Letters to the Editor, July 16, 2015

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 15 July, 2015, 4:59pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 15 July, 2015, 4:59pm

All China's soldiers should be honoured

I refer to the report ("Veterans mark Japan's war defeat", July 5) regarding Taiwan's first military parade commemorating the 70th anniversary of Japan's defeat in the second world war.

Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou, said that the parade aimed to denounce military aggression, not to promote enmity.

He also hoped that by doing so, we can truly understand the meaning of peace.

As I have said before, through these columns, Japan should squarely face and formally apologise for its wartime aggression and atrocities in Asia. It should do this to maintain mutual esteem and regional stability.

It also has to be pointed out that views are divided about our wartime history, with the mainland and Taiwan having separate interpretations because of political differences.

After the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949, the government stressed the importance of the role of the communist troops in the defeat of Japan in the war.

This was done through propaganda and patriotic education. This over-politicised the historical discourse of the war on the mainland.

As a consequence, those nationalist veterans who remained on the mainland have not been honoured over the years and many of them live in poverty.

In a recent interview, Hau Pei-tsun, a former Taiwanese premier who fought in China's war against Japan, criticised the mainland authorities for concealing and even distorting China's wartime past, in favour of the Communist Party.

It is undeniable that resistance by communist guerillas behind enemy lines successfully contained the Japanese advance in the country.

However, the National Revolutionary Army, led by Chiang Kai-shek, and supported by the Allies after 1941, also made a significant contribution on the battlefront to China's victory in 1945.

A politicised controversy in understanding our wartime past could potentially undermine harmonious cross-strait relations.

To avoid this, we should leave the issue for academics, not politicians. These academics should act impartially and deal with historical facts.

As Ma said, only by looking at the facts can we learn lessons from history.

Ben L. P. Tsang, Yuen Long

Japan still in denial about its war crimes

I have a lot of respect for Alice Wu's insights but she is wrong to contend that China is in "persistent pursuit of victimhood" ("China must lay to rest its victim mindset", July 6).

It is Japan's continuous attempts to whitewash its crimes that is preventing China, and for that matter South Korea, from trusting and reaching a full reconciliation with Japan.

The latest example is foreign minister Fumio Kishida refusing to use the Japanese term for "forced labour" when sites connected with the Meiji period of history were given World Heritage status by Unesco. This despite the fact that Japan's delegation to Unesco had said that "a large number of Koreans and others were brought against their will and forced to work under harsh conditions in the 1940s at some of the sites" ("Japan wins heritage status for forced-labour sites", July 6).

It is therefore not China which is insisting "upon treating the world as if this were still the second world war".

By refusing to confront history, it is Japan which is insisting on defending its imperial glory mindset.

W. L. Chang, Discovery Bay

Burns survivor has helped other victims

I write as former director of burns services at Prince of Wales Hospital.

I was deeply saddened to read that Stanley Cheung Yun-hang has decided to step down from his position as vice-chairman of the Hong Kong Burns Association ("Fire survivor quits after criticism of Taiwan help", July 5).

A major burn injury is the most devastating injury a human can experience and it takes a very special person to not only survive it but moreover to make a new life that is dedicated to helping others.

Nevertheless, such burn survivors are human, with feelings and sensitivities, and can be hurt by the cruel and thoughtless comments of others. I urge the association not to accept Stanley's resignation. Those who have made such comments online about him should feel ashamed.

I suggest that when Stanley continues with his voluntary work to help others, he might consider taking his son with him.

To know that there is a life after burns is one of the most powerful messages of hope that that can help our patients through an otherwise devastating time.

Professor Andrew Burd, centenary professor of regenerative medicine, School of Tropical Medicine, Kolkata, India

Aim to provide a carefree childhood

It is important for parents to mentor their children but they must do so in a suitable manner.

Too many Hong Kong parents are overprotective and oppressive.

They sign their children up to a lot of extracurricular activities and tutorial classes. They are afraid they will fall behind at school, do badly in exams and fail to succeed later on in their lives.

Instead, they should be trying to ensure their children grow up in a carefree environment.

If they are forced to accept a gruelling schedule, they will become exhausted. They have a better chance of realising their potential if they can have plenty of downtime. They should not be overworked.

Parents also need to communicate as much as possible with their children.

This can be difficult in a city like Hong Kong where people lead such busy lives. Sometimes, adults, because of the pressure of work, cannot spend enough time with their children.

A friend of mine has not seen her parents for a whole month, because they are working for multinational companies overseas.

Even with busy lifestyles, they must make the effort. They can chat in the evening at dinner or when the family sits down to watch TV.

Also, parents must try not to lose their temper. When there are differences with their children, even if they are annoyed, they must try to stay rational.

Maintaining a good relationship with their sons and daughters is what matters.

Annie Mak, Kwun Tong

Employers gain from paternity leave

In February, a law was introduced allowing men to enjoy three days of paternity leave.

Some lawmakers expressed concern that it could hurt some small companies. However, I doubt if this has happened and I think it was a good law for a number of reasons.

It will allow fathers to spend important quality time with their family.

With so many people facing heavy workloads in Hong Kong, people cannot spend as much time as they would want with their relatives.

Many fathers want to have more free time with their families, but cannot do so.

It is unfair that in the past, they could not have any paternity leave and could not be with the newest member of the family.

They want to bond with their child and have that time with the child and their wife. Paternity leave will encourage a harmonious family.

I do not think it will have any negative effect on productivity in the workplace, quite the opposite.

If the father had to go into work straight after the birth of his child, with no break, he would be tired and would be unlikely to be productive.

He needs some time off to rest and then he can return to work refreshed and do a better job. The changes to the law are good for families and companies.

Charity Ng Shuk-ling, Tseung Kwan O

Cancer surge a worrying trend in city

There is a link between cancer and unhealthy diets and lifestyles.

Many people in Hong Kong do not eat enough fruit and vegetables, who binge-drink and smoke and fail to exercise, and so are at greater risk of getting cancer.

These kinds of risky lifestyles are in contrast to Japan, where most people are conscious of the importance of healthy living.

Citizens there try to have a balanced diet. They usually eat more vegetables than meat and carbohydrates.

They recognise that having high-fibre foods, as well as low-fat products, is the best way to enjoy healthy lives.

Cancer is rising at an alarming rate in Hong Kong and it is important to deal with this problem. Individuals can help to begin to reverse this trend by changing their diets.

Also, the relevant government departments and NGOs should launch more campaigns to try and raise awareness and help more citizens recognise the importance of having a nutritious diet.

We need to recognise the additional pressure that will be placed on our public hospitals if we cannot deal with this cancer surge.

Dorothy Chiu, Kowloon Tong