Letters to the Editor, May 28, 2016

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 28 May, 2016, 12:16am
UPDATED : Saturday, 28 May, 2016, 12:15am

Tolerance of varying voices long overdue

Fifty years ago, Mao Zedong (毛澤東), launched the devastating Cultural Revolution, which brought cultural, economic and political turmoil for 10 years to China. A lot of people became victims of the movement ­because of their political views or identities.

Forty years after the ­campaign ended its effect is not yet completely erased – the country still cannot tolerate ­different voices.

The central government rarely allows differing views, using its power to crack down on freedom of speech. Various kinds of censorship have been introduced, such as the “Great Firewall”, to block foreign information, just to stop people ­expressing their opinions and ideas contradicting the official party line.

Those who speak against the regime are punished and dissidents and petitioners such as Liu Xiaobo (劉曉波) have felt the party’s wrath. Lawyers and even victims’ relatives are powerless to help as they also would be persecuted.

Thanks to the education ­system, many mainlanders lack critical thinking skills and blindly obey and trust the party’s mythologies without doub.

Facing those opposing the party, the loyalists' strategy is to be illogical and viciously ­abusive in any debates. Some of them send offensive blocks as netizens online. The behaviour of some of them is reminiscent of the Cultural Revolution.

It is startling that so many Chinese people recall Mao as a marvellous leader, even stating that the Cultural Revolution was good when in fact their so-called liberator gained them no freedoms but delivered an endless nightmare.

In an interview, former Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference member Lew Mon-hung, who has been found guilty of perverting the course of justice, said that when arriving in Hong Kong during the Cultural Revolution, he realised that liberty offered him the safety to read different newspapers, without the fear of punishment.

Henry Wong, Kennedy Town

Bar set too high to join food truck scheme

I am writing to express my view on the government’s food truck pilot scheme.

Its requirements for applicants are too tough and deny individuals with fewer financial ­resources from applying to operate a food truck. The government wants food trucks to have a diesel generator, a water tank with a capacity of at least 120 litres and a container to hold at least 180 litres of waste water – regardless of the type of food served. All that would come at an estimated HK$700,000 investment as a start-up cost.

In my opinion, such a requirement sets the threshold too high and harms the interests of people with average means who would want to try to set up a food truck business .

In Hong Kong, food is an integral part of our way of life and is mainly sold by hawkers or small shops which have a long history.

We all know that a HK$700,000 investment is a heavy financial burden for most people and discourages the average citizen from being able to consider participating in the food truck pilot scheme.

Dickens Mok, Tseung Kwan O

Use plastic food wrap sparingly

I am writing to express my views on reducing plastic wrap in shops.

A Hong Kong resident has launched a campaign with a group of other expatriate ­women calling on supermarket chains to cut down on individual plastic packaging of fruit and vegetables.

I fully support them as I know some plastic can take a long time to fully decompose. The overuse of plastic will put a lot of pressure on the city’s landfills.

If humans keep using plastic without slowing their consumption, landfills in Hong Kong will soon be full.

Furthermore, creating too much plastic is also harmful to the wildlife. Our next generation will have a lot of trouble dealing with landfill problems.

I think shops and supermarkets should start considering cutting back on plastic packaging which is now used widely to individually wrap a lot of fruit and vegetables. It’s such an environmentally unfriendly practice.

I understand organic fruit and vegetables are pre-packed to prevent cross-contamination with conventional products and also minimise spoilage and water loss.

Nevertheless, I think shops should strike a balance between food quality and environmental responsibility, like reducing ­useless plastics for wrapping food.

Only with the help of citizens and retailers can we hope to ­improve the dire landfill problems. Hong Kong is our home and we should all do our best to protect it.

Joanne Kwong Chung-ki, Kowloon Tong

Parents should support and not badger

I am concerned about the ­immense pressure felt by Hong Kong students which has even driven some to commit suicide.

Many students are desperately stressed, as highlighted in a survey conducted by Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups which interviewed around 4,000 primary and secondary school students. The ­results showed that 25 per cent of students have extremely high levels of stress, while 40 per cent feel anxious about the new school year.

Since the beginning of the school there has been a spate of student suicides.

When it comes to excessive pressure I think that the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) examination is a factor.

It puts a lot of pressure on students and it starts when they are in Form Three because from that time there is a lot of information about choosing the right subject and how HKDSE determines their future.

Lots of students push themselves very hard to get level five or even 5* in the exam, so that they can get into university. They are under intense pressure and some cannot find a way to release and may end up feeling depressed and even having ­suicidal thoughts.

In my view, parents are also a reason students have to bear too much stress because some of them push their children too hard. Many have high expectations which not every child can meet.

I suggest parents and ­students spend more time in face-to-face communication. Parents could then begin to understand the tough situation that students face and give them more support and encouragement.

Also, schools can add more professional psychological help to confront the stress.

Christine Poon, Sham Shui Po

Students need gym time to avoid obesity

I refer to the report (“Younger obesity sufferers seek help”, May 23).

The report mentioned that around 40 per cent of people aged below 30 are obese and weigh as much as 200kg.

Nowadays, students or teenagers don’t do enough exercise, not even little warm-up exercises. They commonly go to school around at around 8am and get back home around 4pm. For around seven hours they are stuck to a classroom chair and will not walk anywhere.

Schools and the government can play a key role in preventing obesity.

They should provide healthy food and build well-equipped gym rooms so that students can avoid the health issues that accompany obesity.

I hope the problem of overweight youths will improve within a few years.

Jocelly Tse, Tseung Kwan O