Letters to the editor, April 30, 2016

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 30 April, 2016, 1:00pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 30 April, 2016, 1:00pm

Estates ban is doing the right thing for dogs

I love dogs. As a child we had an Irish Setter and German Shepherd. Dogs make great companions for families.

However, all animals deserve our respect as animals. To treat animals like humans can be cruel since each species has its own natural “way of life”. The laws against cruelty to animals emphasise that all domesticated animals must be kept in a “species-conform” way.

Dogs need a certain kind of freedom. They need to run free every day and to deny them the right to bark is like denying them the freedom of speech. To keep dogs on a couch, or even in a closed room in a high-rise building for the whole day, would be cruel. It does not help to send the maid to walk with the dog on a leash. I have seen many times dogs tied to a leash, sitting and waiting patiently while the maid is happily chatting on her mobile phone. Dogs which do not exercise enough may suffer from indigestion .

They need a bath once in a while, too. Unfortunately, many house corridors in Hong Kong are smelly, because too many pets are not kept in a proper way!

Before lifting the dog ban on public estates, one must assess whether individual estates are suitable for keeping animals (“Blanket dog bans on estates punishing owners”, March 27). One always has to bear in mind that not everyone likes a pet in their home and tolerance vis-à-vis a neighbour must always be a two-way traffic. Looking at the crowded conditions of many estates in Hong Kong and the absolute need to keep them clean and in good hygenic conditions, it seems clear that many estates in Hong Kong are not really suitable for keeping dogs without unduly affecting the neighbourhood in general.

A general lifting of the dog ban, especially on public estates, wouldn’t be fair to the tenants nor to the dogs.

Wolf Peter Berthold, Central

Go-ahead for organ donors long overdue

Our Asian religions date back thousand of years before the appearance of Jesus Christ. Until relatively recently, our spiritual leaders had no knowledge of organ transplants. With this limited information available to them, they did not allow tampering with dead bodies because they feared it may give rise to cannibalism and mysticism rites which would pollute the morals of mankind. There was logic in their efforts to discourage such practices.

Now 2,000 years after the death of Jesus Christ, we know that body parts can bring back life to a long list of patients who are on call waiting for organ donors. Despite this knowledge being widely available, our spiritual leaders of all religious paths are immune to such awakening and are not giving clear signals to their disciples to disregard these rituals.

Some make half-hearted ambiguous permissions to overcome these beliefs with a sour footnote warning that it is finally all up to your sweet moral and charitable judgment. No clean bill of approval.

What’s needed is a religious awakening or some bold monetary award scheme to donors to keep the cycle of life rolling.

Nalini Daswani, Tsim Sha Tsui

LGBT equality must be a priority

The opportunity for Hong Kong to host the Gay Games is a chance for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community to show that being homosexual is to be normal (“Hong Kong to propose hosting the gay Olympics”, April 24).

In a city where same-sex relationships remain unrecognised by a government that fails to understand that inclusion and participation are core values of a mature society, the Gay Games allows an understanding of diversity to be presented through sport, where it is not your sexual orientation but rather your ability that matters. It will also allow those who perceive the homosexual and transgender community as one defined purely along sexual desire to understand that being LGBT is to be a part of the fabric of every community in Hong Kong.

Founded in 1994 to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, arguably the start of the modern LGBT movement, the games have become a beacon of inclusion and tolerance; two values Hong Kong has in recent years lost.

I hope Hong Kong wins, but if it does not, to have been selected should remind our government that to be a world-class city, we need world-class values, and the recognition of same-sex marriages and the acknowledgement that the LGBT community is equal must ensue.

Mark Peaker, The Peak

Time to get serious about wetlands

Inner Deep Bay is an internationally important wetland and it is no longer acceptable for the government to pretend it is protecting it when its feeble efforts prove otherwise. The Development Bureau needs to carefully read Shannon Mason’s letter “Wetlands are critical for our biodiversity” (April 25) and reconsider its bland “no plans to amend the ordinance” comment.

The analysis by WWF-Hong Kong clearly shows planning officials have been dragging their feet for far too long (“Enforcement failure in protected Hong Kong wetlands area”, April 25). Why not increase manpower in the Planning Department and make sure the penalties are no longer lenient and actually fit this heinous crime? It seems the ostrich-like “if I bury my head in the sand the problem will go away” mentality still prevails in government, even when enforcement failure in protecting Inner Deep Bay is splattered all over the newspapers.

Obviously an urgent overhaul of the ordinance is immediately required. It is about time offenders have the smirk wiped off their faces instead of allowing them to fill in fish ponds with impunity. Such people are totally ignorant about the severe ecological damage they are causing. To them, money matters most. If they are forced to part with their ill-gained cash, it might force them to think twice.

Perhaps someone from the Development Bureau can tell us why it is not taking steps to implement the suggestions from WWF-Hong Kong? Or is any effort to immediately take action too much to expect?

Joan Miyaoka, Sha Tin

Little to show for our focus on homework

I watched a programme on ViuTV in early April which showed what happened when Primary Four students from Hong Kong, Finland and Shanghai exchanged their maths homework and tried to complete it.

We found that the Hong Kong student knew how to do the maths homework from Finland, but did not know how to do the homework from Shanghai. Meanwhile, the Shanghai student said he was not sure how to answer the questions found in the exercise. The Finnish student took just 10 minutes to complete the homework.

The programme found that in Finland, students do not have homework and just do their exercises during lessons. They spend more time playing rather than doing revision or focusing on academic work, yet they have the best results in Europe.

Despite Hong Kong students’ focus on academic exercises, they are not the best in Asia. Maybe we should follow Finland’s example.

Alice Ma, Tseung Kwan O