Letters to the Editor, October 21, 2015

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 20 October, 2015, 4:15pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 20 October, 2015, 4:15pm

Leaders must eventually find road to peace

Regardless of what Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas stated in their speeches at the UN General Assembly, neither is genuinely committed to negotiating a peace agreement based on a two-state solution.

Both leaders were engaged in empty rhetoric for domestic consumption instead of proposing new, credible, and constructive initiatives to resume the negotiations that could lead to a peace agreement, which should have been the thrust of their appearances at the UN. That, however, was not the case.

To demonstrate their true commitment to peace, Israeli and Palestinian leaders must rethink their inescapable reality. They must have the courage to announce together that they are absolutely committed to reaching a peace accord and would do so under any circumstances.

To that end, they will have to be prepared to undertake many significant measures before and during the negotiating process to begin building the pillars for sustainable peace, including:


  • Establish rules of engagement that can advance the negotiating process so that solving one conflicting issue can facilitate or lead to a solution of another;



  • End public mutual recrimination;



  • Disallow any violent incident by either side from disrupting the negotiations;



  • Share with the public any progress made in the negotiations, as well as some of the difficulties;



  • Make security cooperation transparent to send a clear message that Israeli-Palestinian full collaboration on all aspects of security will continue;



  • Provide regular briefings for the press to engender public discussion;



  • Cultivate trust by ensuring that the Israeli and Palestinian governments, and their respective civil societies, play a constructive role throughout the negotiations;



  • Modify textbooks to reflect the historical narrative more accurately to mitigate the psychological impediment between the two sides; and,



  • Brief all political parties or factions in Israel and Palestine about the negotiating process to mitigate some of the intense opposition to the many compromises that will have to be made.


Finally, use the Arab Peace Initiative as the overall framework for a comprehensive peace.

Only when they adopt these basic prerequisites will they demonstrate their true commitment to making peace. Indeed, all of their speeches and public statements ring hollow as they continue to wallow in self-denial and defy reality to the detriment of their peoples.

Alon Ben-Meir, professor of international relations, Centre for Global Affairs, New York University

Postbox royal crest cover-up is just silly

I refer to the 59 remaining post collection boxes with British royal insignia ("Conservationists fume over plan to stamp out royal crest on postboxes", October 6). Oh dear, what a non-event. Hong Kong is becoming silly.

I guess someone from the central government's liaison office in Hong Kong has posted a letter in one of them.

They were lucky to be able to read the insignia because the paint is so thick on those boxes that the old royal crest is difficult to make out, especially since the iconic red colour was daubed with green.

The politically correct cover-up and this announcement have only drawn attention to such a trivial matter.

Doesn't Hongkong Post have better things to do?

P. C. Law, Quarry Bay

Whole family signed up as organ donors

Chinese traditions have led to a lack of organ donors in Hong Kong, with some people believing that the body should remain intact when they die.

However, in my family, my parents encouraged me to register as an organ donor.

They explained to me the advantages of doing so, and that there was a real need with patients waiting for organs.

In fact my whole family decided to register on the same day.

I am glad that when I die, my organs will be harvested and they can hopefully be used to help patients who are seriously ill.

I wish more Hongkongers could appreciate how important it is to register as an organ donor and realise what a difference it can make in our society.

Wing Yau, Hang Hau

Bosses look at more than exam results

I refer to the article about students who got top marks in their public examinations at school ("Where are they now? 4 former straight-A Hong Kong students reflect on their lives", October, 15).

The article revealed that these four students had followed different paths in the last decade.

They pointed out that when you get extraordinary results in your exams, people have high expectations. But although they have different occupations, they all agree that having the right attitude and passion are keys to success.

Hong Kong is such an exam-oriented society that people believe that results are everything.

It is a very competitive environment, with students trying to outshine their peers in the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) in order to get one of the coveted places at a local university.

They work hard at their core and elective subjects. Parents share their concerns and teachers organise extra lessons. Everyone involved in the process is under immense pressure.

I think many young people forget a crucial point that the HKDSE examination is only a part of our lifelong journey. Of course, how you do in it will determine which college you get into.

However, exam marks are not the only consideration when a company is considering hiring someone. It will look atthe education level, but also at other abilities and skills that the candidates have.

There is actually a mismatch between the things students learn at school and the skills required in society.

Students need to see the public exams as simply a stage. What will be far more important will be their life experiences and their attitude.

They should not just focus on exam results but recognise the importance of becoming a well-rounded person.

Daisy Tong, Tseung Kwan O

Top official's comments unwelcome

A senior national tourism official said Beijing will consider additional relaxation of travel restrictions so more mainlanders can travel on their own to Hong Kong without tour groups.

I do not think that was a wise thing to say and could exacerbate the present situation.

The huge influx of mainland visitors has caused congestion in some areas and led to confrontations between some Hong Kong and mainland citizens.

In the tourism sector, we should not just be relying on mainlanders in the long term.

The official was talking about the travel rights of mainland citizens, but it is about the city reaching capacity.

This is a controversial proposal which would increase the burden already placed on Hong Kong. I do not think it would be good for the economy. It could lead to a higher rate of inflation.

Tong Tak-yu, Kowloon Tong