Letters to the Editor, August 5, 2016
Worst aspects of US culture during election
The forthcoming election campaign for the presidency of the United States will be one of the meanest and dirtiest in recent history.
The fact that a woman, Hillary Clinton, is running is certain to bring out some of the worst aspects of US political and social culture with its deep-rooted macho and military impulses.
Americans, by and large, have a self-image that is noble and progressive – a nation chosen by providence to guide the world. After all, didn’t they fight in the first world war 100 years ago to “make the world safe for democracy”? And didn’t they rescue the world from Nazi domination and Japanese expansionism? But this benign, self-justifying image is used to conceal the neo-imperialistic history of the US, especially in Latin America, where dictators were given ample weapons to suppress their citizens.
Do readers recall the Falklands War when a British submarine sank the Argentinian cruiser Belgrano? It was an American warship that had been sold to the generals, no great defenders of human rights.
The “banana republics” of Central America got that name because US fruit companies wanted cheap labour and political control delivered by their dictator friends, backed up by US-trained soldiers.
Empires in the past and in the present can only exist by threatening and using force, for example, weapons, the form of diplomacy that men are most fond of. The US is the world’s largest arms exporter and its military/industrial complex is supreme. Even China apes this model so we can expect severe tensions for decades to come.
What has this got to do with a woman’s campaign to be president? A great deal because the pervasive macho/military culture will fight it tooth and nail. There is a lot of money at stake. The future social values of the US are also at stake.
As psychologists tell us and as we see in some religions, insecure men will do and say anything to demean and degrade women who want to change society.
There are now about three months to the US election.
In the days and weeks to come, get ready to see and hear the Republican Party unleash a torrent of mud and calumnies against Mrs Clinton in defence of its noble self-image.
Jason Kuylein, Stanley
Once-pristine beaches are now a mess
The famed sandy beaches of Cheung Sha on Lantau have become victims of the carelessness of irresponsible citizens and the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department of Hong Kong.
Once known for its clean and golden sands, it has now become a dumping ground for typhoons and the earth’s uncaring children.
In the past, you could rely on walking on clean beaches on a weekend morning, but nowadays it is the norm to see the beaches turned into rubbish dumps.
What are we doing to nature’s beauty? Where are the department officers and what are they doing?
D. Liang, Sham Tseng
Game brings some families closer together
I refer to the report (“Pokemon master arrives in Hong Kong on worldwide quest to complete his collection”, August 3).
The mobile phone game Pokemon Go has become a global craze. The man who has been dubbed a Pokemon master, Nick Johnson, says he is the first person to catch all the Pokemon in the US and is on a quest to catch them in different regions.
This just shows the impact the game has had on people throughout the world.
In Hong Kong, some netizens have said the game will bring more harm than good as many players waste a lot of time trying to catch Pokemon and some put themselves at risk on roads as they do not look where they are going.
They also talk about the negative effect the game has on personal relationships, where people regard playing on their smartphone as being more important than face-to-face communication – it is known as “phubbing” and it obviously affects the communication skills of “phubbers”.
Yet, I notice that Pokemon Go players do talk a lot to each other, so in that regard, there is more communication as they exchange information. In fact it may improve relations between teenagers and their parents, because it is not just youngsters who have been swept up by Pokemon Go, parents are also involved, so families can play together.
Also, more people are taking the tram, because it is easier to play the game on board as they travel at slow speeds. And it means that these players can enjoy the marvellous views of the city from the upper deck.
This is happening all over the world where people are discovering new locations and beautiful scenery as they play the game.
Of course, there is no way of knowing how long this craze will last.
Cathy Lo, Tseung Kwan O
Blame users, not Pokemon, for accidents
Concerns have been raised about whether the mobile augmented reality game Pokemon Go could present safety risks. And with it becoming a global phenomenon, questions are also being raised about some players becoming addicted.
There have also been reports of people not paying attention to where they are and straying into bad areas of cities where they get mugged. There have been road traffic accidents and one player stole a boat in order to try and catch a Pokemon in a lake.
There have been similar examples of irresponsible behaviour in Hong Kong with some people playing it even when typhoon signal No 8 was raised.
The Education Bureau and Hospital Authority have said they do not want the game to be played in their schools and hospitals.
However, we cannot blame the game for this. The original aim of the creators of Pokemon Go was to encourage teenagers to leave their bedrooms and get outside. And there is the case of the autistic boy who left his home and went outside for the first time in five years to play the game.
It is the people who are at fault. It is the same as recognising that computers are not to blame for cybercrime, the blame lies with the criminals who use the computers to achieve their immoral aims.
A computer programme is always neutral, it is up to the user to decide what to do with it.
People just need to exercise some self-control when they are playing the game and take care so they can avoid having an accident.
Joyce Lee, Tseung Kwan O
Appalled by treatment of jailed Christian
A prominent Christian on the mainland has been found guilty of subversion and sentenced to more than seven years in prison.
The case of Hu Shigen, who was active in China’s underground church movement, is one of scores of Christians targeted under the Chinese Communist Party’s crackdown on believers. Despite his confession to “foreign anti-China forces”, otherwise known as Christianity, there is little evidence that Hu is guilty of the charges laid against him.
According to Jerome Cohen, an expert on Chinese law, who was quoted in an article in The Guardian, these “ ‘confessions’ are reminiscent of the ‘brainwashing’ era of the 1950s for which the new China became infamous”.
The international community can ill-afford to remain silent on Hu’s case, or the scores of political prisoners who have “confessed” to crimes they did not commit under coercion they did not deserve.
Those who recall the horrors that ravaged China in the 1950s, and the millions who perished during the Great Leap Forward, would be remiss not to speak up on behalf of China’s beleaguered Christians.
Brian Stuckey, Denver, Colorado, US