Letters to the Editor, August 1, 2016

PUBLISHED : Monday, 01 August, 2016, 5:05pm
UPDATED : Monday, 01 August, 2016, 5:05pm

Plagiarism wake-up call for students

The speech of Melania Trump, wife of Donald Trump, US Republican presidential candidate, at the party’s convention, has been criticised for its similarities to a speech made by ­Michelle Obama (“Plagiarism claim mars Melania’s speech”, July 20).

The speech caused a sensation globally and as an article pointed out on the BBC’s news website, it presents teachers with an opportunity to talk to ­students about plagiarism.

As a teacher, I agree and think that we can use it as teaching material and explain plagiarism to youngsters and how to avoid it.

It is important that they have a clear concept about plagiarism as many are ignorant about how serious it is and what the consequences can be for them.

They rely too much on information they have downloaded from the internet and are so used to copying and cutting and pasting, that some will use other authors’ ideas without feeling any shred of guilt.

Teachers have to make sure their students understand the need to respect the works of ­authors and that plagiarism is serious and is the same as theft.

Melania Trump’s speech has become a subject of ridicule, ­forcing the speech-writer to apologise. But at least it can serve as a good lesson to local students.

Angela Chong, Macau

It is good old names have been preserved

I refer to the very interesting report, “Stories behind Hong Kong street names” (July 8).

Many Hong Kong street names or names of places provide a link to the city’s past and are part of our heritage.

Going on a walking tour and studying street names is especially interesting on Hong Kong Island, not only for tourists but also for locals.

It was a wise decision by the government to keep traditional names of streets and places as they will help future generations study the history of Hong Kong.

It is also welcomed by the “cultural tourists” who enjoy ­exploring parts of the city, although some names can be baffling for mainland visitors when they are translated.

I worked in an office on ­Pedder Street. Only years later did I discover that it was named after William Pedder, the first harbour master of Hong Kong.

Visitors walking along Hollywood Road might think there is a link with the Hollywood of California.

They would be equally ­mistaken if they thought the name Kennedy Town had ­anything to do with US president John F. ­Kennedy, or if they ­assumed Hennessy Road had something to do with the famous alcoholic drink of the same name.

Also, Fleming Road is not named after the scientist who discovered penicillin. Gin Drinkers Bay in Cantonese is called Lap Sap Wan ­­ ­(Rubbish Bay ).

As far as gin drinkers are ­concerned , their watering holes in colonial times could also be mentioned in a “cultural guide to the history of street names and places in Hong Kong”. Excellent information is available on the website (www.herita

ge.gov.hk), a treasure trove which deserves more attention and publicity.

Thomas Gebauer, Lantau

Blame players, not the game, for accidents

I refer to the report, “Hong Kong goes predictably Pokemon Go crazy, and businesses try to cash in” (July 27).

There are obviously more phubbers [people who are glued to their smartphones] than usual in Hong Kong since the launch here of the popular game ­Pokemon Go.

There are now even some ­Pokemon Go trainers. And obviously some businesses are trying to exploit its popularity.

Some bars and shopping malls have come up with different ways to attract customers and make more money. So it is not only proving entertaining for a lot of people, but profitable for some companies.

It is certainly true that you see large groups of these ­Pokemon Go players who ­wander around parks and other ­public places like phone-wielding zombies.

Their numbers increase at night, when they are out in force trying to catch pokemons.

When there are a lot of them in a crowded place and they are devoting their full attention to the game, they can put other ­citizens at risk, even those who have no interest in the game. These players are so caught up in the game that they ignore what is going on around them and that is when people can get hurt.

However, I do not think it is fair to say that Pokemon Go is a dangerous game. The danger comes from the way in which some people play it.

All players must stay alert and be aware of other pedestrians what are walking around them.

If they keep looking around and make sure they are not a risk to other individuals, they can have an enjoyable and safe time and not pose a threat to other people.

Katrina Lo, Tseung Kwan O

Avoid pet shops and adopt instead

I can understand why some ­people want to own a pet as they can bring a lot of benefits.

They can be good for people psychologically, hence the saying that a dog is man’s best friend. People can find pets a comfort when they are under stress. You can come back home after a bad day at work and your pet can help make you feel ­better.

Some people suffering from depression may feel better if they have a pet and you can always talk to the animal if you do not have a chance to confide in a friend or relative.

It also leads to more social interaction as neighbours and other people will often stop and talk to you when you are taking your dog out for a walk.

However, potential pet owners have to act responsibly. They must look at their circumstances and decide if they would be suitable owners. For example, they have to ask if they can afford to look after a pet. For example, if the animal gets sick, veterinarians’ fees can be quite high.

They need to ensure if their living environment is suitable (for example, size of flat) and if there would be hygiene problems. That can also create difficulties in the street if owners do not clean up after their dogs.

I am also worried about some pet shops where the ­animals are not looked after properly and may even be harmed.

Some retailers and breeders can be cruel towards the animals in their care and not feed them enough.

It would be better for people to adopt pets from animal ­welfare groups such as the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals rather than unscrupulous pet shop owners and breeders who are only concerned about ­profits.

Krystal Li, Shek Kip Mei

Taking issue with claim of racial bias

I refer to Yonden Lhatoo’s ­column, “If a white man bleeds, it leads: the sad reality of news judgment” (July 22).

Lhatoo’s suggestion that the media ignores atrocities against non-whites is factually incorrect and demonstrates divisive, illiberal thinking.

Western media can be ­expected to focus on atrocities occurring in the West, just as Middle Eastern or Asian media focuses on atrocities occurring in their respective regions.

And where is the racial bias when Western media covers ­police shootings of (black) young men in the US, honour killings of (brown) young ­women in Pakistan and hacking to death of (brown) secular bloggers in Bangladesh?

Racism undoubtedly exists in all parts of the world, but we should not fall into the trap of viewing everything through the illiberal lense of racial identity politics, itself a divisive form of racism currently in vogue with self-annointed “progressives” of all stripes.

A. Bleasdale, Tsim Sha Tsui