Letters to the Editor, April 24, 2017

PUBLISHED : Monday, 24 April, 2017, 4:59pm
UPDATED : Monday, 24 April, 2017, 4:59pm

Pan-democrats undermined voting reforms

In the article (“Beijing says now not the time for electoral ­reform”, April 23), Democrat lawmaker James To Kun-sun is cited as disagreeing with the central government’s liaison ­office.

He said: “Achieving universal suffrage is a goal stipulated in the Basic Law. If Hong Kong could not achieve universal suffrage within the next five years, or even the next 20 to 30 years, that means the central government will fail to fulfil its promise for the Hong Kong people and the international community.”

Has he forgotten that the central government was willing to grant us “one man, one vote” for the chief executive election in 2017? It was James To and his ­pan-democrat cohorts who ­voted it down, claiming that the “universal suffrage” granted was not good enough for them.

By definition, “universal ­suffrage” refers to voting rights granted to all adult voters ­regardless of their race, gender, belief, economic or social status.

It is exactly that which we were granted by Beijing.

Because of the pan-democrats’ political ­posturing, we were denied our right to vote for our chief executive in last March’s election. So now who has failed us in this ­regard?

Cecilia Clinch, Mid-Levels

Welcoming MTR taking flexible attitude

The MTR Corporation plans to review some of its by-laws (“Hong Kong’s MTR to ease rules on swearing and filming”, April 20).

I am glad that the MTR will try to help passengers who are in real need of a drink of water. Sometimes someone in the MTR station or on a train will really need to drink some water, perhaps because of a medical problem.

By changing the present rules and becoming more flexible, the MTR Corp is trying to ­improve relations with citizens using its network.

However, I do have some concerns about the company relaxing regulations on the use of abusive language. It is quite common for frontline staff to be at the receiving end of ­verbal abuse from an irate passenger.

The MTR must ensure its staff get the protection that they need. Some angry passengers might now go further than just unpleasant verbal abuse.

However, I appreciate the MTR is overall trying to ­create a more comfortable trip for all passengers and fewer inflexible regulations. Even small changes can make a ­difference.

Natalie Lam Suet-ping, Yau Yat Chuen

Scientists who cheat hurt the honest ones

China’s reputation will be grievously harmed by misleading health sciences publications that are forced to be retracted from high impact journals ­(“Science journal retracts 107 ­research papers by Chinese ­authors”, April 23).

Despite only a minority of China’s scientists engaging in dishonest means for academic gains, their disrepute has tainted the hard work of the honest majority. The greater harm lies in the erosion of China’s scientific credibility among the global research community.

Such incidents will leave the science community wondering whether China’s rapid ascent in world-class ­science is reliably underpinned by honesty.

If fraud perpetuated by China’s unbridled publication incentive is allowed to continue to reward ethical lapses, there will be an irreparable breach of trust. The damage incurred due to disreputable research will taint China’s science endeavour. ­Beyond its borders, deliberately misleading research could be unwittingly adopted into daily life, as detrimental advances in medical treatment, putting all of us at risk.

Joseph Ting, adjunct associate professor, School of Public Health and Social Work, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Conversing face to face is still important

A recent survey has shown that some children are upset by the amount of time their parents are spending on their smartphones and that this is damaging family life. Their parents are using these mobile devices so ­frequently that they do not have time to talk.

We live in a society full of new technology and its advances are unstoppable. People of all ages and from all walks of life rely on these devices on a daily basis.

But while they bring a lot of advantages, there is still a downside. There are drawbacks and if they are overused, people can develop health problems.

I am particularly concerned about the breakdown in ­relationships. While smartphones are very convenient, we must not forget about our family and friends. We must take time to maintain these important ­relationships.

We must recognise the ­importance of those people who are close to us, and take time away from computer games and other apps on smartphones so that we can continue to have conversations with real people, rather than just communicating online. Face to face ­communication is still very ­important.

Cheng Sau-hon, Yau Yat Chuen

Home school education can be right choice

The issue of home schooling has long been a controversial one.

I believe that it may be a ­better way for some children to learn, as they can have access to different aspects of knowledge and their interest in learning can be aroused in this unique ­environment.

For some children, therefore, it can be more effective than ­traditional schooling.

The established school environment may have only limited fields of study as the teacher faces restrictions in the classroom. In a home schooling environment, there is room for greater flexibility and children can find the environment sometimes entertaining as well as helping them to learn more.

If done properly, it can make for a more efficient learning ­environment.

Parents should consider it as a possible alternative if they think their children could adapt to it and it will mean their children are freed from the pressure imposed by exams.

Ethan Cheung,Tsuen Wan

Virtual sports no substitute for exercise

There has been a lot of debate about virtual sports (or e-sports) and if they do more harm than good.

While I think they have some strong points, I believe they can never become more popular than or replace traditional sport, and they have shortcomings.

In real sports you get ­involved in exercising, whereas with virtual sports you are seated in front of a computer.

Real sportsmen and women have to achieve a high level of ­ ­fitness. When people train hard, it can improve their mental health and it boosts their feeling of ­self-esteem.

You learn as part of a team about working well with other people. It is also good for you if you are training outside in the fresh air instead of being inside in front of your computer.

If you are doing a lot of virtual sports and staring at the screen for hours on end, this could lead to people getting eye strain. ­Virtual sports can never replace real sport.

Arina Ip Hiu-ting, Kowloon Tong