Letters to the Editor, November 25, 2015

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 24 November, 2015, 6:39pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 24 November, 2015, 6:39pm

China should join in fight against IS

I refer to the report (“China’s police chief orders tighter counterterrorism net across nation in wake of Paris attacks”, November 16).

After the terrorist attacks in Paris, the world has been reminded of the threat posed by Islamic State (IS). Some countries, such as the US and France, have reiterated their total opposition to IS and vowed to escalate their actions against it. China has tightened security, but has not joined the fight against IS.

There are arguments for and against China becoming involved in this conflict.

It could be argued that if you join the coalition against IS then you run a greater risk of being deemed a target for terror attacks by the organisation.

However, I believe China should become involved, ­because the threat IS poses is getting closer to the mainland. There is a Chinese saying that if you want to capture the thieves, you should first catch their leader. Beijing should we willing to participate in the campaign which seeks to stops the attacks of IS by eliminating it.

The efforts to wipe out this terror group are more likely to succeed if China gets involved.

Desmond Chan Chun-fai, Tseung Kwan O

High flat prices create social disharmony

The high price of flats is a constant topic among Hongkongers.

The steep increase has had a huge impact on the grass roots in society. They face rising rents and inflation has caused price rises of daily necessities. Many people from this stratum of society are suffering while the rich remain largely untouched. This leads to feelings of resentment towards those who are well-off and creates disharmony in society.

Teenagers, especially graduates, hope that one day they will own a home. However, prices keep rising and the opportunities for social mobility are limited in Hong Kong.

Young people who are not well off will have work hard and save for 15 years or more just to be able to own a small apartment. Consequently, some of them feel very alienated, some just give up thinking they will never have enough and this is not good for the city’s economy.

Even those members of the middle class who have saved enough to own a flat face large monthly mortgage payments. They often have to make sacrifices such as sacrificing luxuries such as entertainment.

Surely the government should be implementing more effective and prudent measures to deal with these problems. In some countries, such as Switzerland and Germany, there are rent control measures to limit rents to an acceptable range.

This is something the government should be considering.

Kolia Chong Chun-ping, Yau Yat Chuen

Give people with mental illness a chance

It is indeed sad that some health professionals in Hong Kong view mentally ill patients in such a negative light that they claim they pose a threat to public safety (“Reduce stigma for mental health patients in Hong Kong to aid their recovery”, ­November 23).

We must change our perception in society that people suffering from mental illness pose a threat. I used to do that until I did some volunteer work in ­London, in 2009.

I can understand why some of these patients would want to conceal their condition, ­because they fear they could lose the chance of finding work and they may be ostracised by their bosses and ­colleagues.

Research overseas has shown that the workplace plays an important role for people ­recovering from mental illness.

In fact, a sympathetic work environment can help people on the path to recovery.

There is more the government could do to correct the widespread stigma associated with people with mental illness and the negative perceptions of them through education.

It could invite individuals who have made a full recovery from mental illness to participate in talks, about how they positively contributed to the workforce.

Companies and organisations are increasingly reluctant to hire people with mental health issues, and this inevitably increases health care costs and compounds the social consequences of mental illness.

Only when they are truly integrated into the employment force can we successfully eliminate the stigma associated with them.

Famous people from history such as Winston Churchill and Abraham Lincoln suffered from mental illness. They are proof that people with these problems can still make a valuable contribution to society.

Eunice Li Dan-yue, Causeway Bay

Not the right time for police Facebook page

I do not think it was a good idea for the police to open a Facebook page and invite the public to make comments.

There are people who harbour a lot of grievances following some incidents. The Facebook page provided people with an opportunity to continually make comments criticising the police over various actions.

However, the force should delete any comments even if they are negative, as it will make people think that they are unresponsive to public views.

The force can do something useful with it and it can even help with solving crimes and finding missing persons.

Anna Kan Sze-lun, Kowloon Tong

Department for trees is long overdue

You see so many trees that have been planted along roadsides, but many of them are not getting the care they need.

Sometimes a government department will order too much pruning which can cause a lot of damage to large trees.

I think there needs to be an overall assessment of tree care in Hong Kong to ensure better protection of the city’s green heritage. We live in a concrete jungle and so suffer from a lack of greenery.

One problem is that different government departments are responsible for trees.

What is needed is for the Tree Management Office to integrate all tree management resources and set up a new department specialising in tree care.

Sukie Chiu, Kowloon Tong

Doubts over comments on country parks

It is a universally acknowledged principle that those who debate issues, and even more those who decide issues, should know what they are talking about.

A former chief executive and the present chief executive have spoken on the balance to be struck between the recreational value of the country parks and the housing needs of the Hong Kong masses.

The recreational value of the country parks cannot be gauged by looking at green patches on maps, it can only be experienced.

Those without that experience, gained only by exploring the parks, can have nothing to say on the matter. Where that conclusion leaves the said chief executives I would not know.

David Pollard, Tai Po