Letters to the Editor, July 1, 2017
Onus of guilt unfairly laid at Muslims’ door
In his letter (“More senior Muslim clerics must speak out”, June 14), C.T. Teo reasons: “it must fall to Muslims to speak out because those terror attacks were perpetrated by Muslim deviants who proclaim their acts in the name of their god and their religion”.
When George W. Bush launched his illegal invasion of Iraq, thus unleashing a pandora’s box of events triggering regional upheaval and the loss of four million lives so far, he claimed “God spoke to him”, but are Christian leaders placed in the dock for repeated questioning and endless condemnation?
In November 2015, an evangelical Christian, Robert Dear, killed three and injured nine at a family planning clinic in Colorado. In court, he not only praised those who attack abortion providers, saying they were doing “God’s work”, but also commended the Army of God, a US-based Christian terrorist group responsible for similar killings, including Atlanta Olympic bomber Eric Rudolph, who bombed a gay bar.
Paul Jennings, Scott Roeder, Micah Johnson and many other Christians have acted similarly, but do we call upon Christian leaders to denounce and condemn them?
With white Christians accounting for the largest number of mass shootings in the US, do we demand that the pope condemn these acts every couple of days?
In India, Muslims are being killed for allegedly slaughtering cows and eating beef, not by real Hindus but right-wing zealots who commit acts of violence in the name of their religion.
In Israel, illegal settlers kill indigenous Palestinians believing God unequivocally gave Jews the West Bank, citing Genesis 13:14-17. But it is unfair to implicate Jewish leaders or Judaism for the crimes of those with an intolerant view of others. Atheists do not escape scot-free either. The “anti-theist” Stephen Hicks from the January 2016 Chapel Hill shootings of three Muslims and Chris Harper from the 2015 Oregon killings of Christians are but two of many anti-religious people who commit acts of violence, but atheists collectively are never called to account.
Therefore, it may be high time to introspectively question: why is the onus unevenly on Muslims alone?
Individuals who commit heinous acts of violence are misguided into thinking they are doing it for God and religion.
The sooner we understand this simple fact, the sooner those who live in glass houses will stop throwing stones.
Jamal M. Ashraff, Tsim Sha Tsui
Buying to beat stress only creates clutter
I refer to the letter from Ip Sing-leong (“Shopping not best way to beat stress”, May 31).
People nowadays lack self-control and keep on buying things they may not ever need. They just think that the excitement of shopping is the most suitable “solution” for them to deal with their stress.
Apart from clothes that they don’t really need, people may also be drawn to attractive small furnishings and buy them without thinking, as it may help them forget their depression for a while. But all this only adds to the clutter in their homes.
Exercising is a much more effective way to relieve stress, listening to music is another.
Urban living sees everyone suffer some form of stress, students in particular. Instead of increasing the amount of rubbish at home, we should do the things that will actually lighten our mental burden.
Judy Fung, Tseung Kwan O
BCA is product of misguided learning mode
I refer to the letter from Vanessa Choi (“Tests always part of life as a student”, May 17).
Ms Choi says the new Basic Competency Assessment (BCA) will relieve parents’ concerns about the stress faced by students. I am afraid I cannot agree. The origin of the stress is the drilling and exercises, not the level of the test. There is no doubt that the BCA is easier than the Territory-wide System Assessment (TSA). However, as the letter mentioned, children are forced to study past papers and do exercises repeatedly, which causes them stress.
It is true, as Ms Choi says, that “tests and exams are part of our education system”. But we already have enough of them, not counting the BCA.
As Paul Yip, a University of Hong Kong professor, says: the problem is the education system’s misguided mentality that learning is best through rigorous testing and packed curriculums; it is counterproductive. I am of the same view.
Ms Choi is quite right that most adults in their working life will have to put in lots of hours, so school should help students to prepare for it. But it has become too much after the BCA came in, with students having to study for seven hours or more each day. Add extra-curricular and tutorial classes, and they have hardly any leisure time left.
I hope the government can cancel the BCA, as it is really not helping students’ development.
Lee Chung-yin, Tsuen Wan
More places in university will boost growth
I agree with correspondents who say teenagers in Hong Kong face a lot of stress. I think the main reason for this is the lack of university places. The Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education adds to the pressure, as most parents want their children to do very well and so gain an entry ticket to university.
In earlier days, students were under less pressure because most of them could find a job even if they were not academically bright. However, with Hong Kong becoming a knowledge-based economy, more and more companies only want to hire university graduates. This makes people think that, without a good DSE result, they may never find a good job. This is why students keep practising past papers like machines, without gaining true knowledge, hoping this will bring them good grades.
If the government wants the city to keep developing, it should first introduce more university places, not only for students but also for society at large. Take the shortage of doctors and nurses, for example. If we increase places, we will not need to import foreign labour.
The government should also put more effort into reforming the educational system, letting students be more creative and explore different ideas, in order to create an innovative society.
Fok Pui-yi, Tseung Kwan O
Higher wages not all good news for jobs
The statutory minimum wage has been in force in Hong Kong since May 1, 2011. On May 1 this year, the rate was raised from HK$32.50 per hour to $34.50.
Although the HK$2 hike in the hourly wage rate would mean a higher salary for time-rate workers, there could be some negative effects.
The hike may see more people unemployed, as local enterprises or services industry firms may hire fewer workers or sack others in order to avoid a hike in the cost of production.
Low-skilled teenagers will also find it hard to find work, as employers would prefer experienced and skilled workers if they had to pay the minimum wage.
Peter Tam, Po Lam