Letters to the Editor, July 23, 2016

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 23 July, 2016, 12:17am
UPDATED : Saturday, 23 July, 2016, 12:17am

Social media key weapon in terror fight

I refer to your editorial (“Pool ­resources to beat Islamic State”, July 15). By the time I was ­reading it, news of the truck attack on a crowd in France had flashed on news channels.

Almost all major nations are victims of attacks by different groups owing to faith in a single religious ideology. Mostly the attackers are young and have hardly any deep understanding of religion. Young recruiters in these militant groups will be the biggest threat for any nation.

These young people are ­easily swayed by religious preaching of a few leaders who draw their source of sustenance from ­illegal oil fields, drug trafficking, and arms smuggling. These groups create fear and threaten the economic base of nations.

Islamic nations have equally suffered like any other secular or non-Islamic countries. Many liberal Islamic countries which want to be part of global development have been reeling under an increasing number of attacks. Major European ­nations have witnessed attacks on innocent masses. The US is the biggest target for jihadists. ­India has been a continuous ­target for Islamic militants, ­despite being home to the world’s second-largest Muslim population. It is clear these groups want to use the Islamic faith to destabilise the international scenario. There will be no wars but people around the world will be under continuous threat. These groups will have an impact across many nations and challenge the very basis of sovereign states.

The time has come when all nations should help each other to identify these threats and act decisively to stamp out this menace.

Many nations are not cooperating in curbing these groups because of conflict among them. These nations and their government need to reassess and treat religious terrorism as the biggest threat for their populations.

There have been some united efforts among nations to erase the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS. Now terror groups are no longer region-specific and are scattered in many nations, using electronic means to spread their ideologies. Media and social media can play an important role in reversing this trend.

Amitabh Banerjee, Wan Chai

Economic uncertainty hard to clarify

I refer to Robert Boxwell’s article (“Tale of two nations”, July 18).

The story went, a couple of months ago, on a very creditable broadcaster’s continuous news channels, that when the world’s economy crashed in 2008, Queen Elizabeth asked, off the record, the assembled economists before the start of a ­seminar held at the London School of Economics, “Why didn’t anybody see it coming?”, there was a deathly hush. None of them spoke up. Although no doubt each had a theory to offer to the seminar, they were not sure enough of their theories to speak up in front of such august personalities.

My theory is that economics is such a “virtual reality” of a ­subject that when they speak they speak in riddles which can be interpreted any way you like. Nobody, including Alan Greenspan and George Soros, knew why the economy crashed in 1929 and so how to prevent a ­recurrence. The same is true of Robert Boxwell with many parables about Japan’s and China’s economies in his article.

However, his tangible ­comparison of e-toilet seat and no-toilet between Japan and China would have been more accurate between Japan and ­India where, even in big cities, literally you have to go out in the middle of the night to fertilise the field.

Put in tangible material terms, in the West, including Japan, people are paid far more than they are worth, especially the bank chiefs, and live beyond their means.

The saving grace with Japan is that the people are far more cohesive than the Chinese, and the government borrows from its own wealthy industrial ­leaders.

As well, Western countries, again including Japan, have more elites in their already far ­smaller and manageable populations.

But don’t worry, China, as virtually a monolithic capitalist corporation, is too big to fail.

Peter Lok, Chai Wan

Beware the overuse of e-devices

With the fast development of advanced technology, more teenagers are becoming addicted to the use of those electronic ­devices, therefore, it is clear that we have to be aware of the ­negative impact of the excessive use of these devices.

Computers and smartphones help students when they are doing school assignments, but they can be disruptive and may affect family cohesion.

Parents may think their child are neglecting their assignments when in fact they are reading online or searching for further relevant information.

It’s very easy to imagine how parents and teenagers can lose their tempers and have arguments in such cases.

Another issue is health. Overuse of devices prevents youngsters from having enough time for exercise and is a ­common cause of obesity with teens spending long periods seated.

There are other negative ­effects. A recent study suggested brain scans of children who play ­violent video games showed they had an increase in emotional arousal and a decrease in activity in brain areas involved with self-control, inhibition and the ability to focus.

Some experts suggest it is better for parents to regulate their children’s use of these ­devices. An alternative would be to block undesirable sites so that children can concentrate on their academic tasks.

Sandy Chan Lap-kiu, Yau Tong

Cancelling TV contracts too demanding

I would like to echo the ­comments of Rahil Ahuja (“Very difficult to cancel Now TV ­contract”, July 18), and point out that such obstructive termination procedures apply not only to Now TV, but also to Cable TV and HKT.

I have had the misfortune to go through the process of ­cancelling accounts with all three companies in recent months, and similar demands were made by each.

I had to get manually filled forms unobtainable online or even via supposedly secure ­customer service apps, return them by snail mail, get a call from a customer service agent “confirming” my decision and making attempts to dissuade me from carrying it through.

Contrast this with my recent closure of two bank accounts in the UK: online acquisition of forms, and cheques to my door within two weeks.

While regulation may be seen as an evil by the business community in Hong Kong, the fact is that appropriate rules and procedures that minimise inconvenience and time-wastage are lacking in certain sectors.

Geoff Carey, Sai Kung

More must be done to help homeless

You see homeless people on the streets or sleeping under bridges or in underpasses and their numbers are definitely growing in Hong Kong.

I think this social problem has got worse since the sharp rises in rents in recent years which have made it difficult for some people to make ends meet. Some cannot afford the rents and end up sleeping on the streets.

I believe more must now be done to try and alleviate the plight of the homeless. There are clearly not enough facilities to help them and the government must now tackle the issue with measures that are feasible.

One thing that certainly must be done is for the administration to increase its building programme of ­public housing ­estates. It must try and find more land on which to build these ­estates.

Also, more financial support must be provided to the poor to help them cope with such high rents.

Christy Yeung Ho-ying, Shek Kip Mei