the problem, few are willing to act as they are afraid of reprisals.
Many officials in China, particularly in inland provinces, don't do anything for anyone and no one cares.
It is a waste of money for China to employ a group of people who do nothing.
Most officials and wealthy people send their children to other countries to be educated. How can ordinary residents have faith in the education system if those in charge do not?
So many people in China only care about money and power, and not about the environment.
Lee Tan-ting, Kwai Chung