Online Letters, July 18, 2017

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 18 July, 2017, 3:34pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 18 July, 2017, 3:34pm

Diners must cut back on crab consumption

Last September Hong Kong’s Centre for Food Safety tested hairy crabs from Jiangsu and detected dioxins that were well above acceptable levels.

There are various ways in which dioxins enter the water and are absorbed in mud, and then into shellfish, crustaceans and fish. This is usually a direct cause of pollution.

So we have to ask what should be the limit of dioxins that we can consume.

The Centre for Food Safety estimated that if most consumers ate 10 crabs during the hairy-crab season, this would exceed the safety limit. However, the toxicity of dioxins requires a long period of time to build up in body. What really matters is that we should pay closer attention to what we are eating every day.

However, we should set ourselves a limit of certainly no more than 10 for the whole hairy-crab season. Anyway, they have gone up in price, so more frequent consumption may be beyond the salaries of most people.

For pregnant women and children, it may be a sensible precaution to eat very few crab dishes or none at all, because it is relatively easy for organic pollution to accumulate in these creatures. After all, it is not an essential food source.

Stephen Choi, Kennedy Town

Advantages and downside to homeschooling

Some parents in Hong Kong have opted for homeschooling for their sons or daughters. This raises the question of whether it is better than traditional schooling?

Children who are homeschooled may do less homework and therefore may be under less pressure.

This can mean they have more time to play and to spend with their families. They spend far more time with their parents and siblings which leads to stronger family ties. However, the teaching they receive is only as good as their parents’ knowledge. They may not get as good or as rounded an education as they would in a school where teachers have sound knowledge of their specialist subjects.

Also, there will be less communication and interaction with children of their own age group. It is important for them to learn communication skills with peers and this is less likely in a homeschooling situation.

There are clearly advantages and disadvantages to homeschooling and the government should allow families to decide which is best for them. It is already allowed in Taiwan and America.

Samuel Yu, Tiu Keng Leng

Workshops can get more young people to give blood

In May the Red Cross was forced to issue an urgent appeal for blood donors, because of dwindling stocks.

Not enough people in Hong Kong appear to be willing to donate blood. Some may feel squeamish about having a needle inserted in their arms. It is important for the Red Cross and the government to explain to the public how important it is for them to donate blood.

They should issue leaflets targeting young people and hold workshops, explaining to them the importance of being regular donors throughout their lives.

I am impressed by those schools and companies which have organised “donation days” to encourage students and employees to participate in blood donation drives and fulfil their corporate social responsibility by contributing to the community.

Grace Chow, Kowloon Tong

Teens must be more upbeat about the future

I agree with correspondents who have said that Hongkongers who take an upbeat attitude are better prepared to deal with hardships.

Too many citizens do find it very difficult to deal with psychological problems including depression. This is particularly the case with teenagers who often do not know who to turn to for help. Some are in such despair that they take their own lives.

There are not enough counsellors or NGOs in schools to help all the students who need help. The government should recognise there is a problem and deal with it. There should be more publicity encouraging teens to seek help and where to go to get advice from experts. They should be encouraged to have a positive outlook on life.

If teenagers can be encouraged to be optimistic about the future they should be in a better position to deal with the problems they will face. Indeed having a positive attitude is good advice for people of all ages.

Hymnson Cheung, Tsing Yi

Women deserve to have more prominent role in fashion sector

It is not surprising that female fashion designers are in the minority globally, including designers of womenswear. This puts the spotlight on gender inequality in the fashion industry.

Traditional social mindsets are partially responsible for this, with more men having in the past been appointed as the leading designers of top fashion labels. Even some women who are ambitious to succeed and have ability can struggle to get a foothold. It can be difficult for them if they also have a family and so are bringing up young children. In order to get to where they want in the industry they will often have to work long hours and face a hectic schedule.

Talented male designers have generally had better opportunities and I think this needs to change. This is important to me as a student, because I would eventually like to work in this sector.

Fashion houses should not show any gender bias. They should at all times back equal rights for all employees. There should be equal opportunities for men and women designers. Promotion should depend on ability.

Even if they feel they are being treated unfairly women should be determined and persevere. They should not give up and if they are creative and have the necessary flair then hopefully they can get the promotion they deserve.

I hope we will see changes in the fashion sector and women designers will be treated in the same way as their male counterparts.

Joanne Kwong Chung-ki, Yau Yat Chuen