Letters to the Editor, December 19, 2016
Tradition being used to defend this slaughter
Ejiao is being touted as a miracle ingredient. As was pointed out in an article in Post Magazine (“Hide and seek”, December 4), it’s suddenly in everything from face cream to health bars.
It is a traditional Chinese medicine with a long history and millions of dollars are being made from it, but when donkeys are being eradicated for their skins in our quest to improve our looks or stamina, surely we need to reassess what we are doing.
Wiping out our biodiversity in the name of tradition should be considered horrific but instead it is being embraced. Is this due to ignorance, greed or just plain stupidity?
Rhinos are heading for extinction because the keratin in their horns is considered of more value than they are, elephants are hunted for their ivory and will soon be gone for good, the list goes on and on. Pangolins are exterminated for their scales, tigers for their bones, bears tortured for their bile, and now donkeys decimated for their skin.
We’re in the process of destroying our oceans, our rivers and our land, and it seems unless people are directly adversely affected they can’t listen or learn.
To know that the Chinese government endorses ejiao as part of its policy of developing the traditional medicine market is disheartening.
Obviously the ejiao companies are rather shortsighted; as Zhang Tengzhi of Beneton Ejiao said, “I fear that, in the future, China’s ejiao industry will have the embarrassment of having no rice to cook.”
Yes, donkeys breed slowly, so now the wild donkeys in Australia are being eyed since the continued supply of donkey skin is not assured.
Once the donkeys are all gone, some other poor creature will no doubt take its place as the must-have tonic to prolong life and health. But what is the point of prolonging life if our self-centered actions have destroyed everything?
What an ugly future our children face because profits matter more than the real beauty our earth has to offer. Our voracious appetites will be the death of us.
Jean Afford, principal, Wembley International Kindergarten
Schools will keep drilling with new TSA
The Primary Three Territory-wide System Assessment (TSA) was temporarily suspended, because of the pressure it was placing on students, teachers, parents and schools, and was reassessed. Parents asked for it to be completely scrapped.
Education Secretary Eddie Ng Hak-kim initially announced it was to be resumed, after a government committee recommended an improved version of the TSA be extended to all primary schools in 2017. Clearly the committee felt the new version would not cause the problems the old one did, but this has not satisfied stakeholders.
Parents and teachers still believe the new version of TSA for Primary Three will put students under the same levels of pressure. Stress has also been caused by the knowledge that the Education Bureau announced it intends to bring it back, and the belief that if this happens then the much-criticised drilling will resume in schools. We will see a vicious cycle if the bureau does not handle the problem properly.
The “professional enhancement arrangements” the committee talked about with the revamped TSA cannot solve the TSA’s problems. Schools believe that the bureau will use the TSA to rank them, which is why it goes ahead with the drilling.
The schools will keep doing the drilling in the lower forms, unless the bureau can convince them that the TSA results will not be used to rank them. I hope the bureau can find a solution to this problem.
Suki Lee, Hang Hau
Beijing should not just focus on economy
The serious haze in northern China began last week and has led to warnings in many cities of heavily polluted weather.
Life goes on and for many it probably appears normal, because this haze is nothing new to China’s citizens.
I think what is different this time is that it has affected such extensive areas of the country, including the city of
Chengdu ( 成都).
As China has developed economically, its environmental problems have got worse, with all kinds of pollution, including car exhaust emissions, toxic smoke from factories, road and construction dust, and fumes from incinerators.
Therefore, this serious haze is hardly surprising.
The central government must do more to protect the environment, and come up with an effective strategy for sustainable development for the country.
The emphasis for the mainland government should not just be on economic growth.
I also think some officials try to hide the seriousness of the smog when it envelopes a city.
Citizens should always have the right to know how bad things are and what is being done to deal with it.
Simon Chung, Kwun Tong
Many people still reluctant to buy an e-car
I agree with Alice Wu that electric car drivers have a number of challenges to deal with (“E-car owners are still facing obstacles”, December 15).
She points out that these cars can help us ease our air pollution problems but the government has not done enough to encourage citizens to buy e-cars.
The high cost also puts some people off buying these environmentally-friendly vehicles. One problem is that there are not enough charging stations in car parks and elsewhere throughout the city. And drivers of petrol cars often occupy spaces at car parks which have a charging station and are designated for e-vehicles.
The government introduced an exemption of first registration tax for e-cars, but it must do more to get people to buy these green cars.
Kenny Tong, Tseung Kwan O
Next HK chief executive will face challenges
Reading the news that former financial secretary John Tsang Chun-wah was planning to run for chief executive next year, made me think about this post.
I do not think the present chief executive, Leung Chun-ying, has done a very good job, and hopefully whoever gets chosen next year will learn from his mistakes.
Although Hong Kong is an international financial centre, it still faces a number of serious social problems, housing in particular.
May Lo Mei-hang, Yau Yat Chuen
Global and regional threat to marine life
Urgent action is needed to protect marine life in Hong Kong waters.
With improvements in living standards and people having larger disposable incomes, there is greater pressure on animals and more species face extinction.
The problems with air and sea pollution are getting worse. Marine life has been seriously affected by pollution and global warming.
If we can reduce the volumes of waste we generate, then less of it will end up in the sea where it can do so much harm. We should all be trying to recycle more waste. And we must recognise that efforts at conservation are all connected. So there is a link, for example, between trying to protect marine life in northern Europe and saving tropical rainforests.
We must all do our bit for protecting the environment.
Chang Shan, Kowloon Tong