Letters to the Editor, September 10, 2015

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 September, 2015, 4:05pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 September, 2015, 4:05pm

Reminded of damage done by conflicts

It must have been a great relief for the people of China on September 2, 1945, when Japan surrendered. They felt relieved that the second world war was at an end. This made the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of that surrender, in Beijing, on September 3, so important.

It helped to remind us of the damage done by war and the fact that we face threats of war throughout the world, including in this region. For example, relations between China and Japan, and North and South Korea are strained. Therefore the announcement on September 3, by President Xi Jinping , of a cut in troop numbers by 300,000 sounded a positive note.

There is so much distrust among countries, especially when there is a military build-up, and you seldom see them agreeing to cut back their military strength.

Instead of focusing on war, I wish countries would spend more time looking at other issues, such as, raising the status of women in developing nations like Iraq and Pakistan. Also, there is a need to ensure children in such countries get an education.

We are more likely to find paths to lasting peace if countries can seek a common ground.

Nations must be willing to make compromises.

Cindy Yuen Wing-sze, Kwun Tong

Beijing sent a clear warning to Japan

As your editorial pointed out ("Commemorating China's sacrifice", September 3), outsiders can be forgiven for misreading the central government's intentions with its victory parade in Beijing last Thursday.

But whatever intentions others may read, the one message China wishes to send with its show of force is clear. This is, that any continued attempts by an unrepentant and delinquent Japan to smear China and thwart China's recovery of sovereignty in the South, and East, China Sea under the terms of the 1943 Cairo Declaration and the 1945 Potsdam Declaration, which Japan signed as its instruments of unconditional surrender, will be met with severe censure and discipline.

This warning would be unnecessary had Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in his statement on the 70th year of Japan's unconditional surrender made an unequivocal apology for the country's past aggression.

Also, he should have pledged not to subvert the terms of the Cairo and Potsdam declarations, and/or accepted China's invitation to the victory parade in Beijing. Abe chose not to do these things.

It is therefore not China which missed the opportunity for reconciliation as contended by Professor Steve Tsang in his article ("Missed opportunity", September 2), but Abe.

W. L. Chang, Discovery Bay 

Backing Xi's guarantor of peace pledge

I refer to the report "China will be guarantor of post-war peace: Xi" (September 4).

President Xi Jinping made his comments at the parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the victory against Japanese aggression in 1945. And he announced cuts of 300,000 troops in the People's Liberation Army.

The 20th century had devastating conflicts with two world wars, resulting in millions of deaths of soldiers and civilians.

We have to recognise how important it is to maintain peace.

Technology is now so advanced that countries have weapons that are even more devastating than in the past.

Given China's size and its high standing on the international stage, I am sure it can be a guarantor of peace.

I hope all countries can work together to ensure a peaceful world.

Kassandra Wong, Tseung Kwan O 

China is still missing in action

On September 4, the South China Morning Post ran an excellent overview of China's show of force aligned with the humiliation suffered during the second world war.

Clearly, China has global ambitions and illustrated quite effectively what Winston Churchill might call "a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma". On your editorial page, on the same day, you ran a very impassioned plea for the world to do something about Islamic State, and the fact that more needed to be done ("Toughen stance on Islamic State").

At the same time, Harry, in his spot-on cartoon, had the US side by side with China. China's Panda says "We want to be guardians of post-war world order and peace". The US Uncle Sam says "Great, when can you start?"

This really is the question for China: At what point does the bluster and all the investment in hardware lead to action that suggests being guardians of world order and peace?

The coalition to fight Islamic State includes 60 countries. China is not one of them.

So much for the show of power and the promise of leadership. China is still missing in action.

When will the mystery become obvious?

Mark G. Hooper, Pok Fu Lam 

Older workers can pass on experience

I refer to the letter by Joshua Tam ("Many elderly want to work for longer", September 2).

Your correspondent said age discrimination should be outlawed and that it was not right employers would not allow staff to continue working because of their age.

Given that Hong Kong has an ageing population, the government should be encouraging employers to give job opportunities to older citizens.

They may be reluctant because of someone's age, but that person will bring a wealth of experience that he or she has acquired after decades of working.

Older workers can pass that experience and their skills on to the younger generation of employees and offer them valuable advice.

This sort of guidance is invaluable to younger people and can help them improve their performance.

This is a fast-paced and expensive city and some residents struggle to get by. You see some elderly trying to supplement their incomes by collecting discarded material for recycling and this is not right.

When you witness them living like this, you feel that society is neglecting some of our elderly citizens and failing to address their needs.

I am sure there are productive jobs older people could do for various organisations and charities.

They have a right to enjoy a comfortable life in their old age.

Agnes Tsoi, Tseung Kwan O

More visits for elderly living in poverty

The problem of elderly citizens living in poverty is attracting a lot of attention. The government should be trying to tackle it.

Many Hongkongers are forced to retire at 60 or 65. However, many of them who find themselves in this position would like to keep working.

Some want to do so, because without a wage coming in, they will have financial problems as they have to rely on government subsidies that they receive every month.

If that is all the money that is coming in, it is unlikely to be enough to meet their financial needs. This is why many are forced to collect and sell discarded material for recycling.

It is especially difficult for those who have no children to help them out.

The government must do more to help the elderly citizens who are living in poverty.

It should increase the subsidies that are already available, such as the Old Age Living Allowance, to those individuals who are obviously in financial dire straits.

It should also ensure that these senior citizens get regular visits from social workers, especially if they are living alone.

These social workers are in the best position to make judgments about a situation and determine what support that person needs, such as, for example, food and health care.

As a society, we cannot turn a blind eye to the needs of our elderly who are living below the poverty line.

Yumi Wong Sheung-yi,Tiu Keng Leng 

Firefighters faced needless risks at blaze

The deaths of firefighters trying to deal with the aftermath of the blasts at the Tianjin warehouse last month raised questions about lack of information.

The local fire department does not appear to have collected sufficient information about what materials were in the warehouse. One firefighter said that no one at the scene had alerted crews that there were chemicals that should not come into contact with water.

Many of them realised too late the threat they faced from trying to extinguish the blaze in the wrong way, simply because they did not know what was stored in the warehouse and the threat it posed.

Firefighters in Japan, when handling a fire, look at the safety issue before going in. They establish just exactly what they are dealing with before deciding how to put it out.

I hope the authorities on the mainland will consult with fire departments from Japan so that in future their firefighters are better prepared and protected.

The central government must learn lessons from this tragedy and ensure more effective procedures are in force to deal with serious incidents.

Jerry Yu, Tseung Kwan O