Letters to the Editor, July 20, 2017

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 20 July, 2017, 5:00pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 20 July, 2017, 5:00pm

Bookshop inspired me to learn more

It is a pity the well-known Jifeng Bookstore is closing its doors (“Why Shanghai’s best-known liberal bookshop is closing down”, July 16).

I have been to this fantastic store several times. It has great lectures by academics on social sciences.

My father has been going to Jifeng since it opened its first branch on South Shanxi Road in 1997. It is a kind of intellectual heritage that my father has left to me. It is a legacy which inspires me to become more well-rounded in terms of knowledge – not just focusing on natural ­science and maths, but also social science.

In today’s China, far more students are interested in natural science and maths than social science. One reason for this is that in the basic education provided to youngsters, politics and history are treated in a dogmatic fashion.

There are standard tests and you only require a good memory to get results, rather than having a deep understanding of the subject. This acts as an obstacle to developing a passionate ­interest in social science.

On the other hand, multiple opportunities are offered to Chinese students in natural science and mathematics. Most important high school contests are only about STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths). Three of Shanghai’s four top high schools are known for the high quality of their maths, physics and chemistry teaching.

We have to understand this bigger picture when looking at the impending closure of the Jifeng Bookstore.

It is not being used as a base for opponents of the government; that is not the issue here. However, it has been a base for Chinese social science intellectuals to give lectures, and for students to acquire greater knowledge. Through their efforts, hopefully China and the wider world could be better. The store has inspired many students like me to learn more.

The government should encourage these kinds of bookstores to continue ­operating.

Jiaxuan Lu, Shanghai

Pay helpers extra if they use new skills

As the population of Hong Kong ages, there are some suggestions to train domestic helpers to care for the elderly.

This is part of the plan to ­allow people to “age in place”, instead of moving into a care facility.

If the maids learn a new skill, shouldn’t they then earn a higher salary?

Michael J. Sloboda, Tsim Sha Tsui

Help us buy property, not leave the city

Earlier this year, Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po suggested that some Hongkongers could move to mainland cities in the Greater Bay Area where property prices are cheaper.

I hope the new government does not share his view, because that is not the way to help residents buy their own home. ­

Instead, measures are needed to bring down property prices in Hong Kong, so they become ­affordable for ordinary residents.

Crystal Chan, Tseung Kwan O

Violence is not the only form of child abuse

Recent cases of young children being left home alone have once again highlighted the fact that this is a common problem in Hong Kong.

While I accept that sometimes a parent will do this with no intention of harming their children, these children could nevertheless be put at risk, ­because they are too young to look after themselves and could have an accident, which could be fatal.

This also raises the wider definition of child abuse, which can include physical and verbal violence, but also neglect and isolation sometimes caused by ignorance.

People should not just focus on physical abuse.

For example, children who are constantly chided by their parents are victims of verbal abuse and if this is ­happening regularly, then it can lower their self-esteem and this can damage them psychologically.

This is a crucial period in their development, when they need parents who offer them emotional as well as ­physical support.

If they suffer from feelings of low self-esteem, then they could become withdrawn. If they are not willing to communicate with their peers, they will grow up with poor social skills, a lack ­of mutual trust with others and may find it difficult to make friends.

Parental care is not just about providing the basic needs. It is about providing emotional support and the right kind of guidance, educating children about different aspects of life.

There is certainly no excuse for parents to leave their children at home. As a society, we need to be aware that this form of abuse is a problem in the city.

All parents must accept their responsibilities and appreciate how vulnerable children are and how much support they need.

Jacky Tsoi, Siu Chik Sha

Who should be scared of a cartoon bear?

I think fans of Disney’s Winnie the Pooh will be disappointed and angry that his image has been banned on the mainland (“No more Winnie the Pooh”, July 19). Apparently President Xi Jinping (習近平) objected to some bloggers comparing him to the cute cartoon character.

I know he wants to promote a harmonious society in China, but in this case he is acting like a dictator. The central government will not create harmony by banning everything it does not like.

The Communist Party appears to be scared of people thinking for themselves in case they then embrace Western views on democracy, so it bans written material, websites like Facebook and now even cartoons. There needs to be a change of attitude by the government.

Chloe Wong, Po Lam