Letters to the Editor, June 21, 2016

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 21 June, 2016, 3:46pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 21 June, 2016, 3:46pm

Russian fans have links to the far-right

Mak Lik-ko (“Ban England until fans stop misbehaving”, June 14) must have been watching a different Euro 2016 football match than the one I saw if he believes England fans caused the riot [following the match against Russia].

French prosecutors clearly lay the blame on the Russian fans, noting that they were well-trained and prepared for “rapid, violent action” while media coverage showed a charge by Russian fans into the poorly-segregated England fan section after the game was over, leaving 35 people injured, four seriously.

While it is clearly a tense time for the French authorities, and none of us condone violence, misstating the facts helps ­nobody. With Russia’s sports minister denying there was any violence while applauding the Russian fans’ behaviour and a senior Russian football official declaring there was nothing wrong with fighting, it is clear that there are deep problems within Russian football.

Starting at the club level, far-right groups have a stronghold on the sport, espousing xenophobic views and attitudes. At the national level, the ­ongoing doping scandals in ­athletics and tennis suggest the necessary top-level reform is unlikely to happen quickly in Russia, certainly not before the country hosts the 2018 World Cup.

One final point: the writer confuses the exciting Euro 2016 with the dull EU. Most of the EU desperately hopes the UK will remain inside – for fear of losing the UK’s annual contribution of ₤£13 billion (HK$148 billion) and opening the door to other ­member states seeking to change their relationship with an unelected Brussels super-state.

Stephen O’Sullivan, Pok Fu Lam

Gun violence in US has reached alarming levels

The shooting of American singer Christina Grimmie on June 10, has shocked fans and aroused people’s attention. Actually, throughout the year, there were more similar cases to mourn over in the US, not just her. Innocent lives taken away by pulling back the trigger recklessly is definitely heartbreaking.

While we should feel sorry for her death, let’s look at the bigger picture and the sorry policy for current gun control in the US. The system of background checks before purchase still has loopholes making it more likely there will be further tragedies. Do guns really come in handy for protection when it comes to an assault?

US citizens and their government need to make a concerted effort to come up with a solution to the problem of gun violence given that it has reached ­alarming levels.

Harry Ng, Tseung Kwan O

More welfare payments for mothers

Government statistics have ­revealed that Hong Kong’s new mothers are older than ever.

The number of women aged 40 and above having babies in Hong Kong increased by almost 90 per cent in the past decade.

Clearly, one reason for this is that many women focus on their careers and their working environment does not make it possible for them to start a family. Women do face more potential medical complications if they choose to wait until later (over the age of 35) to have children.

I think the career aspect is the main reason many women are waiting till later or deciding not to have children. If couples start a family and the wife decides to stay at home as a full-time mother, they might struggle financially in a city like Hong Kong. The Hong Kong government should offer more welfare payments to mothers.

It could adopt a system similar to the third-child priority scheme established in Singapore, where up to five per cent of the available flat supply is set aside for families with more than two children.

Alison Yu Tsz-man, Sham Shui Po

Britain cannot afford splendid isolation

Tomorrow British voters will decide on whether or not to remain in the European Union. Since it joined in 1973 the EU has grown from six members to 28.

The Maastricht Treaty has shown flaws in the organisation. This has led to smouldering discontent among some UK citizens. Both camps have argued forcefully to either leave or ­remain. Grenville Cross (“Breaking free”, June 20) said that June 23 should “be forever remembered as Independence Day”. For the other side, Cliff Buddle (“Better in than out”, June 18) said “the European mission despite all the problems it faces, is a force for good and one which other parts of the world can learn from”.

The heated debate in Britain came to a brief halt when MP Jo Cox was killed in her constituency last Thursday. Her death is a “catalyst” which may affect either camp.

Britain cannot afford the ­luxury of splendid isolation in the globalised world.

Lo Wai-kong, Yau Ma Tei

Removal of civil rights in the EU

I refer to Cliff Buddle’s article on the EU referendum (“Better in that out”, June 18).

Like Buddle, I too left the UK for Hong Kong more than 20 years ago.

In that time I have seen the gradual decline of ­Britain, and its Britishness, due to many contributing factors, not least bad governance.

The same decline can be said for the EU – a failed project, now developing into an ever-increasingly dangerous one.

In the Europe of the future the EU will mean even less power to the people and more control and law enforcement. The removal of civil rights, ­human rights and the steady erosion of faith in the EU ­(because of the bad policies forced on unwilling recipients) is what brought those wanting a free Britain to call for a referendum in the first place.

It is now apparent that you simply cannot bring over 500 million people together, who have vast and varied backgrounds, religious beliefs and traditions and expect them to happily accept laws decided by, in many cases, complete ­strangers to them.

These individuals have no idea about what those half a ­billion people of the EU really want.

Nor ­indeed does the EU have any ­desire to understand or ­deliver what the people of the EU want.

Like Buddle, I have no idea what it is like to live in the UK of today.

Unfortunately I have to rely on what the media reports, much of which is sponsored nonsense.

So, rather than proselytising the author should, with all due respect, wipe the smile of his face and wake up to the reality.

The peoples of Europe are extremely unhappy with having their lives controlled by an ­unelected, overpaid select few, from a country that many of them will never be able to afford to visit, by “politicians” who have no interest in visiting them either.

Andrew Maxwell, Sai Kung

People should set time limits on phone use

With more advances in mobile phone technology, there are many interesting apps available.

While this can be very convenient it can also bring some disadvantages and we must realise that there can be a downside.

Overuse can harm people’s health, for example if people ­listen on headphones all the time and the volume is loud this could harm their hearing.

Overuse can lead to deterioration in personal relationships as people spend increasing amounts of time communicating via mobiles than face to face.

Not all of these apps are free. Some youngsters who become addicted to their smartphones will waste money purchasing more apps, for example, to play computer games.

People need to be aware of the possible pitfalls and limit the amount of time they spend on their phones.

They should set an alarm, allocating time limits.

Mary Ko, Tseung Kwan O