Letters to the Editor, August 10, 2016
Beijing’s tactics play into hands of activists
It would seem that Hong Kong’s flirtation with democracy has come to an end.
In a true democracy we should adhere to the principle of “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” But our paranoid masters north of the border and our spineless government have a different approach, which would be amusing if it were not so worrying.
In the UK, elections are fought between major parties, people with axes to grind and the likes of the Monster Raving Loony Party. Those with nonconformist views are free to stand for election but may expect to attract few votes as their policies may be neither practical nor popular.
So why is Beijing/our government so concerned about those who propose independence?
As Mike Rowse and others have pointed out recently, preventing a pro-independence voice from standing for election only brings attention to their cause and attracts support. Why not let them stand for election?
The chances are they will lose, and if they do not lose then Beijing should ask itself some serious questions as to why they have the support of the electorate; although Beijing will probably put it down to the result of brainwashing by US sympathisers – “one country, 1.5 systems”.
Andy Statham, Happy Valley
Animosity is not part of the Olympic spirit
Sports fans who are watching the Rio Olympics will have been reading about the tense relationship between the Chinese swimmer Sun Yang and Australia’s Mack Horton (“Sun Yang declares war: I’m the king, he tells nemesis Mack Horton as China and Australia trade barbs”, August 8).
Horton won the men’s 400 metres freestyle and Sun was second, losing by a split second. Afterwards Horton described his opponent as a drugs cheat and China demanded an apology.
I think both swimmers were at fault. Sun showed a lack of respect for his fellow competitors (he was involved in an altercation with a Brazilian swimmer and coach) and Horton’s comments about Sun were impolite.
One of the fundamental principles of the Olympic Games should be that competitors from different countries show respect for each other. Friendship between athletes is so important.
If you show respect it will be reciprocated.
Sharon Ho, Lam Tin
Difficult to get excited about Games
Many Hongkongers probably watched a lot of the coverage on TV of the Olympic Games in 2008 in Beijing and 2012 in London.
Many of us have sentimental feelings about both these cities. But we don’t have the same emotions when it comes to Rio.
There will be some diehard fans who will set their alarm clocks to get up in the middle of the night, but I won’t be one of them. So far, I haven’t watched any events, because the football matches that I am keen to see have not kicked off; so I suppose I am not a genuine fan of the Olympics.
When it comes to losing sleep and being glued to the TV, I will have to wait until the World Cup in Russia in 2018.
Randy Lee, Ma On Shan
Banquet hosts can help to save sharks
Some species of sharks face extinction if they keep being killed at the present rate. One of the chief reasons they face this threat is the continuing demand from diners to be served shark’s fin dishes.
The campaign to end the trade in shark fins was given a boost last month when China’s biggest shipping and logistics company (Cosco Shipping) pledged a total ban on the transportation of shark fins.
We can all help this campaign. Shark’s fin soup is popular at Chinese wedding banquets. Hosts of these banquets must agree not to serve such dishes. And diners should always refrain from ordering them when in a restaurant.
Amanda Chu, Tai Kok Tsui
Dialogue is better than confrontation
Disputes between teenagers and their parents are common in families.
Youngsters can be very strong-willed and if the arguments get serious this can damage relationships between children and their parents.
Along with other kinds of pressure this can adversely affect the mental health of students and can even lead to depression.
It is important for youngsters to learn to control their temper. Parents also have to learn to compromise and not always dig their heels in.
If both sides make a real effort then I think a harmonious relationship is possible in the long term.
Parents do have to sometimes take a hard line on issues, but when they refuse a request from their child they have to explain why they said no.
They should try and see things from the point of view of their children. At the end of the day, having a discussion is always better than a very bitter argument.
Children benefit from growing up in a harmonious family environment and it enables them to develop relationships with people. This can help them when they are adults.
Candy Kong Lok-son, Tseung Kwan O
E-learning will be problem for poor students
E-learning is used a lot in many schools nowadays.
It has a number of advantages for students and teachers. But while people describe it as being convenient, they sometimes neglect the downside.
E-learning is only possible with computers and, while they are freely available in the classroom, doing homework could be a problem for families on low incomes if they do not have a computer at home.
There is also the health issue. If students spend too long at a computer screen, it can put a strain on their eyes. A computer can also be distracting and some youngsters might play computer games when they should be doing homework.
While e-learning can be beneficial, traditional learning techniques are also still valid and youngsters should always try to read more books.
Heidi Chan, Lam Tin
Teachers make good use of computers
With advances in new technology, devices such as computers and smartphones have become an essential part of our lives.
While they can be helpful to students, there has been some controversy surrounding e-learning. Critics say that schools can rely too much on e-learning and there is a risk that computers can actually be a distraction for some students in the classroom.
However, it cannot be denied that it is very convenient. Before, students would have to go to a library and look for a book, while now they can do an online search that takes only about a minute. Teachers use it for homework, sometimes via WhatsApp, and iPads are commonly used during lessons.
Some parents may have mixed feelings about e-learning, fearing it can be a distraction with so many entertainment apps. However, I think overall it does more good than harm. Most students can strike a balance between academic work and chatting online.
Kassandra Wong Hiu-tung, Hang Hau