Letters to the Editor, December 6, 2016

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 December, 2016, 5:08pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 December, 2016, 5:08pm

Workshops to tackle violence in the home

I refer to your report on rising domestic violence in Hong Kong households (“Is Hong Kong losing the fight against domestic violence?”, November 26).

Violence can occur in all sorts of gatherings and relationships. There has always been violence within the family but this was only recognised in Hong Kong starting in the late 1970s with child abuse, with abused wives in the early ’80s, and abuse of the elderly and disabled in more recent years.

However, it is difficult to say abuse has increased. What is true is that, as it is more recognised as a behaviour pattern, it becomes more visible. But arrest of abusers is not necessarily the best or only solution.

A number of family service NGOs in Hong Kong offer “treatment” for abusers as well as help and treatment for victims.

Alternatives to Violence Hong Kong is an NGO, a charitable agency working with others, and we ­organise two-day workshops in the community, and school or workplace.

The workshops are based on interactive experiential group learning, not lectures or treatment. The aim is to enhance participants’ self image and also improve their emotional quotient, to facilitate alternatives to handle conflict. We look into “power over”, which is exploitive and manipulative; “power for”, which is caring for one another; and “power with”, a cooperative effort between people.

Among other aspects of relationship issues, the focus is on social and communication skills development, learning more about ourselves in potentially conflictual situations and the use of conflict resolution.

Shirley Tsang Kar-yee, facilitator, Alternatives to Violence (AVP HK)

Breakfast often leads to added edge in class

I refer to your report on the ­Chinese University study that suggests students who eat breakfast do better at school (“Breakfast better than extra lessons, study finds”, November 28). I agree that eating breakfast daily is important for students.

In this respect, there are a few noteworthy points to consider. First, a regular time schedule for eating breakfast is important.

Nowadays, youngsters tend to stay up late, as they have to finish their homework and study for tests or examinations. They have a heavy workload, as after-school activities take up a lot of their time and they go home late. With a bursting daily schedule, it is hard for them to wake up early and they often make up the time by skipping breakfast.

This is a serious problem in Hong Kong, even among adults. Looking forward to a nutritious breakfast every morning could encourage students to keep a regular morning schedule and wake up earlier. This way, fostering the habit of eating breakfast could also help with better time management.

Second, breakfast provides the energy children require. Many teenagers do not exercise, and tend to prefer studying or playing video games at home over going out for a walk or other activities. This makes students lazy and put on unhealthy weight. Their metabolism ­becomes slow, their health is ­affected and they lack energy.

Making time for breakfast would not only lead to a regular daily schedule and balanced diet but also provide the energy to help them concentrate better during lessons. Students who stay up late and skip breakfast to compensate will be more tired than those who eat breakfast.

In view of this, schools should encourage students to eat breakfast in order to enhance learning efficiency.

Millie Cheng, Kowloon Tong

Harbourfront walkway a welcome idea

I am writing to express my views on your article about reclamation related to the proposed harbourfront walkway project (“Walkway set to stroll it despite sea loss”, December 5).

In the concrete jungle that is Hong Kong, people have a genuine need for such open spaces. The Fortress Hill to Quarry Bay walkway can be used for a variety of recreational activities. Facilities planned include a cycle track, fishing platforms and a playground with fountains.

I believe the walkway will be of huge public benefit. Hongkongers spend busy days as they try to eke out a living. Life here is tough because of sky-high rents and inflation hitting even the basic necessities. A boardwalk will offer a chance for people to slow down for a while, by going to the harbourfront and taking part in some sports or having a picnic with their families. What’s more, the walkway can also bring economic benefits to our society. Tourists are no longer interested in visiting Hong Kong because of the lack of new attractions, and prefer destinations such as Singapore, South Korea or Japan instead.

The reclamation project can draw more tourists to our iconic harbourfront, and the proposed water taxi services and food ­kiosks would do brisk business.

Some critics say reclamation may cause irreversible damage to the marine ecosystem. But I am confident that the government will try its best to minimise any environmental impact by adopting advanced technology.

A concerted effort, by the government, experts, lawmakers, as well as Hong Kong citizens, would be the best way to balance economic and environmental concerns in pursuit of sustainable development.

Stefani Wong Yan-in,Yau Yat Chuen

Crisis victims in Syria need more support

I refer to your article on the Syrian crisis (“Crisis looms in Mosul, where half of residents have no access to water”, ­November 30). It is extremely sad to learn about people across the Middle East facing the threat posed by Islamic State every day.

The report said up to 600,000 people in Mosul had no water supplies for days. But many are resigned to this hell as they do not have the ability to leave.

First, I believe European countries should work together to tackle the crisis. Every country is a member of the world, and the Syrian civil war is a big problem for all of us. Even the UN has urged Europe to improve the support, preparation, and response aspects of its engagement with the refugees.

Also, the UN refugee agency should provide more support to displaced populations, and do more to protect their rights and basic needs.

But the best way forward would be to end the war as quickly and peacefully as possible. I know that would prove difficult, but there is no better way .

Most of the refugees want to return to their country, rebuild their homes and be reunited with family and friends. This is more so as they find it hard to adapt to, or assimilate into, the advanced Western countries.

I hope an end to this terrible war is not too far away; and the prosperity and the beauty of the countries in the Middle East can be brought back one day.

Christine Lee Tsz-ching, Lai Chi Kok

Not all new MTR stations are that useful

I would like to share my views on the extensions of the MTR Kwun Tong and South Island lines.

First off, the extension of the MTR network will further ­improve the transport system in Hong Kong. With many areas around the city still difficult to connect to, the extensions bring more convenience to commuters. For example, the Kwun Tong Line extension helps to ­relieve pressure on surface transport, like buses and minibuses, as the new Ho Man Tin and Whampoa stations are in areas with intensive traffic low.

However, some stations may not be of great use to the general public, for instance South Horizons in the South Island Line extension. Such stations cater to private housing estates, home to mostly high-income families who own cars and seldom use public transport.

Spencer Lee Hiu-ming, Sau Mau Ping