Letters to the Editor, March 11, 2017
Spiritual void taking its toll on young lives
Anisha Abraham’s article calling for openness on youth stress and suicide (“Let’s talk about youth suicide”, March 5) threw a great deal of light on the subject. Certainly we need to focus more on speaking with young people about self-worth, depression and thoughts of suicide.
However, the most important aspect of human life is the spiritual one. Yet awareness of this is neglected both at home and in the various institutions of learning.
Right knowledge is impossible without inquiry into “who am I and how was this world created”. The answers are contained in the spiritual literature of the world. Unfortunately, this is not part of school syllabuses in Hong Kong.
But humanity is paying a very high price by neglecting to discover one’s true identity. This ignorance of our true being is the reason for all our confusion and the resultant problems.
More than the children and the youth, it is the responsibility of the parents and elders in society to re-educate themselves and mould their lifestyle based upon spiritual values. Looking at society today, it should be amply clear that an affluent lifestyle guided by obscene displays of wealth is not the road to well-being for young citizens.
We need to pull ourselves back and with a calm mind ponder over the question “Who am I – how does this world function?” Learn the answers and then live those answers.
K. P. Daswani, Mid-Levels
All children need is a bit of understanding
Cases of student suicide in Hong Kong have been on the rise. Some people blame parents for being too protective, which leaves their children unable to handle pressure. As a student, I have to disagree with this view.
Students in our city have always been subjected to great pressure, thanks to the education system and the sickening trend of competing, which starts even before kindergarten.
Parents who indoctrinate the idea of “enter university or you’re a loser” in their children create a distorted concept of studying. Many parents tend to have extremely high academic expectations and requirements for their children, without understanding their true gifts. This makes students depressed, as they feel unappreciated.
Internet trolls can also cause great mental harm. Many people judge students without understanding the true nature of the situation. Some of them even say suicide is a cowardly act. Such comments and attacks add to their stress and intensify the negative emotions among young students, making some of them take the tragic decision to end their lives.
Life planning, as suggested by the Education Bureau, is not really helping. What students actually need is not a well-planned life or a clear life goal, but the understanding of the adults around them. Some families and schools tend to give students stress instead of support, which really affects the mental health of the children.
I hope that the government will listen to our voices before making any decisions about us. I also wish that people would show us more support, not just criticise. Most importantly, I hope parents can spend more time to communicate with their children and understand them.
Kaecee Wong, Hang Hau
Intensify drive to cut food waste in city
I am writing in response to your article on waste management (“Charges for waste ‘may be in force by 2019’ ”, March 6).
I agree with the government’s plan to implement charges for solid waste disposal by 2019. In 2015, the average Hongkonger dumped 1.39 kg of municipal solid waste per day into the city’s refuse heaps, a 3 per cent rise from the year before and the highest level in a decade. Therefore charges should be introduced to help achieve waste reduction and build up a habit of recycling. As the article said, the proposed charging methods may be either “by weight” or “by bag”.
Less waste will eventually ease the pressure on landfills. The government should also enhance existing recycling facilities, especially for food waste.
Government data shows 36 per cent of solid waste dumped in landfills in 2012 was food waste. There should thus be more aggressive campaigning to promote food waste reduction.
In the long run, a stick and carrot approach could be used by the government, such as introducing a bonus scheme to encourage recycling and waste reduction, and charging for the disposal of solid waste.
Candy Kong Lok-son, Tseung Kwan O
High time for China to act on animal cruelty
Reports of animal cruelty in China have attracted worldwide attention. Although lawmakers agreed to consider the issue, an animal protection law proposed in 2009 has yet to be enacted. There is no excuse for this.
From moon bears caged for their bile, animals killed or skinned alive for their fur or for leather, or exploited and abused in circuses : the list goes on. Lawmakers of China need to introduce the widespread changes the citizens want. People also must be educated on proper animal care and made aware of punishments for abuse.
Louis Gauci, Newport, Kentucky, US
University life sparks harsh reality check
University is supposed to be a place where young talents are trained to grow and blossom. There are a lot of activities and societies, flexible timetables and, most importantly, a comfortable dormitory. At least, that is what I used to think.
But my view has proved to be too idealistic, at least in China. I never thought there would be restrictions like an 11pm curfew, with cooking or even the skipping of some lessons forbidden.
With such limits on their freedom, how can youngsters learn to manage their time, to prioritise things and to live independently?
I have begun to regret my choice of further studies in China, though I am in one of the top universities in Beijing. Fees for my dormitory are high, with electricity charges extra. What is more, costs for the coming year will be more than doubled.
T. Fong, Beijing
Food trucks promoting a fake culture
I am strongly opposed to any further development of the food truck scheme in Hong Kong.
First, the scheme is making Hong Kong lose its authentic street food culture. Street food stalls and hawkers are already hard to find . With pop-up trucks now selling their “high-class” street food, traditional street food vendors will lose business.
The government should think of more opportunities to develop an authentic street food culture that is high on hygienic standards and food quality.
Second, the scheme cannot achieve its original aim. As outlined by then financial secretary John Tsang Chun-wah in his budget speech in 2015, the plan aims to boost tourism and help young entrepreneurs and restaurants start up their business with a low operating price. We find licences have mostly been won by chain eateries thus far. This can’t help the grassroots.
The scheme is not really suited to Hong Kong and promotes a fake street food culture. I strongly urge the government wake up from its “everything-imported-is-better” mentality.
Wong Lok-yi, Yau Yat Chuen