Letters to the Editor, April 28, 2017

PUBLISHED : Friday, 28 April, 2017, 4:54pm
UPDATED : Friday, 28 April, 2017, 4:54pm

Populism is a wake-up call for leaders

Since the EU referendum and Brexit, and the inauguration of Donald Trump, I have been keeping an eye on the development of ­populist movements.

Last weekend’s French presidential election was also historic, and previous governments and politicians who adopted an internationalist approach should take responsibility for what has happened. Populism certainly came to the fore in France and we see it in other countries as well. It is on the rise, because so many ­people have lost confidence in the establishment, including in Hong Kong.

Many citizens feel ­betrayed by the Hong Kong government and that is why many of them have given their support to localist movements. Just as in other cities and countries, they no longer believe in the traditional main parties. We saw this in the Legislative Council elections in September where localist candidates won seats.

Mainstream politicians ­cannot ignore this movement. They are being pressed by this new breed of politicians not to turn their backs on the people and to stop colluding with the elites in society.

Whatever happens, I hope politicians will always try to ­respect other people’s views and act in a rational manner.

Anfield Tam, Quarry Bay

Let residents of Cheung Chau board first

Around 60,000 people are ­expected to crowd into Cheung Chau on Wednesday for the ­annual bun festival, three times the island’s population.

This will mean that all the ­ferries to and from Central will be packed. For this reason, I think the ferry company, First Ferry, should ensure that priority boarding is given to residents of the island.

I believe other passengers will be happy to go along with this arrangement as it is only ­temporary.

Also, I think the relevant ­government department has to consider how it can reduce the negative impact of the festival.

The final event of the bun scrambling competition takes place at midnight and, with so many visitors, it will be very noisy indeed. Officials have to discuss with the organisers ways of minimising noise pollution to reduce the negative effect on people living nearby.

With the right mitigating measures, everyone can enjoy the festival.

Ronnie Tse, Tseung Kwan O

Monitoring of kids’ phone use damages trust

It is quite common these days for parents to monitor their children’s smartphone use. In South Korea, service providers have to install an app for this purpose.

Monitoring phone use undermines the mutual trust between parents and children. It is also disrespectful, and sends out the wrong message. Moreover, it is an invasion of privacy. It is wrong for parents to think their sons and daughters are too young to be entitled to privacy.

What parents should do is talk a lot with their children, learn about what they are looking at online and discuss it with them if they have concerns about some of the content.

Anakin Tam, Tseung Kwan O

Celebrations should avoid PLA parade

Our officials are busy planning the celebrations for the 20th ­anniversary of Hong Kong’s ­return to China’s sovereignty.

It should be a happy and ­historic occasion. It should also be an opportunity for us to put aside political wrangling and celebrate our unique status as an international city, as part of one nation with two systems.

But there is one serious ­concern about the event. Will the ­People’s Liberation Army be commanded, asked or invited to put on a military show?

We all know soldiers like to goose-step down avenues and exhibit the latest frightening weapons. Whether it is Beijing, Pyongyang, Moscow, Paris or London, all the top brass want citizens to value and fear what they represent.

Tragically, however, this ­behaviour and value system is primitive and wrong. It is based on fear and intimidation, on ­inflicting pain and death.

Of course, some will contend that soldiers protect the country from attack. But this was acceptable rationale in the past, when people were primitive, isolated and eager to conquer. Must we continue in this stupid, destructive way?

Our planet faces new challenges and crises which cannot be solved with guns. For this ­reason, Hong Kong should avoid any military show during the 20th anniversary events.

The PLA men stationed here are a sign of the motherland’s sovereignty and readiness to ward off any possible attackers, but they need not demonstrate this fact on our streets. We are a peace-loving community. ­Armoured cars and tanks are not welcome.

A nation’s values are best ­exhibited at anniversaries where parades are free of the aggression, intimidation and fear ­associated with militarism.

China should show the world it embraces peace and community harmony by letting us enjoy our anniversary without any ­reminders of military-inflicted violence.

Jason Kuylein, Stanley

Bullies must be given message loud and clear

The reports on alleged bullying in the University of Hong Kong’s halls of residence once again highlighted this problem in our education system (“HKU checks bullying claim after video went viral”, April 6)

Bullying is unacceptable whether in a school or university. Students attending our ­tertiary institutions are expected to be well-educated and should have reached a certain level of maturity. So I was shocked when I read about these claims.

People responsible for such behaviour need to be made aware of the consequences of their actions. Bullying causes victims terrible stress, and in ­extreme cases can even lead to suicide. The authorities in schools and universities have to get tough and make it clear that ­students found guilty of bullying will ­be punished and may face ­expulsion.

In more serious cases, the ­police should be called. The threat of heavy punishment, ­including prosecution, can be an effective deterrent. What is also important is that once the authorities in an institution are notified about alleged bullying, they must respond swiftly.

Jeana Cheng Ka-yi, Kwai Chung

In dealing with Kim, Beijing must be careful

For decades, China has been North Korea’s strongest ally, but things are changing.

Beijing is becoming increasingly concerned about Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons programmes, and in February it banned all coal imports from North Korea. This certainly enhanced China’s international image and I hope actions like this will lead to improved relations with the US.

I support actions which weaken Kim Jong-un’s authority in North Korea. Stopping coal imports means he would have less to spend. However, Beijing must tread carefully.

The import ban could lead to Kim becoming even more ­extreme and intensifying the ­repression of North Korean citizens. Kim is unpredictable, but I do hope that eventually he will lose his grip on power.

Chloe Kwok, Yau Yat Chuen