Letters to the Editor, July 3, 2017
Real threat for Americans is home-grown
Hong Kong residents who plan to visit the US should be aware of the danger posed by home-grown wielders of guns, rather than terrorists from countries in the Middle East. These Americans claim that the constitution gives them, as private citizens, the right to bear arms and to use them as they wish.
Over the years, there have been thousands of victims of gun violence in the US, far surpassing deaths caused by so-called foreign terrorists.
You are far more likely to die at the hands of an American brandishing his second amendment-blessed assault rifle than by any foreigner’s gun or bomb.
The reason this is so, as with most social evils, is money. The US economy and culture are saturated with love of the gun. Every American boy admires the brave gunmen who saved the West. Hollywood epics glorify GI Joe with his machine gun and millions of such toys are sold at Christmas.
The real money, however, is not in films or toys, but on Wall Street, where successful arms manufacturers and exporters are admired and their stocks are seen as attractive.
The fact that many of these weapons, whether locally sold or exported, will some day be used to kill Americans does not upset some people.
In a weapons-loving culture, death is more profitable than life. The result is a political system linked by money to guns. Any politician who opposes the pro-military and pro-gun lobby is doomed to lose. The National Rifle Association sets its sights on any brash congressman who votes for gun controls.
President Donald Trump’s Republican Party fiercely opposes any constraints on gun ownership, so the recent shooting of some of its own elected politicians is a bitter fruit of its own callousness and neglect of US citizens’ right to life. It is tragic, because it wastes money, rewards gun-lovers and delays the social awareness and actions needed to stop gun violence in US cities and schools.
Trump can expel all the foreigners he dislikes, it will have minimal effect.
Let’s hope that saner political leaders some day will enact effective gun control legislation, so that Americans and visitors from Hong Kong and elsewhere can be safe from the fears of home-grown US-style gun terrorism.
Jason Kuylein, Stanley
Trump travel ban will fuel anti-US views
US President Donald Trump’s travel ban against six Muslim-majority countries came into effect at the end of last week.
I think this decision will cause discontent among citizens in the countries that will be affected.
It will fuel anti-American sentiment, especially among people who wanted to migrate to the US and start a new life, and escape from violence and corruption.
It might lead to more people from these nations supporting radical Islamic groups.
Other countries will be wondering if at some point they will be added to the list, and so it does not enhance America’s reputation on the world stage.
Some nations may be less willing to share intelligence with agencies in the US. Also, America may lose intelligence from the banned countries.
I hope that Trump will reconsider his decision and scrap the travel ban. It will create more problems than it can solve. The US must consider what serves the greater good.
Jonathan Lau, Po Lam
Youngsters being robbed of childhood
Some teenagers in Hong Kong have taken their own lives because they found the stress they were under to be unbearable. Much of this is caused by their studies.
A contributory factor in the pressure students are under is the local educational system. This is a very competitive city and this is reflected in the way schools are run. But it does not just end there.
Parents are desperate to get their children into a top kindergarten, and then good primary and secondary schools.
So some parents will push their sons and daughters from an early age, and this can lead to them missing out on their childhood. When not in school, they are forced to go to special interest classes without being asked what really interests them.
It is emphasised that they must not do badly in the Diploma of Secondary Education exam or they will be deemed as failures.
The government needs to recognise the problems in the education system and deal with them, or there will be no end to the vicious cycle.
Vivian Chan Hiu-ying, Yau Yat Chuen
New test can help to lower stress levels
Because there were so many complaints about the Territory-wide Systems Assessment (TSA) for Primary Three pupils, the Education Bureau replaced it with the Basic Competency Assessment (BCA).
I think there are some similarities with the TSA test, but I do not believe it will put children under as much pressure.
Hopefully students will feel more relaxed when doing the BCA. If I am right, then this may satisfy those parents who complained about the TSA.
It was important for the bureau to make this change because, at this phase of their schooling, children need to be given the time to enjoy a happy childhood and mature at their own pace, both physically and mentally. They should not be put under too much pressure.
Mandy Chan Sze-ki, Yau Yat Chuen