Letters to the Editor, May 14, 2016

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 14 May, 2016, 12:17am
UPDATED : Saturday, 14 May, 2016, 12:16am

Breastfeeding brings out worst in some

I refer to the picture caption (“Hungry for change”, May 8) showing protesting mothers calling for an end to the discrimination they face when breastfeeding in public. This issue has proved to be controversial in this so called equitable society.

People, especially the government, always promote the idea of being healthy. Then how come there is no law to protect those mighty mothers, who are not afraid to breastfeed in the public? They have to put up with discriminatory gazes.

With the intention of feeding babies in healthy way, these mothers contribute a lot.

They have to wake up during the night, sometimes stop eating their favourite food. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the nutrition value of mother’s milk is high, and is more natural, healthy and ­reliable than formula.

It is ridiculous that when some Hongkongers see ­mothers breastfeeding in ­public, they ask them to move to the nearest toilet. Is this really fair? Would these people be ­willing to eat a meal in a toilet?

Breastfeeding is a normal practice abroad, such as in ­Europe. Hong Kong as an international financial hub should be protecting these mothers. This is the morally right thing to do.

It is to be hoped that the government legislates to give ­mothers the right to breastfeed in public in an attempt to raise awareness of the importance of breastfeeding.

Jasmine Chan, Tseung Kwan O

Take shark’s fin soup off banquet menu

I refer to the report (“Shippers targeted over shark fin”, May 5).

The extinction of some ­species of sharks is a real danger and Hong Kong, being a major seaborne transshipment for ­cargo of shark fins, should be at the centre of this long-term conservation battle.

If trading of shark fins or other illegal stocks is not banned effectively, the balance of the environment will be seriously disturbed.

Concerning the consumption of shark fins, people ­consider shark fins represent a level of social status. From the old days, Chinese people would like to have shark’s fin dishes on the menus for banquets. Therefore, the demand for shark fins increases.

In order to save the numbers of sharks, we have to decline the consumption of fins by teaching the public and suggesting ­another dish to replace the shark’s fin soup.

Moreover, it is significant for shark fin traders and companies to understand the legal, environmental and reputational risks of carrying shark fin.

When the supplies of shark fins are reduced, the price of them must rise. So, the numbers of people willing to pay for shark fins will be fewer.

In this regard, government plays an important role in ­banning the transportation of fins.

Iris Law Ka-yee, Yau Yat Chuen

A long-term plan key to end child abuse

I refer to the letter by Tom ­Mulvey (“Department has no long-term planning to help ­at-risk child”, May 8).

Your correspondent mentioned that child abuse was not the main reason why most children are in care.

Those children we need to be in care were not generally abused by their parents, as most people think, but actually the Social Welfare Department “abused” them with derisory and inadequate support. Short-term solutions for ad hoc cases don’t help and only a long-term strategy can alleviate the ­problem of children in Hong Kong receiving inadequate care.

Hopefully, citizens will ­become more aware of the problem, whether they are ­parents or not. It is time to change our thinking for the sake of future generations .

By simply researching online all of us can see that the ­problem of family violence and the lack of care to children is much more widespread than we expected.

As an example, with a reference to one survey, 31 per cent of primary students have experienced physical or psychological maltreatment which is an ­astonish percentage and hardly seems possible.

There are many factors ­affecting the existence and ­severity of family violence and the neglect of children.

First, many surveys done by different social welfare organisations have proved the parenting that parents received in their childhood and their education level have the most profound ­effect on whether problems exist. The finding has mapped out a cycle of child care problems in the domain of abuse.

If we want to prevent the problem, we need to change the traditional mindset of “punishment makes children better and more obedient”.

Parents in future must adopt a different approach and be aware of the best methods of parenting to raise mentally and physically healthy children.

The government can ask the Education Bureau to provide some discussions for students and parents and explain the disadvantages of the lack of care to a child. This can help improve the parenting style for the next generation as children are the parents of the future.

Jacky Hui, Tseung Kwan O

University not the ultimate meal ticket

I refer to Professor Sun Kwok’s article in which he says universities should not be seen as ­diploma mills (“Long study hours for Hong Kong students will only kill their appetite for learning”, April 6).

As a student who sat for this year’s Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE), I read with great interest his views on the city’s flawed education ­system. Professor Sun’s ­comments are a reminder to ­local students and the public that the primary function of a university education is to ­broaden students’ horizons and empower their thinking.

It is often the pragmatic nature of Hong Kong society that leads to the misconception that universities are merely a tool to enhance career prospects.

Some of my schoolmates and friends believe that they might find a more well-paid job if they could get good results in the public examination and enter a reputable university. It was even reported that a ­number of candidates of this year’s HKDSE exam skipped school and did their revisions overnight at fast food outlets. Many of them regard a university place as the indicator of ­success.

Not only does this reflect the huge academic pressure and fierce competition facing local students, it is also detrimental to their mental and physical ­well-being. As Professor Sun said in his article, the intense amount of work at school and after-school tutorial centres makes students very exhausted.

By the time these youngsters are admitted to university, they have lost their passion for ­learning. If a university degree equals a meal ticket for a job, how are our universities ­different from trade or vocational schools?

Ben L. P. Tsang, Yuen Long

Adopting a dog needs careful consideration

I refer to the letter by Bernard Lo (“Adopt a dog instead of buying one”, May 9).

I totally agree with this suggestion and I hope more Hongkongers will come to think this way.

Many people act on impulse when buying a pet which is why so many abandoned dogs and cats have to be put down every month.

Although adopting a pet can save the life of one of these abandoned animals, people need to think carefully before making that decision and ask if they really can take care of them over the long term. They also have to ask if there is enough room in their flat for a dog.

The government should take measures to encourage people to adopt abandoned dogs in Hong Kong.

Dogs are living creatures ­deserving of our respect.

Alexander Leung, Tseung Kwan O