Letters to the Editor, June 23, 2017

PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 June, 2017, 4:39pm
UPDATED : Friday, 23 June, 2017, 4:39pm

Politics blind to demand for good schools

I wish to echo the views of Albert Cheng his recent article(“Nord Anglia international school row shows up Hong Kong’s bigoted politicians”, June 15).

I am from Singapore and have lived in Hong Kong for five years with my family. My husband and I are now extremely preoccupied with our daughter’s primary schooling, which will start next year. Hoping she will be nurtured and educated ­happily, we have decided not to opt for traditional schools.

If we were not both working, we would definitely have ­considered home-schooling. So, international schools, ­despite the relatively higher fees and often remote locations, have become our only option.

Earlier this year, we noticed that Nord Anglia international school was going to open a branch in Tin Wan, Aberdeen.

A few friends of mine, also working expat parents, and I were really thrilled that we could ­finally be relieved of all the ­research and hearsay. I was even prepared to move to the area, as it is also near my work location.

Unfortunately, after months of political controversy, even with all the livelihood and transportation considerations, the school failed to open and we do not know when or if it ever will. Many other parents are just as worried as we are.

Society and the authorities should not turn a blind eye to the actual demand for quality and convenient international schools in Hong Kong. The ­Education Bureau’s “ideal”, backed by the endless cramming of a disproportionate amount of knowledge, and stressful assessments like the former TSA and now the BCA, is bad enough. Worse, the provision of quality education is being strangled by politics and ­bureaucratic cynicism.

It is really saddening to see those in power avoiding ways to find a win-win solution, and succumbing to populist views.

June Tong, Tung Chung

Authorities were told of radical threat

Ms Marian Schneps in her letter says, “Europe has had an extraordinary number of ­terror attacks” and disjointedly ­concludes therefore: “It’s only natural Muslim communities are ­expected to do more to help prevent these senseless attacks.”

I would like to remind your correspondent that in nine out 10 cases in Europe, authorities were informed about the ­radicalisation of these individuals by none other than the ­relatives and friends of these misguided perpetrators.

And yet the relevant authorities, albeit under-resourced but equipped with billion-dollar world-class spying tools and ­armoury, repeatedly failed to act on the intelligence given – the real underlying fault line being ignored at our peril.

Nevertheless, the spotlight is repeatedly shone on Muslims for not doing enough, without anyone able to explain what more they are supposed to do beyond reporting radical ­elements to the authorities.

Repeating the trite, thoroughly discredited argument in foreign policy circles, your ­correspondent says we should not “point to reasons such as misguided Western policies and greed for natural ­resources as the trigger for terrorists”. Never mind reports from MI5 citing how the Manchester bombing was “blowback” from the West’s disastrous interventions and ­covert proxy wars.

Recognising this is a crucial first step in a difficult conversation we need to have in order to resolve this threat, followed by finding out ways to reform and improve ­intelligence-sharing among anti-terror authorities, rather than drown in metadata.

Nimaga Omaru, Yuen Long

Ban sale of illegal ivory, not antique art

I agree with Stuart Stoker that the elephant should be saved and that the Royal Geographic Society meeting speakers did not mention the destruction of antique ivory (Rangers risk death at hands of poachers, June 18). The point I tried to make at that meeting is that the campaign against the ivory trade is leading to the destruction of ­precious antique ivory objects and many are not aware of this.

The fact that I was shouted down at the meeting shows not only that many people are not aware of the problem but that they seem to be intolerant of alternative views.

Stoker states in his letter that it is hardly surprising that I was shouted down and seems to find this acceptable. If the campaign against the ivory trade refuses to listen to other opinions, it will be difficult to achieve the best possible outcome. Furthermore, there is a danger that supporters of the abolition of the ivory trade may be compared to the Taliban and Islamic State, not only ­because their actions lead to the destruction of antiques but also because they show the same ­intolerance of other opinions.

Surely by being open to all aspects of the problem it will be possible to save both the ­elephant and antique ivory, by placing restrictions on the trade in new ivory but allowing the trade in antique ivory to be conducted with more flexibility and less destruction than at present.

Chris Hall, The Peak

Blame owners, not the dogs, for nuisance

I stand accused of delivering a pious lecture on dog ownership (“Spare us the pious lectures on pets in flats”, June 20), when in reality I request that people realise the truth of what was said by Paul W. C. Wong and Rose W. M. Wu in their letter (“Outdated ­ordinance is a barrier to developing animal-friendly society”, May 29).

Compassion and tolerance seem to be given short shrift in ­today’s highly stressed Hong Kong: the fact that dog ownership can help people become happier and healthier is a fact, and it is wrong to deprive anyone of that benefit. Of course pet owners must responsible and it is not fair on any dog if the owner is not able to care for it properly; owners who are creating a ­nuisance need to be dealt with.

I am sorry your correspondent Mr Nicholas Rogers is ­suffering the incessant barking of a neighbour’s dog, it is obviously driving him round the bend and it’s up to him to complain to his building management and demand action, but responsible people should not be prevented from owning a pet.

In the estate where I live, dog owners now live in fear of their neighbours, hoping nobody ­reports them for not getting rid of their pets. Old people who treat their pets as family are being ordered to remove them, and taken to court if they disobey: this is blatantly inhumane. Mr Rogers, don’t blame the dog, or the environment, it is how the owner behaves that matters.

Joan Miyaoka, Sha Tin

Same faces may indicate same policies

“A new premier, a new cabinet” is a saying applicable to both the West and the East.

Chief executive-elect Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, generally seen to have been ­designated by the central ­government, has opted to retain more or less the same line-up as before.

This, I’m afraid, might lead to the same policies as before. We still cherish the hope that housing and livelihood issues most affecting the poor and underprivileged would be resolved, among other problems.

Peter Wei, Kwun Tong