Letters to the Editor, March 12, 2017

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 12 March, 2017, 9:03am
UPDATED : Sunday, 12 March, 2017, 9:02am

China and US should resolve differences

Every day you see news reports about tension and controversies between the US and China. One careless word from any official in either country can cause ­markets around the world to plummet.

The South China Sea is also a source of friction as the People’s Liberation Army extends control over isolated atolls in waters with potential for oil, gas and seafood resources.

If history is any guide, we can expect a military confrontation at any time in that area, since there are trigger-happy officers in all armies who don’t want to lose face. An instance of impulsive ­missile-firing could spell ­disaster

Why should it be this way? We know that the US espouses ­capitalism and China communism, but these are only names, ideologies that have little relevance in a rapidly changing world. The US has a great deal of socialism in its political and ­economic life, and China has embraced stock-market capitalism with a vengeance. So where is the problem? When will reactionary officials in both ­countries stop their stupid ­rhetoric and flag-waving?

Our globe, our only home, faces huge crises – ecological damage, global warming, arms proliferation, ageing populations, runaway migration and international terrorism.

These can only be solved by international cooperation and a more unified and proactive United Nations.

Why don’t China and the US work together instead of cursing each other? In the past, Chinese workers did a great job in ­building the US’s transcontinental railroad and the US came to China’s aid in fighting Japan.

These two countries must stop the name-calling and begin to work together if the world is to advance safely into an uncertain future.

However, they won’t do so, because of leaders who use ­jingoism and ultranationalism as political tools to maintain power; corporate bosses and ­investors who enjoy fat profits from weapons; and, military men who revel in the feeling of power by wielding atomic weapons over cowed peoples. And both sides spend billions on new weapons and aircraft ­carriers that they cannot afford.

Jason Kuylein, Stanley

Technology gives students equal chance

I think it is good that students with special needs will be ­allowed to use speech-to-text software in the Diploma of Secondary Education liberal studies exam this year.

This software will be great for students who have speech difficulties, which would have put them at a ­disadvantage. Of course it will not necessarily prove useful in all their exams, but at least for liberal studies it is a big help.

I hope we will see more technological innovations in the near future that can help special needs students in other ways, so that they are able to sit all their exams without facing obstacles. This will give them a level ­playing field with all the other ­candidates.

Jeana Cheng Ka-yi, Kwai Chung

Parents must look for signs of bullying

We often assume that students commit suicide in Hong Kong because of pressure from their studies, but cyberbullying may sometimes be a factor.

In a study in 2012, the Hong Kong Family Welfare Society found that one in three students from Primary Four to Secondary Three were victims of cyberbullying. This shows that the problem is serious in Hong Kong and it is important that parents and teachers realise this.

Children may be reluctant to tell their parents they are victims of cyberbullying. Parents must try to talk a lot with their children, and hopefully if they are victims of ­bullying they will open up about it.

They need to know they are not alone, and that if something like this happens there is someone they can turn to for help.

Daniel Chan, Tseung Kwan O

End to drilling is step in the right direction

I agree with the Education ­Bureau’s decision to stamp out study drills at kindergartens for children during their first year of schooling.

With the present education system in Hong Kong, it is impossible for students to strike a balance between holistic development and daily studies.

I know the problems are ­difficult to overcome, because ­students face so many writing tests and so much dictation at kindergartens and primary and secondary schools, and it is ­difficult to achieve real change. So children have little time for sport and playing.

At least this initiative by the bureau will help.

Theodore Tam, Po Lam

Smartphone overuse ruins relationships

Recently I had to shout “Watch out!” to a pedestrian who was about to walk on the road disregarding oncoming traffic, all ­because she was immersed in her smartphone.

Spending too long on these devices can not just put your safety at risk, such as in this situation, but also relationships.

Some people say smartphones can be seen as the new relationship buster. One expert has said that a person can find it hurtful if his/her partner gives preference to the phone when they are sitting together.

I appreciate the advantages the smartphone brings. At work it can lead to increased productivity and is an efficient means of communication. We can keep in regular touch with colleagues and customers wherever we are.

Sometimes, when you are out with your partner you will have to deal with a work-related ­matter and break off your ­conversation to speak on the phone. But people need to be more considerate and explain the situation.

Healthy relationships are only possible if the ­human connection is ­maintained.

Jasmine Cheung, Sha Tin