Letters to the Editor, April 6, 2017

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 April, 2017, 5:08pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 April, 2017, 5:08pm

Let’s hope Lam can bring us real democracy

Universal suffrage is an issue that cannot be ignored, veteran lawmaker and New People’s Party chair Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee said after the chief executive election last month.

But can Hongkongers have real universal suffrage in the ­future? As was widely predicted, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor won the 2017 chief executive election, with 777 votes from the Election Committee, while rival candidates John Tsang Chun-Wah and Woo Kowk-Hing got 365 and 21, respectively.

In my opinion, Tsang should have won because he had the support of a lot of ordinary Hong Kong people. However, I ­believe Lam was the choice of the ­central government, and pro-establishment groups showed their support for her.

Besides, I think this time the chief executive election became a competition between the pan-democratic forces and the pro-establishment ones.

The people of Hong Kong are passionate about having universal suffrage and the issue has ­already caused a lot of anger and frustration in society. I hope that, as chief executive, Lam can help the people of our city achieve real universal suffrage.

Ray Hung, Tseung Kwan O

Social media is a valuable tool if not overdone

Many people, especially teenagers, spend most of their time on social media like Facebook, SnapChat, Twitter, and so on.

Parents and teachers warn them against spending too much time online, as their studies will suffer and their social skills will be ­affected. However, there may be several benefits to be gained from using social ­media responsibly.

To begin with, users can be immediately notified of events around the world through social media. A lot of news reports are immediately posted online. Brands such as Apple Daily even have a scheme where citizen ­reporters can earn money for uploading breaking news.

Social media also helps us to stay connected across continents. Websites like Facebook suggest users with similar habits or common friends, which helps to increase one’s social circle.

Making new friends is easy; even strangers can become friends through social media. The use of social media also ­enhances cultural exchanges. Users can meet almost anyone anywhere in the virtual world, and this helps people to know and understand more about ­different cultures, and become world citizens in the true sense of the term. This can broaden horizons and helps break down cultural barriers.

Although ­addiction to social media, like any dependency, is bad, there is indeed a lot to be gained from the sensible use of such platforms.

Cindy Wong, Po Lam

Education the key to rooting out extremism

I refer to Alice Yan’s article on a church in Wenzhou city (“Anti-terror cameras a new cross for churches to bear,” April 3).

Religious extremism indeed terrorises a lot of people around the world. Not only that, extremism ruins the future of young people who fall prey to hate preaching, and then take part in terrorist attacks.

Such attacks cause a lot of casualties and make extremism a sensitive topic in countries around the world.

But, then again, people are rightly angered if a government appears to disrespect citizens’ religious rights.

The government of Zhejiang province in mainland China wants to have surveillance ­cameras installed in all churches in the city of Wenzhou, often called “China’s Jerusalem”. They say it is for “antiterrorism and security purposes”.

The orders were issued to ­churches late last year and ­officials began implementing them before the Lunar New Year ­holiday in January. The new campaign comes just three years after crosses were­ ­ordered to be removed from the roofs of houses of worship.

But the move has met with a lot of criticism. The article cited one of the faithful in Wenzhou as ­saying that some pastors and worshippers who didn’t want the cameras installed were dragged away by officials after they came to blows, and some even had to be taken to hospital. I believe education is a better way to prevent young people from ­becoming radicalised and strike at the heart of terror. This is because the right education can change one’s mind and ­personality for the better.

Angel Ho, Yau Tong

Uproar over Disney film defies reality

I am writing about the controversy over the popular Disney movie Beauty and the Beast, starring Emma Watson.

Some groups in Hong Kong, as well as Singapore and Malaysia, feel the movie is not suitable for children because it contains some gay scenes.

I’ve watched the film, said to have 4¼ minutes of “gay” scenes. Can these ­offended ­critics really be serious?

In our city, a Christian school in Diamond Hill sent out a ­notice to parents saying: “God disapproves of homosexuality. Therefore we call on the parents not to bring them or let them watch the film.” The intention was to prevent contact with such content, deemed inappropriate.

That really left me speechless. I believe parents should use their own judgment to decide whether to take their children to see the movie.

Parents and schools have a responsibility to teach children and students about other kinds of sexuality, even though it might not seem suitable for ­children to be given such information too early on. But they will need to know some day.

Moreover, this is the real world. If children cannot get used to situations in movies, how will they react to real situations around them?

Leung Yi Ling, Yau Yat Chuen

High health price to pay for inactivity

I recently read reports in the British media that more than 20 million Britons are inactive.

People spend so much time at work that they have no time to work out. Students are busy with classes or schoolwork during the week, and homework occupies them at the weekend, so they end up being inactive as well.

I believe the same applies in Hong Kong. Most students have so much daily homework that they have no time for sports or exercise. And even if they do, they spend it on their phones.

Inactivity increases the risk of heart disease, and can cause obesity. People need half an hour at least each day to exercise, or the long-term health costs could be dire.

Amy Ng, Tseung Kwan O