Letters to the Editor, July 29, 2016

PUBLISHED : Friday, 29 July, 2016, 5:06pm
UPDATED : Friday, 29 July, 2016, 5:06pm

Armenians’ genocide claim not justified

I refer to the article in Post Magazine by Stuart Heaver (“Why acknowledging the Armenian genocide is a big deal for 100 Hongkongers”, July 8).

As a Turkish academic living and working in Hong Kong for the last 20 years, I wish to present another narrative to this highly charged issue.

In the second half of the 19th century, support was given by some influential Armenian organisations to the policies of tsarist Russia aimed at weakening and dividing the Ottoman empire.

During the first world war, various Armenian radical groups allied with the Russian army invading the Ottoman

empire to establish an ethnically homogenous Armenia.

In response, the Ottoman government in 1915 relocated the Armenian population residing in the war zone or in the strategic areas near the southern Ottoman provinces, away from the supply routes and transport lines of the advancing Russians.

It took several measures for the safe transfer during the relocation. However, wartime ­conditions worsened by the general lawlessness of a disintegrating empire led to a tragedy.

Within this context, I would like to emphasise that there is no authentic evidence which shows a premeditated killing of the Armenians.

Turkey has never denied that Armenians suffered during the war. This has been acknowledged at the highest level in ­Turkey on several occasions. However, the events of 1915 need to be studied without prejudice or politicisation.

In this context, Turkey has long proposed the establishment of a joint commission composed of Turkish, Armenian and international experts. ­Armenia is yet to respond positively to this proposal.

The Armenian narrative ­defines the events of 1915 as “genocide”, completely ­ignoring the legal aspect.

Genocide was first legally ­defined in the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide. Events that took place in 1915 do not fall within its jurisdiction.

Furthermore, it is a clearly defined crime.

It can only be assessed and established in accordance with the rules of international criminal law and by a competent international court. There is no judgment in which a competent international court made such an assessment on this issue.

Turkey and Armenia should strive to rebuild their historical friendship without forgetting their common past.

There is a need for dialogue and respect for different views. Everyone should oppose those who want their version of history to be accepted as indisputable truth.

Professor Muammer Ozer, Kowloon Tong

Offer more proof to back up argument

Regarding the South China Sea dispute, Peter Wei (“China is right to take this strong stance”, July 15) argues that “China’s sovereignty is an historical fact”, without any further clarification.

Clearly there are those who would not agree so it is not an indisputable fact in the way that “2+2=4” is, but more on the lines of “we’re right, because we are”.

Personally I prefer a little more evidence to back up an ­argument and if we are going to drag up history then I believe the Great Wall was built along the historical borders of China.

Andy Statham, Happy Valley

Monitor time you spend on smartphone

I refer to the letter by Chow Wai-yan (“We must spend less time on our mobiles”, July 12).

Studies have shown that spending too long using social media on smartphones and ­other devices, can adversely ­affect children psychologically and can stunt their development.

It may also hold them back in their academic studies.

I think all of us need to pause and think about the amount of time we spend on our smartphones and how much of a ­distraction it can be.

We need to be aware of the pitfalls and strike the right ­balance to prevent the potential risks of overuse.

People should turn off notifications so they are not ­constantly checking them. You start checking one notification and before you know it you have spent half an hour browsing. If it is turned off you can spend your time doing more meaningful things.

People also need to remove their phone from the bedroom before they go to sleep and not use it as an alarm clock. Otherwise they will be checking it when they set the alarm and when they wake up and turn it off.

People should also use apps like QualityTime for Android and Moment for iOS, that ­monitor mobile use and tell them how much time they are spending looking at the smartphone screen.

You can set alerts ­reminding you if you are using your phone too much.

If people are more aware of the negative impact of overuse of smartphones, they can be more disciplined.

Yoyo Yeung, Tseung Kwan O

There is a positive side to popular game

The new augmented reality smartphone game Pokemon Go is now in Hong Kong.

On the way home the other night, I noticed that street ­corners were crammed with people totally absorbed in what they were doing on their smartphones. I realised that the game had already become a craze in the city.

Critics of Pokemon Go say that playing it does more harm than good, but I do not agree with that view. I think there are some positive aspects to the game.

To hit their targets that they see on the screen of their smartphones people have to act quickly with their fingers and pay close attention to the screen; this ­enhances the players’ hand and eye coordination.

Today teenagers want to do everything quickly and are always in a rush, but with this game they have be patient and concentrate hard and this can only be good for them.

They also might meet new acquaintances while playing the game and widen their circle of friends.

This game can help you learn more about the importance of being part of a team which is an important skill to learn and can be helpful in young adults’ working lives. In real life so many tasks require cooperation with others.

I appreciate that many ­people have raised safety issues and are concerned that people ­playing Pokemon Go will not pay attention to their surroundings, for example, when they are crossing a busy road, and therefore put themselves at risk.

However, I think most Hong Kong citizens will act sensibly and rationally when they are playing the game and will take care. Players just have to show some self-discipline.

Natalie Mak, Diamond Hill

All parties can help troubled teenagers

A number of reasons have been given for the spate of student suicides during the last school year, including mental health problems, interpersonal relationships and difficulty ­adapting.

I think relationship problems can sometimes get very serious. When youngsters are mixing with peers and teachers every day, they are coming into contact with people with differing personalities. There can be conflicts and in some cases even bullying, which can have a devastating effect on a young ­person. I have seen schoolmates who are so stressed out they have quit school because of relationship problems and as we know, in ­extreme cases, some teens have taken their own lives.

All stakeholders need to ­recognise this is an issue that must be dealt with and there is a need to understand and show sympathy for these troubled students.

Fellow students, teachers, parents and even the Education Bureau should make the effort to ensure youngsters suffering from emotional problems get the help they need.

With tolerance, patience and empathy, youngsters with problems can get better.

Priscilla Ko Ka-ying, Tseung Kwan O