Letters to the Editor, November 20, 2016

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 20 November, 2016, 12:19am
UPDATED : Sunday, 20 November, 2016, 12:19am

Preaching love but not fighting discrimination

I believe that the appointment of ­Michael Yeung Ming-cheung, as coadjutor bishop of Hong Kong, indicates the unwillingness of the Catholic Church to accept the lesbian, gay, bisexual, ­transgender (LGBT) ­community.

Bishop Yeung had compared homosexuals to drug addicts while expressing his disagreement with homosexuality. He said that even if he disagreed with homosexuals’ behaviour, “I still love and respect them” (“Protesters besiege coadjutor bishop seeking answers”, ­November 15).

It is an unfair comparison. Drug addiction is obviously wrong, while homosexuality, ­although socially disapproved of in Hong Kong, is not a “sin” as some Christians so often assert.

Many conservative Christians say they love homosexuals while decrying the act of homosexuality. If they love and ­respect those in the LGBT ­community, why do they ­oppose the enactment of anti-LGBT ­discrimination laws in Hong Kong?

As an international city, Hong Kong should be a beacon of inclusion, an exemplar for others to follow. But, it is the ­regrettable truth that a ­simple law against discrimination of sexual orientation still has not been passed.

I urge fellow citizens to ­support this law, because it is only fair that people should not have­­ to suffer the plight of ­discrimination.

Ryan Yeung Wai-yen, San Po Kong

Keep outdoor pools open for whole year

Although we have been enjoying warm weather for much of this month, the outdoor public pools have been closed for more than two weeks.

Isn’t it about time this so-called world city ensured all its pools remained open all year?

Given the dearth of public sports and fitness facilities across the city, it seems rather disappointing that the outdoor pools are closed for five months.

Swimming is a very effective (and efficient) way to exercise. It helps maintain a positive work-life balance and can ensure a greater sense of well-being.

I appreciate there are costs involved in heating pools but the benefits are far more important. A 12-month swimming season would provide a valued community service, employment opportunities, and a healthier (and happier) population. What a great use of taxpayer’s money.

I would also urge the Leisure and Cultural Services Department to consider opening the pools at 5am so that workers can exercise before they start their daily grind.

This is the case in other “world cities”. Offer early bird aqua-robic classes, aqua-therapy sessions, swimming ­lessons and water polo.

Finally, would the department please ensure that one or (even better) two lanes are ­designated for those able to swim freestyle and looking for a ­serious workout.

Currently, every lane is a slow lane (full of people swimming the breaststroke).

Barry Dalton, Sai Kung

Time to get tough with smugglers

I agree with animal protection groups which have urged the government to impose (minimum) seven-year jail terms for people smuggling wildlife and wildlife products such as ivory.

They want to ensure that an effective deterrent is in place to curb this practice.

The plight of so many ­animals in the wild in many parts of the world is serious. If these smugglers continue to act with impunity or face lenient penalties, some species will soon be extinct.

Also, the government should not just increase jail terms, but where prison is not seen as being appropriate in a particular case, those convicted should face much heavier fines, so that they are punished financially.

The message has to get through to these smugglers that society regards their crimes as serious.

Don Wong, Hang Hau

Why deeper understanding of nation vital

The decision of the Legislative Council to have Chinese history taught in junior secondary schools has led to a heated ­debate among educators, ­lawmakers and students.

It is heated because of ­tensions on issues related to China and Hong Kong, especially in the light of the ­oath-taking controversy.

Within my peer group of ­fellow teenagers, I have noticed ­growing resistance to the central government. I hear comments which express strong dislike, bordering on hatred. However, holding such views is not helpful when it comes to ­future relations between Hong Kong and the rest of China, politically and economically. Some of the present problems can be put down to misunderstanding and cultural differences.

As a secondary school ­student, I believe that throughout the six years at secondary level, Chinese history should be a compulsory course. This will ­enable students to have a deeper knowledge of what has happened in China in the past and what is happening now. We can then understand how the country’s history is tied to Hong Kong and modern China.

Having a deeper grasp of ­history enhances independent, rational and critical thinking. It helps us not to be easily misled by public opinion and some of what we read in the media.

I can understand the concerns of parents and teachers that this could turn into a form of brainwashing. To prevent this happening, there must be careful discussion of the syllabus with educators, schools, parents and students.

Anfield Tam, Quarry Bay

HSBC replied promptly to complaint

Further to my letter (“Not able to use HSBC card at its Malta banks”, November 5) and the comments by Christopher ­Ruane (“HSBC must fix overseas ATM problems”, November 14) regarding access to HSBC Hong Kong accounts via overseas ATMs, HSBC has been quick to respond.

I received a full refund of the Visa cash advance fee and a ­letter apologising for the ­inconvenience caused. I was ­offered ­another ATM card that had not only UnionPay access but also access to other more popular networks.

I did not know that such a card existed and accepted the offer to which I am now awaiting the appropriate forms being supplied by the bank.

Had I known of such a card, it would have saved a great deal of ATM searching to find a bank that has access to UnionPay.

Ian W. Johnston, Discovery Bay

Stop stores selling alcohol to under-18s

I back calls for the government to introduce strict regulations to stop shops selling alcohol to anyone under the age of 18.

There are a number of factors which encourage youngsters to start drinking, including peer pressure and behaviour by ­parents.

There is also the feeling among some young people that, by drinking alcohol, it makes them seem more mature. And a survey has shown that children as young as 10 experiment with drinking alcohol.

The government can no longer ignore this problem. Drinking alcohol can have ­serious negative side effects for children. It must impose restrictions on alcohol sales for under-18s. They can easily purchase alcohol from stores without ­having to show an identity card.

Felix Leung, Po Lam