Letters to the Editor, September 05, 2015

PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 September, 2015, 4:42pm
UPDATED : Friday, 04 September, 2015, 4:42pm

Discrimination against gays not acceptable

I refer to the letter by Ndemio Stephane ("Gay rights simply not an issue in Kenya", August 17).

Your correspondent wrote that while we should try to eliminate discrimination, say, against gender and race, we should not force different countries to promote gay rights as we should respect their traditions and culture.

I agree that we should respect the cultures of other countries, but does that mean we must tolerate discrimination?

There are many countries and religions which are against same-sex relationships. Kenya is just one example. But that does not justify discrimination. It is wrong to single out gay people. It has to be recognised that they also have rights.

Many people from sexual minority groups still find it difficult to come out, because they are afraid of being treated differently at school or in the workplace. People with a different sexual orientation struggle with their identity as they are growing up. But they are not to blame; they were born this way.

With the American Supreme Court legalising same-sex marriage, it is high time Hong Kong dealt with this issue. Our government should outlaw discrimination against sexual minorities.

Even if someone feels uncomfortable when they see two men holding hands in public, they should not insult them.

We also need to teach children to recognise that people have different sexual orientation and to respect this. Some youngsters will still discriminate against peers who they know to be gay, because this is what their parents have taught them.

The government has to ensure there is more education in schools about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. We can fight discrimination effectively through legislation and education.

Phoebe Tong, Fanling

Residents' lives turned upside down at estate

I have had first-hand experience of the problem of water tainted by lead as I live in one of the affected estates, Kai Ching.

I moved in just after construction of the estate was completed in 2013.

I have witnessed the ways in which residents have been inconvenienced by this problem.

Once the lead contamination was made public, estate residents became very concerned about the possible long-term effects of drinking this tainted water.

Now, in our daily lives, we seldom use water from the tap. We get clean water in various ways - free bottles and a newly-installed temporary taps. However, this is proving very inconvenient, especially for elderly people who are living alone.

It takes a lot of effort to carry home heavy buckets and bottles filled with water and many residents have to make several trips. If they find they do not have enough for cooking they go out again. This has disrupted our daily lives and more must be done.

I hope the Housing Authority will examine its own track record with a critical eye and recognise the need to make improvements.

Its officials must have more regular and comprehensive inspections of estates while they are being constructed.

This will ensure that a problem, for example, with pipes, can be indentified as soon as possible and corrected promptly.

The authority's checking system is clearly inadequate and changes are essential. Its priority must be to ensure the safety of residents.

This water scandal has brought a great deal of discomfort to citizens.

The Housing Authority and the main contractors who were responsible for what happened must rectify the problems.

Tan Qiqi, Kowloon City

High price for third-rate Now TV package

I watched the world athletics championships from Beijing on Fox. Overall the coverage over the two weeks was not at all bad.

However, my blood boiled on Sunday evening, the last day of the event, when the final of the women's javelin was showing.

The Chinese girl Lyu Huihui was ahead and looked almost certain to win gold.

Only one more throw to go from the German Kathrina Molitor and the gold medal would be won by China, that was, unless the German managed a better throw. Unfortunately we never saw the German's throw as the Now TV director decided to switch to a commercial break.

Two minutes later when we were returned to the competition, it was all over - the gold had gone to the German. So we never saw the exciting finale.

This is typical of the very unprofessional Now TV organisation.

We pay a high price for a very third-rate package, no wonder so many subscribers are switching to other alternatives now on offer.

Howard Cowley, Kennedy Town

Climate is an extremely complex issue

I refer to the letter by Joseph Ting ("We all need to pitch in to reduce impact on planet's health", August 30).Your correspondent lives well away from the "ecological assaults of burgeoning humanity" that he refers to.

He advises us, from Brisbane of all places, that, with a concerted effort by mere "billions", each day, to pull our weight.

He says if people walk and cycle more, buy small fuel-efficient cars, use public transport, recycle more and elect the right leaders (who will force us to change our ways), the planet might survive humanity's impact on its climate and ecology in the medium to long term.

One wonders if he has any suggestions concerning the mass emigration crisis, terrorism and armed conflicts. We face these and many other more immediate issues every day, without having to worry about non-existent, potentially catastrophic, global warming.

His concern about the degradation of the environment by human masses and their waste, however, is acknowledged and supported. But let us not confuse this with climate change/global warming and the nonsense that the fossil fuel-dependent economies of the world are to blame.

Science tells us that climate is an extremely complex issue involving chemical reactions on vastly small and gigantic scales, still little understood, and upon which, if at all, humanity has a minuscule impact.

Perhaps he can relocate to some megacity like Mumbai or Lagos and start to assist some of these "billions" in getting their act together before it is too late.

It is a shame he appears to have little faith in the ingenuity of man.

G. Bailey, Ta Kwu Ling

Children not learning how to interact

Years ago, and before the widespread use of smartphones, you would see children having fun with their parents and friends, for example, in playgrounds, theme parks, or when learning to ride a bicycle.

However, now so many adults seem to spend a lot of time focused on their mobiles. And the children are playing games on their mobiles or watching videos on YouTube.

This is really a fundamental change in society. It may obstruct the healthy development of some children, so that they could face difficulties later in their lives.

As they spend so much time on different electronic devices, they will talk less with peers and family members.

This could mean they grow up with poor communication skills.

They will not have learned properly how to interact with other people. And if they are staying indoors, on computers most of the time, they will not get enough exercise.

Children who spend a lot of time on their smartphones may be influenced by parents who are doing the same thing. After all, they are very impressionable.

My smartphone is less important than playing volleyball with my friends, shopping with my parents or cooking.

Of course, I use the phone to find important information, but updating Facebook or Instagram is a waste of time.

Life is short. We should treasure the time we can spend with the people we love.

To parents, I would say you must make the effort to pay more attention to your children and less to your mobiles. They are cuter than your phone.

Christy Lam, Tseung Kwan O

Pen strokes instead of keystrokes

Let us hope that there are many more like Melody Ho, who urges us to stop texting and start writing with a pen ("Don't allow handwriting to become lost art", August 26).

Handwriting, she rightly says, conveys real beauty, and much of the character of the writer. And the relative permanence of handwriting requires us to think carefully what we want to say before we put ink on paper; there is no delete key on a pen.

Giving up typing completely is a vain hope in this technological age, but why not write letters to friends overseas instead of e-mailing?

There is real satisfaction in this, and real joy for the recipient. And, especially if you use a fountain pen instead of ballpoint, the humblest letter or postcard will always be welcome.

As Francis Bacon (1561-1626) said, "Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man."

Gordon Robinson, Sai Kung