Letters to the Editor, August 3, 2016

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 03 August, 2016, 4:19pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 03 August, 2016, 4:19pm

Shooting not appropriate for Olympics

When will the Olympic movement clean up its act and genuinely serve the cause of global health and peace?

The current spate of doping scandals and the overwhelming influence of powerful nations and corporations is ruining the whole system.

Instead of promoting fitness, the Olympics merely serves the pride of richly subsidised ­athletes and the aggressive ­conceit of their sponsoring countries.

As usual, money is the source of the corruption, as it is in most national sports. Sports fans ­sitting for hours in stadiums pay inflated prices for tickets or sit at home watching endless TV commercials to enrich corporate profits. Sports are supposed to benefit health – not much benefit here, is there? Instead of watching overdeveloped ­athletes on TV, parents would do better to take their kids for a walk or a swim.

Another area where the Olympic Games have failed is the continuation of shooting contests. Since when did guns become a source of physical health? How much energy is needed to pull a trigger? It is ludicrous and shameful for a gold medal in shooting to be on a par with a medal for a running or swimming event.

Shooting came into the Games because European aristocrats and soldiers enjoyed hunting and fighting. Constant target practice ensured success in the chase and on the battlefield. Are we still living in the ­Victorian age?

Is a marksman who kills a harmless grass-eating animal a 100 metres away still considered a person of honour? Do soldiers and civilian gunmen deserve any place in the Olympics, ­supposedly devoted to promoting peace?

It is too late to stop gun-holders from joining the 2016 Games. Shooting events will ­occupy six days at Rio, an inordinate amount of time for such a dubious, unsporting activity.

The next Summer Olympics will be in Tokyo in 2020.

Genuine sports lovers and peace activists have four years to persuade the Olympic authorities to remove shooting ­contests and clean up the Games.

The people of Asia should be eager to remove this European perversion of what should be a wholesome and peace-promoting occasion, not a glorification of Western gun-making proficiency.

Jack Graynor, Tai Kok Tsui

Russia’s honest athletes should be at Games

I refer to the report (“Disharmony: Wada ‘disappointed’ as IOC fails to ban Russia from Olympic Games over doping scandal”, July 25).

Many Russian athletes have already been banned from the Rio Games.

This is one of the world’s ­biggest sporting events and clean athletes should be able to take part knowing that there is a level playing field and that all their competitors are clean.

The Games are supposed to symbolise peace and friendship and these principles are undermined when some athletes are drug cheats.

However, not all members of the Russian team are cheats. I am sure there are many who did not violate any rules on doping. Therefore, I think the International Olympic Committee made the right decision to let the governing bodies ­of individual sports decide who can and ­cannot compete in Rio. The clean athletes have spent years preparing for the Games and it would be unfair if they were disqualified because of the behaviour of dishonest athletes.

A Russian athlete who has not been found guilty of doping should be allowed to compete.

Of course the authorities should continue to fight against drug cheats, but we also need to be fair to those individuals who have trained hard for years and who are not dishonest.

Those individuals who have made that effort must be ­allowed to chase their dream and I hope all the Russian ­athletes who have been honest and who have been preparing for the last four years will be ­allowed to take part in the Games.

Hebe Ng Yik-huen, Tseung Kwan O

Problem of stray dogs is getting worse

I agree with those correspondents who have advised people to think carefully before they ­decide to purchase a dog.

The problem of abandoned dogs in Hong Kong is getting out of control and something must be done to try and deal with it.

Too often people purchase a dog without thinking it through. It can be a spur-of-the-moment decision. They often fail to appreciate that looking after the pet is not that easy.

People may find that it is not possible to look after the dog properly if they have a full-time job and then they abandon it.

This is cruel as a domesticated dog will struggle to survive in a hostile environment once it has been abandoned.

The government has to get tough on people who abandon their dogs and impose stiff fines through the courts.

It can also produce adverts to raise awareness about the importance of responsible pet ownership.

Winnie Lei Yuen-lam, Yau Yat Chuen

Breastfeeding mothers need better facilities

In some offices in Hong Kong, working mothers are forced to hide in filthy toilet cubicles to pump breast milk for their babies.

This is still happening ­because of a lack of public awareness about the need to provide adequate breastfeeding facilities for mothers throughout the city, including places of work.

Mothers are forced to find unhygienic places to pump milk or even to breastfeed when they are in public places in Hong Kong, such as malls. So many shopping malls and companies still do not have clean facilities, such as a custom-built breastfeeding room.

From a health perspective this is not good for mothers or their babies.

The Hong Kong government must follow the example set by some countries and implement family-friendly policies.

At the very least, even if there is no nursing room available, mothers need designated areas where they can breastfeed and they must be clean so they can feel at ease while feeding their babies.

It is important to raise public awareness about this issue, so that more citizens recognise the need to provide these facilities in public places in the city and can put pressure on companies and the government.

Where they find that facilities are inadequate they should write to the relevant companies and to the government. By ­protesting and highlighting this issue, they can help make changes possible and end discrimination against breastfeeding mothers.

There is certainly more that the government can do.

It has to accept that this is a problem in Hong Kong and it must take appropriate action so that more clean and easily accessible breastfeeding facilities are set up in Hong Kong.

This is a matter that officials should be addressing as a matter of urgency.

Hester Leung,Tung Chung

Canteens can offer low-sugar food and drink

I am concerned about the ­increasing number of teenagers in Hong Kong who are ­becoming obese.

This problem is getting worse with more local people becoming overweight and some of them are classed as obese.

Some individuals, where their condition has become serious, will elect to have surgery to help them lose weight. ­However, teenagers who are overweight should not have to resort to surgery. They are young enough to be able to make lifestyle changes.

Too often teenagers buy ­unhealthy snacks and soft drinks containing a lot of sugar during their lunch break. School ­canteens and tuck shops can help by having items on sale which are low-sugar or sugar-free.

Schools must encourage students to do more sports. They should have a gym with air conditioning so youngsters can work out even during the hot summer months.

Alice Ma, Tseung Kwan O