Letters to the Editor, June 14, 2016

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 14 June, 2016, 4:18pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 14 June, 2016, 4:18pm

US needs very tough gun control laws

The Orlando shootings in ­Florida have led to more calls for gun ­control in America.

The US government needs to recognise that there are too many loopholes when it comes to acquiring guns, and that proper gun controls must be ­imposed for the sake of ­citizens. Inadequate gun control legislation has a long history in the country.

In 1791, the Bill of Rights made it legal for citizens to keep and bear arms.

Since then, laws have been enacted introducing some controls, such as the Gun Control Act in 1968 and the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act imposing background checks for gun users.

However, according to Mass Shooting Tracker, in 2015, there were 372 mass shootings in the US, killing 475 people and wounding 1,870. The problem with gun control laws is that they are simply not effective. There are too many loopholes for potential shooters to acquire guns.

They can easily purchase guns legally and illegally. Citizens can buy guns from ­private sellers who are not ­legally required to check their backgrounds. They could also acquire guns through theft or have others buy guns on their behalf. Furthermore, a number of private sellers are willing to sell guns to buyers who do not pass their background checks.

There are also gaps in the FBI’s database of criminal and mental health records, which are consulted during background checks. Such loopholes create a threat to America, ­because ­people could easily own a gun and start a mass shooting.

The results of these large-scale shootings are too serious to ignore.

Victims could be from any race, or religious and socioeconomic background, and a large portion of them are children or teenagers. A lot of the nation’s resources are spent educating individuals in society and many of them die in these futile acts of violence, wasted ­talent and potential.

Quite simply, current gun control laws are failing to stop ­people being killed in these shooting incidents, which keep happening. I would like to see a blanket ban in the US, which stops all citizens from buying guns.

This would lower the level of gun violence we are presently seeing.

Rachel Wong Lok-lam, Pok Fu Lam

Those who seek to oppress will not win

The tragedy that has befallen ­Orlando, Florida, is heart-wrenching; the loss of life unbearable for those who are left to mourn.

The callous feebleness of the person driven to such an act by the vile pursuit of an ideology founded upon hatred has gained no ground in its doomed path for dominance.

In targeting the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, of which I am part, they have merely strengthened our resolve.

Those who seek to oppress will not succeed for ­humanity is stronger. Our community is ­unfairly referred to as one of ­“sexual orientation”; sex is not the foundation of our lives. The LGBT community strives for love, friendship and long-term commitment just as non-same sex couples desire.

We are your pilots, your ­soldiers, your brothers and ­sisters, we are you and we are one, united in our resilience against any brotherhood of hate. May those who lost their lives in Orlando, Florida, rest in peace. Your deaths will always be remembered.

Mark Peaker, The Peak

MTR should fix stations with design flaws

On rainy days, in MTR stations, you always hear announcements in three languages alerting passengers to be aware of the wet floor, even if the floor is not actually wet.

What the MTR Corporation should be doing is trying to make life easier for passengers at those poorly-designed stations where they have to endure exceptional heat and humidity and where there may not even be any air-conditioning.

I caught a train at Kwun Tong station last Friday at about 6pm.

The lines of people were very long because there were only a few turnstiles at three ­locations with only two escalators going up and one narrow staircase. People got stuck.

This is a clear case of poor planning. It illustrates that the MTR Corp has underestimated passenger ­traffic by a large ­margin.

Large parts of the upper platform level at Kwun Tong ­station face nearby high-rise buildings, and this prevents good air movement.

The platforms are not partitioned and without air-conditioning. It would be cooler and more comfortable out in the open.

With the profit it makes, the MTR should put its resources to better use to help its customers.

Wilkie Wong, Yuen Long

Smartphones a good learning aid for students

Smartphones have grown in popularity and I think most students in Hong Kong now own one.

Because they are so widespread, there has been some ­debate about whether they are beneficial to teens and if there is a downside, such as overuse.

The e-dictionary in these ­devices definitely helps students with their studies.

They can check the meaning and spelling of words quickly and no longer have to carry and look up a thick printed dictionary. Also, the phone has a speaker so students can check pronunciations. Clearly, the smartphone is an excellent tool for students.

It is helpful in different subjects. The calculator can be used with science subjects, especially in maths and we can download the ­periodic table for chemistry class and the graph for ­biology class.

Also, we can search learning sources for lessons on the internet.

We can also communicate with netizens on subjects we are studying instead of just asking teachers or classmates.

You can learn anywhere and at any time, so there is no limit on the time you want to spend ­studying.

Of course, there is a downside to using these phones.

Although they have a lot of educational content, they also provide a lot of entertainment and this means that some youngsters are easily distracted. It is up to students to realise there is a potential problem and exercise self-discipline.

This gives them a chance to learn self-control and time management.

Overall, the advantages of learning with a smartphone phone outweigh the disadvantages.

Hebe Ng Yik-huen, Tseung Kwan O

Hire more native English teachers in HK

The drop in English standards in Hong Kong has been alarming. This includes students at local schools, despite English immersion education.

Hong Kong people make common mistakes translating Cantonese into English. You ­often see these errors in magazines.

Also, many people mix up Chinese sentence structures with English.

The falling standard of ­English is humiliating for Hong Kong. The government needs to address the problem by hiring more native English-speaking teachers from abroad, especially the US. They can help to raise the standard of spoken English.

Young people should also watch more American films to improve their pronunciation of words.

I really hope standards can be raised in Hong Kong.

Circle Yuen, Tseung Kwan O