Letters to the editor, January 22, 2016

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 January, 2016, 5:37pm
UPDATED : Friday, 22 January, 2016, 5:37pm

Match dumped bicycles with real need

In Britain, a charity called Re-cycle receives donations of unwanted bicycles and sends them to Africa, where they are greatly needed. You might wonder what this has got to do with Hong Kong.

There are many bicycles in Hong Kong which have been claimed by various Hong Kong government departments, mostly for illegal parking, or they have just been abandoned. Should you go beneath the flyover on Route 3 which crosses Kam Tin Road, there you will see a great number of bicycles that have been dumped, and I’m sure there are many other such “bicycle graveyards” around Hong Kong – all on government land.

This brings me back to my first point about Re-cycle, which has set an excellent example by sending unwanted bicycles to Africa. Cannot the Hong Kong government do likewise? It is a total disgrace for the government to allow such a scandalous situation to exist. Put the bicycles into containers and ship them off to Africa, where they will be very much appreciated.

I feel sure there are enough charitable organisations on this side of the world that would be only too pleased to tell government officials the steps they have to take to make this happen.

And, for once, the Hong Kong government will have done something useful for the world of cycling.

Roy Cuthbert, Kam Tin

Chills from watching The Donald

It is easy to be drawn to Donald Trump, especially when watching him being bossy on television, saying, “You’re fired!” The concept of his reality TV show, The Apprentice, was actually quite interesting, though the same cannot be said about many of the participants.

“The Donald” has indeed a knack for business. However, to our great misfortune, he decided to submit a bid for the US presidency, with the slogan of “Make America great again”. It is a poor match: making America great again would really entail not electing Trump as president.

The defining tone of the campaign is the absolute absence of specific proposals, aside from: one, building a wall between the US and a country known, according to him, only for “criminals, rapists and drug dealers”; two, an outright ban of Muslims on American soil, supposedly temporarily; and, three, the deportation of 11 million illegal immigrants.

Beyond such “constructive” plans, Trump has also commented on the wisdom of Kim Jong-un’s grip on power and was recently commended by none other than Vladimir Putin, a person also known for his unmitigated irrationality.

Getting back to reality, the problem is that The Donald’s campaign, plagued with bigotry, hatred and insult, is negatively affecting the Republican race by hindering the build-up of credibility of his fellow contenders, who could actually have a shot at beating Hillary Clinton, the presumed Democratic candidate, to the Oval Office.

And for those afar thinking that American presidential elections will not affect them, they have yet to understand how modern civilization works. As long as the US continues to lead by example (hopefully for many decades to come), the copycat risk should not be neglected.

After a remarkable presidency that chose dialogue over warfare, care over indifference and acceptance over prejudice, it is truly regrettable to see vagueness (literally) trumping substance in the early start of the race. “Yes, we can” and should expect better from those who run for the office of the leader of the free world.

Jose Alvares, Macau

Emojis let us hide our real selves

I think many people overuse emojis in our text messages. Emojis seldom represent our real feelings and they encourage people to hide themselves. Many simply reply to a message using an emoji only.

I seldom use emojis as I find them dull. They can’t really capture what I think. It is ridiculous to be sending a smiley face to others while not smiling at all in person, or pretending to be fine when in fact we are sobbing.

Emojis help us present a friendly and optimistic personality but it isn’t always a true reflection. Besides, using so many emojis weakens our ability to write properly.

Chau Pui Yan, Kowloon Tong

Find a way to protest without harm

I refer to HKU students’ class boycott (“University of Hong Kong class boycott continues amid anger over interference”, January 21). As a university student myself, I totally understand why students at the University of Hong Kong are unhappy with the appointment of Professor Arthur Li Kwok-cheung as chairman of the university’s governing council. I have two suggestions, one for the students and one for Mr Li.

A feature of campaigns such as a hunger strike or a class boycott is that they hurt the protesters, too, to a certain extent, which is why they are considered radical, and appealing to some. During a boycott, students are absent from lectures and tutorials. Needless to say, this is detrimental to their studies.

Although university students are supposed to have more freedom and ability to manage their studies, in light of my own experience during the Occupy Central movement, those who missed classes would definitely find it harder to keep up with the progress of their studies. I believe the HKU students who have joined the boycott have weighed the costs and benefits of their action, and have taken the decision on their own. What I would like to point out is, there must be an alternative approach to voice our grievances without hurting ourselves.

Second, Mr Li is undeniably experienced and enthusiastic about tertiary education. He also has a reputation for having an iron fist. As a newly appointed chairman, he should try to placate the students, instead of criticising them, thereby creating more conflict. How Professor Joseph Sung Jao-yiu, the vice-chancellor of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, maintains a rapport with his students should be an example to Mr Li.

Neither the students nor Mr Li would benefit from a chaotic campus.

Tom Yow, Tin Shui Wai

Leave singer out of political problem

Taiwanese K-pop singer Chou Tzu-yu had to apologise for waving a Taiwanese flag on television, by saying “There is only one China and the two sides are one” (“‘Separatist’ label ‘unfair for Taiwan’s teen pop star Chou Tzu-yu: Chinese state media”, January 16).

She did nothing wrong but got in the middle of a long-standing political problem. It’s a problem adults have not been able to solve for decades. How can a 16-year-old girl be asked to take responsibility? People should leave her out of it.

Winky Lai, Kowloon Tong

Let Taiwan’s election inspire the Chinese

Now that Taiwan has had a democratic and free election (“Taiwan election: Tsai Ing-wen is Taiwan’s first female president after landslide victory in historic poll”, January 16) wouldn’t it be nice if China accorded its citizens the same respect and free choice?

Gavan Duffy, Queensland, Australia