Letters to the Editor, January 30, 2018

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 30 January, 2018, 5:05pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 30 January, 2018, 5:05pm

Transparency is the true test of global power

Your editorial on bookseller Gui Minhai being detained again by China (“Transparency is the best way forward”, January 26) suggested that both sides need to be transparent. This is wishful thinking, sadly misplaced.

Human rights lawyers are routinely arrested and not heard from again for months in mainland China. Any voice or view that expresses criticism of or an alternative vision to that of the Communist Party could see people end up in jail, or worse.

Where are the editorials or news articles from mainland media criticising official policy?

I can send you at least 100 from today in the US or other leading global powers you suggest China is on a par with.

While the US is hardly a beacon of hope in the free world, at least you can still turn on your TV to watch political satire showing up all the failings of President Donald Trump and his White House.

The true test of any power is a fully functioning ­democracy where views from any side can be aired and where the courts of law exist to protect the interests of all. It is not – and should not be – the size of your army or navy.

China will never be a transparent nation until it accepts criticism and allows its media to publish opinions or news stories at odds with the party line.

James Griffiths, Pok Fu Lam

Reading can help to instil moral values

I refer to student rowdyism, ­referred to in the ­article by Philip Yeung (“Unruly students the products of a failed system ­devoid of reading”, January 26). There has been a lot of public ­debate on the misbehaviour displayed by Baptist University students but, before we rebuke the youngsters involved, should we first hunt for the root cause for such outbursts?

Students in Hong Kong generally lack a moral compass. ­Undoubtedly, one of the main reasons is an education system that mainly depends on rote learning. Teachers are like ­instructors, imparting knowledge but little moral education. Thus some students are unable to acquire moral values, such as respecting others, from their teachers. As Mr Yeung said, ­effective inculcation of moral ideas takes place through reading and classroom discussions guided by well-read teachers.

A focus on reading may help to cope with this lack of moral values. Books can influence us, rounding out character and helping to instil a deeper understanding of the human condition. They teach us empathy, and ways to react to adversity.

Students should be encouraged to read regularly from a young age. Both teachers and parents have an important part to play, as they should be the role models for students on developing a reading habit, instead of just forcing it on them.

Betsy Wong, Sha Tin

Point of protest lost in unruly expression

I refer to your editorial on Baptist University students confronting teachers over a Mandarin test (“Rowdy students must learn lesson”, January 25). The line, “Students should have taken up their concerns with management through proper channels”, struck a chord with me.

The students involved in this incident showed zero respect to their teachers when, no matter what our grievance, we should act with respect towards others, especially our elders. That is what moral values teach. If discontent and concerns are aired with decency, people would definitely be more willing to accept your opinions and take action.

Drastic or violent action is a poor mode of expression, which attracts a lot of attention but ­detracts from the purpose. Take the Baptist case: people will tend to ­recall how rude and abusive the students were, rather than how difficult the Mandarin test is that caused seven in 10 to fail.

Helen Chan, Ho Man Tin

Find better use for bicycles left around town

Can cycles be recycled? The question arises because of the sheer number of abandoned ­bicycles littering Hong Kong.

“Abandonment” can be safely assumed if the bicycles are dust-laden and heavily rusted. Usually they are found chained to railings or left in ­bicycle racks, denying space to vehicles still in use. Presumably they were abandoned when their owners moved away, got old or gave up the ghost. In any case, being ­unlicensed and therefore ­untraceable, they will have been abandoned with impunity.

Attempts by local authorities to collect abandoned bicycles seem to be non-existent, or at best spasmodic or half-hearted. There may be many reasons for that, including the likely difficulty and unprofitability of disposing of them. On the face of it, the bicycle does seem an unpromising article for recycling. Perhaps your readers have the answer?

David Edward Pollard, Tai Po

Trump means what he says, that takes guts

Donald Trump has cancelled his visit to the UK to open the new US embassy there. Good for him. Here is a man who won’t be pushed around or swayed by public opinion, ­despite mounting criticism of his acts or words.

There are few politicians ­today with the gumption and determination of the US president. When he says he will do something, he is not afraid to follow through: that takes gravitas.

Trump was never going to cut the ribbon on an embassy that was an Obama project from the beginning. It is clear how different the two men are, even on subjects like Israel and American foreign policy.

Threatened protests in London would not have made Trump welcome in Britain anyhow, so why should he have subjected himself to that?

I am sure the queen will welcome him on a ­future state visit, like she has many controversial world leaders in the past, and I’m sure she wouldn’t miss the dinner table talk for the world.

The US embassy Trump should be concentrating on opening should be the new one in Jerusalem.

The US is far more ready to bless Israel than the pro-Arab nations of Britain and Ireland.

Colin Nevin, Tel Aviv