Online Letters, July 11, 2017

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 July, 2017, 3:22pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 July, 2017, 3:22pm

With Muslim terror attacks and retribution, no likely let-up in violence

London has borne the recent brunt of the murders committed by Islamic jihadists. They have proven formidable opponents who have perpetrated increasingly sophisticated, unpredictable and evasive attacks on major Western targets since 9/11.

The sincerest form of flattery is imitation of jihadi violence by opponent vigilantes. A rogue driver acting alone attacking Muslims leaving a London mosque merely represents the apex of the current torrent of retribution against innocent Muslims who live in the West.

Isaac Newton’s “to every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction” could well apply to this moment in fractious modern human history. The time is ripe for Samuel Huntington’s “clash of civilisations”, a religious conflagration that is likely to consume the world at large. In the near future, it would not surprise me to hear of revenge attacks by Western fanatics inflicted upon local communities within the home territories of Muslim terrorists.

The 50th anniversary of the Six Day War last month, which led to the ongoing struggle between Israel and the Palestinians, reminds us that violence could only beget more violence in a tragically endless cycle.

Dr Joseph Ting, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Google should be allowed to operate on mainland

Google has not been available on the mainland for a number of years and people there use Baidu instead.

Beijing blocks a lot of the websites to which people have access in Hong Kong and in the West. The central government is concerned about content it deems unacceptable appearing online, such as discussion of the June 4 event in Tiananmen Square in 1989.

Its priority is that citizens should have a sense of belonging to the nation and of identity and it feels that process can be hampered if there was access to a lot of sites like Google.

I disagree with this position. I think that it is time for China to unblock Google. I feel this would win the trust of local citizens who would appreciate this move on the part of the central government.

People do not want to just read good news about China. They want to read other material even if it is not flattering about the ruling Chinese Communist Party.

As long as Google adheres to the laws of the nation it should be allowed to operate on the mainland. But at the same time it has to be careful of being accused of self-censorship if it does operate across the border as that could harm its global operations and reputation as a fair and open platform.

Tsoi Tsz-yan, Tseung Kwan O

New test just another version of Territory-wide System Assessment

Parents, especially of Primary Three pupils, waged a concerted campaign against the Territory-wide System Assessment (TSA). They wanted it scrapped, as they felt it put pupils under too much pressure as schools had drilling in class, because they wanted to prevent getting a low ranking.

It did not help students in any way. There was nothing constructive about the TSA and therefore it served no purpose.

The TSA debate raised wider issues, such as the fact that we have an exam-oriented education system. This is counterproductive as the learning experience should be enjoyable for youngsters. Play should also be an important element in student’s school life.

I am also opposed to the Basic Competency Assessment (BCA) which replaces TSA for Primary Three pupils. I just see it as another form of TSA and so I do not think schools should accept it.

Karen Kwok Sin-ying,Yau Yat Chuen

Downside to food truck pilot scheme

Since the food truck pilot scheme was announced in the 2015 budget speech by then financial secretary John Tsang Chun-wah, it has proved to be controversial.

I think that from the outset it has been too restrictive, with the trucks being forced to park at designated locations, some of which have not attracted a lot of customers. One of the locations is near Wong Tai Sin Temple, but I don’t see that as being a great location for eating outdoors, especially on those occasions when worshippers are using a lot of incense. When a truck is forced to spend a period of time at one location, I don’t see how it is all that different from a restaurant.

I also doubt if the price of the food will be that cheap as it is quite costly to run one of these trucks. Just converting a vehicle into a truck serving food will be expensive, including buying kitchen supplies and other equipment.

I am not convinced that the food truck scheme has a long-term future in Hong Kong.

Karen Ip, Cheung Sha Wan

US has long history of interfering in other countries

US President Donald Trump talked to his Russian counterpart about alleged meddling in our presidential election.

In the interests of historical perspective, we should recognise that foreign meddling in elections has been going on for a long time. During the cold war when fear that potent communist parties in France and Italy might gain enough seats in parliamentary elections to affect Western foreign policy, America utilised the CIA to provide money to favoured candidates and to front organisations extolling Washington’s line. We even funded political and cultural publications in Britain in an effort to sway opinion and voters.

And how about political assassinations? Who, for example, sanctioned the 1961 killing of Patrice Lumumba, Congolese independence leader and the first democratically-elected prime minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo? Belgium, the UK and the US were accused. Belgium acknowledged its involvement in 2002 and the US recognised the CIA’s involvement in 2014.

The assassination of Ngo Dinh Diem, president of South Vietnam, after a CIA-backed coup in 1963, was approved by the administration of President John F. Kennedy.

All this suggests that the hullabaloo about Russian interference in our presidential election is hypocritical. What’s the statute of limitations on hypocrisy? There is none on murder.

Paul Bloustein, Cincinnati, Ohio, US