Letters to the Editor, September 26, 2016
Hongkongers should feel more upbeat
I refer to the article, “Be thankful for what you have, Character Day campaign urges Hongkongers” (September 23).
Many Hongkongers complain about feeling depressed or stressed out. These conditions can be caused by a number of things such as limited social mobility and high house prices, which sometimes make people feel pessimistic about their future.
As a secondary school student, I am fully aware of the academic pressure many young people in Hong Kong feel.
There is so much competition in schools, with students often being told that they have to try to be the best and that if they get bad results in the Diploma of Secondary Education exam, they will fail in their lives.
To try and ensure this does not happen, they have a lot of homework and drilling and have to prepare for quizzes.
I do not know if asking these young people to be thankful for what they have can help them deal with pressure.
Although from kindergarten, they are urged to be satisfied with what they have, it is not easy for them to adopt this attitude, especially when they are under so much pressure.
However, if citizens can try to be more upbeat when they encounter difficulties, this can sometimes help them to feel less desperate.
If they compare themselves to people living in abject poverty or in countries where there is a war, they will feel less pessimistic.
I think people might be happier if they focused on what really matters.
Priscilla Ko Ka-ying, Tseung Kwan O
Cyclothon caused a lot of disruption
I understand that cycling is great exercise and the Tourism Board was trying to boost tourist numbers through the Cyclothon event. However, did it really need to bring the event to Tsim Sha Tsui? So many roads were blocked and there was back-to-back traffic for hours.
I’m sure the board knows that, with it being a Sunday, there were already a lot of people on the streets of Tsim Sha Tsui, the usual traffic of Hongkongers, helpers and tour buses. Did it really need to promote this area by shutting down traffic?
Why not limit the bike riders to the New Territories?
Surely Hongkongers can benefit from cycling in less polluted areas and tourists can see that Hong Kong has more to offer than crowded streets in urban areas.
Geeta Bhavnani, Tai Kok Tsui
Avoid making North Korea more isolated
I refer to the article in which South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se suggested that North Korea did not qualify for membership of the United Nations and that the matter should be looked into by member states (“South questions UN membership”, September 24).
Obviously South Korea has good reason to be distrustful of its northern neighbour, with the ongoing nuclear and missile tests as well as very public threats of annihilation. However with the current environment of economic sanctions clearly doing nothing to curb North Korea’s military ambitions, they perhaps feel more drastic measures are required, such as ejecting them from the UN.
But this idea is a non-starter and is counterproductive to the eventual nuclear disarmament of North Korea.
While Chapter II of the UN Charter does permit the expulsion of a member country, such a measure would surely be vetoed by China or Russia, if not both. The two have permanent seats on the UN Security Council.
Secondly, if everyone’s eventual goal is for North Korea to give up its nuclear capabilities, then pushing the country into even further isolation is surely not the answer when the North Koreans have proved time and time again that such measures do not dissuade them.
A carrot-and-stick approach may well tempt them back into cautious engagement with the outside world if they see it is to their benefit.
Nobody, not even China, wishes for a rogue nuclear armed state in Northeast Asia. But short of actually dropping their proposed super weapon on another country, it is hard to see Beijing ever completely withdrawing support from its increasingly embarrassing ally.
As long as that remains the case, then I see resumption of dialogue as the only way forward that could produce any results.
Ben La Brooy, Sham Shui Po
It is good that students talk about politics
There has been a lot of talk about independence in Hong Kong, with many citizens getting involved in the debate.
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has taken a hard line especially when it comes to discussing the topic in local schools. There have even been threats of expulsion.
However, young people continue to talk about it on school campuses, because they are concerned about the future of Hong Kong.
I know of one secondary school where a student organisation has held its political activities in secrecy and put up posters. When they talk to reporters, they refuse to reveal their identities, because they are concerned about possible retaliation.
I am glad that there are a lot of young people who are concerned about Hong Kong’s future and who, rather than being politically apathetic, want to discuss these matters. I appreciate their courage and their passion. However, not all young people are keen to get involved.
At a mock election in my school recently, there was a low turnout. This showed that many teenagers still ignore politics.
Zoe Chung Ka-man, Po Lam
We must deal with the wide rich-poor gap
Over the past few years, wealthy investors have come to Hong Kong and bought flats.
This has led to property prices and rents rising to levels that few can afford. It is virtually impossible for the less well-off to be able to purchase even a small flat.
This inability to own your own home affects all ages, including young citizens. It has a very negative impact, leading to dissatisfaction and conflict in society. Hong Kong people must realise that the wide disparity between rich and poor has become a serious problem in the city.
Something must be done about it before it gets worse.
Edwin Chung Yiu-king, Yau Tong
Build a lot more public housing estates
People from low-income households in Hong Kong have said that rents are rising faster than government subsidies.
The government should do more to help these people, with rents continuing to go up.
Hong Kong is a society where there is extreme disparity between rich and poor. Their lifestyles could not be more different, with many poor people forced to live in subdivided units, while wealthy citizens have spacious homes in areas such as Mid-Levels and The Peak.
The government should provide better living conditions for low-income households. It has to increase housing subsidies given to tenants in need. It also has to accelerate its public housing estate building programme, with more land being allocated for these flats as soon as possible.
Bonnie He, Tsuen Wan