Letters to the Editor, October 13, 2016
Ban corporal punishment for children
There have been some discussions over the past few weeks (including in these columns) on corporal punishment of children.
Globally a total of 49 states have now prohibited all corporal punishment. Corporal punishment not only hurts the child physically, but also sends a message that the child is worthless.
Smacking or hitting an adult is violence. Why should that not be so when inflicted on a child?
The child’s rights and dignity as a person must be respected. Corporal punishment of children is a form of violence. It should be totally banned as it violates the child’s right to be respected for his or her human dignity and physical integrity.
Research has demonstrated consistently that corporal punishment does not work for children and parents. It does not stop the bad behaviour of “difficult” children.
It suggests a variety of poor outcomes such as increased antisocial behaviour and juvenile delinquency, greater approval of other forms of violence, greater impulsiveness and less self-control, poorer parent-child relationships, poorer mental ability, more drug abuse, and greater alcohol abuse.
Children learn through parental modelling. How parents act will have a profound impact on the development of their children. Parents need to care for themselves and learn to deal with their own stress and have self-control.
If you do not want your child to hit others or have poor outcomes, do not hit them, but teach them to respect others. Even if you dislike a child’s behaviour, never suggest that you dislike the child.
Jessica Ho, director, Against Child Abuse
Government has eroded optimism
As a student I can understand why my peers have a downbeat view about their prospects (“Students pessimistic about future”, October 11).
Lots of teenagers feel their opportunities to develop their careers are limited as are the chances for them to launch their own businesses.
They may have a lot of good ideas, but find they are working for a company with so many regulations that their creative growth is stunted.
Even if they go it alone and launch their own start-up, they face high costs. Many young adults may have dreams, but with all the obstacles put in their way they are forced to accept harsh reality.
More mainlanders are now joining the ranks of Hong Kong’s student population and this creates a very competitive atmosphere. There are differences in mindsets between them and local students. The latter fear they could some day end up in the minority.
They also share the public’s discontent with an ineffective government which fails to make decisions about important issues, and keeps dithering when a decisive response is what is needed.
It is criticised for pushing ahead with major infrastructure projects like the high-speed rail link, without thinking things through and anticipating the problems that have arisen.
Students and other citizens worry that the government will waste a lot of money on some of these projects. Like other students, I wonder if real changes are possible in society.
Katrina Ho, Sheung Shui
Chai Wan site suitable for columbarium
I refer to your editorial (“We all need to rest in peace eventually”, October 5).
Kerry Logistics respects the decision of the Town Planning Board to reject our application to convert an industrial building in Chai Wan into a modern columbarium, although the reasons are not clear to us.
The problem of traffic and crowd control during the two peak periods was fully addressed by Kerry Logistics.
In our submission, we will have an appointment system for visits which can be tightened or relaxed as necessary, depending on actual experience. We are prepared to begin with no visits during the two peak periods if the Transport Department considers that necessary.
As to setting an “undesirable” precedent for rezoning, the conundrum is that there is no zoning for modern columbariums in Hong Kong unlike other cities in Taiwan, Japan, Malaysia and elsewhere.
The Chai Wan site is in fact a very suitable site for a modern columbarium because it is located almost half a kilometre from the nearest residential development and buffered from the rest of the industrial area by a waste treatment plant, a cement plant and by water.
We agree wholeheartedly with you that the serious shortfall in burial places in Hong Kong can only be met by “concerted efforts of the government and the private sector”.
George Yeo, chairman, Kerry Logistics
Alternative to unsafe cubicle flats is urgent
I refer to the report (“Day of anger over those living at industrial buildings”, October 4).
Many people on low incomes are living in cubicle flats in industrial buildings and clearly the common denominator is poverty.
They are citizens from the grass roots who cannot afford the high rents on private housing estates and are either not entitled to a public flat or are on the long waiting list.
There is clearly an urgent need for more public estates, because conditions in these industrial buildings are dangerous.
However, getting more estates constructed will take time, and in the short term the government must provide more subsidies so that these people can get better and safer housing. It must also try and offer some decent temporary housing so that at least they can get out of the subdivided flats in disused factories.
It could take over abandoned factories and redevelop them, hiring architects to design safe units. This would increase the supply of decent quality, safe and affordable apartments.
NGOs could be given the task of monitoring these developments and ensuring conditions were acceptable.
I really hope action can be taken as quickly as possible to ensure that those people living in unsafe cubicle flats in old factories can be found better accommodation.
Serena Mak Kit-ying, Yau Yat Chuen
Formula E race a missed opportunity
I took my excited son to Central on Sunday to see the Formula E race.
Since they were using our city as a dramatic backdrop and striving to promote their sport and electric cars in general, I was sure that we would be allowed to stand somewhere and watch the racing cars whizzing past.
In fact the organisers had spent tens of thousands of dollars erecting huge screens all around the race track so that hardly anybody could get a proper look. How did this serve to promote their sport?
What right did the Formula E company have to stop me looking at the roads which I have paid for with my taxes? What kind of message did this send out about Hong Kong?
All the tourists striving to catch a glimpse of the cars must have thought that Hong Kong is the home of exclusive elitism where everything can be privatised and everything is controlled by tycoons and big companies. They would not have been far wrong.
What a crass waste of an opportunity to spread the positive message about emissions-free motoring.
Warren Russell, Tseung Kwan O