Letters to the Editor, May 21, 2015
Look at PLA's very positive role in society
I refer to the letter by Jason Kuylein ("Students are right to oppose campus visit by PLA students", May 16) and his comments on the PLA's role in Tiananmen Square in June 1989.
There have been different versions of what the PLA did or did not do in that tragedy. Putting that dispute aside for the moment, I wonder whether the Chinese University of Hong Kong students' union would have objected to any visit by the US army, despite its roles in the Vietnam war and the war purported to rid Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, which turned out not to exist.
Mr Kuylein showed his prejudice against soldiers, not only the PLA, when he wrote "military men live for violence since it vindicates their existence. War gives soldiers a chance of 'glory' and a page in history." Let us not forget that military men work bravely to provide humanitarian assistance to victims of earthquakes and other natural disasters. Military men are probably the first ones to wish for peace rather than war. No right-minded person would wish to risk their lives unless it was for a noble cause.
On the union's view that the PLA should not intervene in social activities in Hong Kong, would it object if, at a time when Hong Kong was in urgent need of blood for our hospitals, the PLA mounted a blood donation campaign among its soldiers. That could also count as a united front activity.
Why should the union be so fearful of such activities? The parties involved can influence each other.
Does the union object to the campus visit because it believes that university staff and students are not capable of independent thinking and therefore will be brainwashed by the PLA? If not, why not see the visit as a chance for staff and students to cultivate in the PLA the core values treasured by the people of Hong Kong?
Ng Hon-wah, Pok Fu Lam
Course and its founder will be missed
I refer to Gregg Schroeder's letter ("University should keep writing course", May 7).
It is indeed sad that a university like City University finds it necessary to discontinue with the master of fine arts programme in creative writing.
Although I have never taken this course, I enjoyed the various programmes the department organised, such as writing workshops and the meet-the-author sessions. The course's founder, the writer Xu Xi, had over the years worked hard to promote writing and reading in this city. I will regard it as a great loss to no longer have the pleasure of attending the events she organised.
Is there no way for CityU to consider the MFA on its own merit rather than the income the programme generates?
Rosemary Kam, Sai Kung
US elections offer voters little choice
Does it seem reasonable that the political views of 320 million US citizens can be pigeonholed into only the Democrat or Republican boxes for choices at election time?
The UK, with a fraction of our population, had more than half a dozen political parties vying for seats in the general election. Israel, with an even smaller population, had almost a dozen political factions on the ballot.
One wonders how many of our citizens in the US feel voiceless since they may not buy the major parties' complete packaged message after months of candidates traipsing across the nation parroting a unified party line.
Even Canada, a country of equal geographical size to our own, has six political parties represented in its parliament, for a population that is only 10 per cent the size of America.
Nascent efforts at third party/choice development (think John B. Anderson, Ross Perot and Ralph Nader) have never flowered.
Although there is a multiplicity of potential political warriors who do battle in the primary season to polish the appeal of the party standard bearer and hone the party message, the US still has one of the lowest voting rates in the democratised world.
Could it be that a vast majority of the eligible, but non-participating voters in both national and state elections believe neither party speaks for them but that there are no organised, viable alternatives?
Daniel F. Downes, Avon,New Jersey, US
Alcohol ads do tempt teenagers
Switch on the television on any given evening and at some time during an interval between programmes, you will see adverts for beer and other alcoholic drinks.
Of course these ads boost sales and meet the objective of the firms selling alcohol of brand recognition. But there is an obvious fact that cannot be overlooked. You see young people portrayed in a lot of these adverts and they are clearly targeting teenagers. I am against such adverts and think they should be banned from our television screens.
The frequent exposure of young people and children to these alcohol adverts can encourage the unhealthy phenomenon of underage drinking. Children get so much information from watching TV, because it is so accessible.
Teenagers are at an age where they can be easily influenced by what they see on TV and read. It is not unusual to see fashionable celebrities in alcohol adverts. This gives the impression that it is cool and glamorous to drink.
Some people say banning alcohol ads on TV will not solve the problem of teen drinking. But, surely, having less exposure to the temptation of alcohol can be beneficial.
There should be a ruling that alcohol ads can only be shown in cinemas for films restricted to people over the age of 18.
Michelle Tsang Chun-man,Yau Yat Chuen
Youngsters still struggling to get decent job
I agree with Gigi Ng about the benefits of the Navigation Scheme for Young Persons in Care Services ("Scheme will help teens and elderly citizens", May 13).
However, while this scheme will help some teenagers train as caregivers, the government should be doing more to try and help young people find work. And it must also ensure that teens are treated fairly, paid the statutory minimum wage and given enough time off to rest.
So many young people face exploitation in the workplace and the serious problem of being able to find an affordable place to live.
Isaac Wong, Tseung Kwan O
Sports centre snubbed offer of judo mats
The mats at Stanley Sports Centre are poorly designed for practising judo.
They have a rubber surface that causes skin abrasions on my son and there is no method to connect the mats together. During practice, the mats move apart, exposing the hard floor and causing a safety hazard for the children.
Realising that it is difficult to get the government to buy something, I called the sports centre and suggested I purchase appropriate judo mats at my own expense (over HK$8,000) and donate them to the sports centre for the enjoyment of all patrons.
The lady I spoke to agreed to the donation, but after I purchased the mats and arranged for shipment to Hong Kong, I was informed that the donation would not be accepted.
The judo mats I purchased are designed to roll up easily and may be stored in the existing space where the other mats are kept.
Despite the fact that the existing mats at the sports centre cannot be fixed together and, as I said, often move apart, exposing the hard floor, the centre's manager insisted that their existing mats were appropriate for use and that my donation would not be accepted.
Is it going to take a child's broken arm to force Stanley Sports Centre to accept a generous gift?
The absurdity of this situation is shocking.
David John Schaus, Repulse Bay
Light pollution restrictions non-existent
As a resident of Hung Hom, I am aware of Hong Kong's serious light pollution problem because it affects me.
There is a huge screen on the top of Wuhu Residence, which in the evening shows adverts for a new hotel.
I understand compromises must be made in environmental terms to allow developments to go ahead.
However, it is going too far when bright red and purple lights stream into my flat.
This light pollution has an impact on the daily lives of residents. It was affecting their sleep.
Things have improved as it is switched off at 8pm.
However, when it was causing me problems in my flat, I called the Environmental Protection Department to ask for help.
I was told there were at present no regulations which can control light pollution.
It is clear that the government should do more to address the serious light pollution problem in the city, for example, setting up a hotline for people to make complaints.
The government should be acting if light pollution from bright lights at night is adversely affecting the health of citizens.
Rachel Lam, Hung Hom