Letters to the Editor, August 27, 2017

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 26 August, 2017, 9:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 26 August, 2017, 9:00am

Joint efforts needed on teen drug abuse

I agree with Bryan Wong’s letter (“NGOs treating drug addicts need more help”, August 16), which suggested how the government and parents could help teenagers to avoid taking drugs.

It seems the age of teenagers taking drugs is dropping as more escape their stress by using. But they’ve underestimated the harmful effects of drugs and often withdraw into themselves rather than seek help.

Obviously teachers have a key role to play in identifying emotional problems among their students and can help regulate workloads to reduce stress. Teachers are under pressure but should try to establish a bond to encourage learning and diminish their anguish.

Parents also need to spend more quality time with their teenage children to help mutual understanding.

It is crucial that parents know more about their children’s characteristics and discover their problems early on before things get out of hand.

Moreover, the government can make more of an effort to deter teenagers from becoming drug addicts. Advertising campaigns to raise awareness of drug abuse would help. NGOs and schools also could team up to push the message that ­prevention is better than cure.

Kathy Cheung, Sha Tin

Animals aren’t just short-term amusement

I agree with Ng Wai-nam (“Owning a pet comes with commitment”, August 14) who wants people to think carefully before making a decision to take care of an animal.

The problem of animal cruelty in Hong Kong is becoming increasingly acute, with more frequent cases of cats or dogs being hit by their owners, or even by some pedestrians on public streets. We are all responsible for protecting animals and treating them better.

The public’s awareness of protecting and cherishing an animal is not strong enough.

At schools, we only learn to ace tests and examinations but we never gain knowledge about how to look after animals, or the importance of protecting them.

Proper care for a pet may appear to be just common sense and we should all know how to but more animals are in danger.

People who mistreat animals may be under some kind of stress, or there may be other psychological reasons. What matters is to raise levels of public awareness of cherishing all animals and ensuring they are ­protected. There should be zero tolerance when it comes to ­animal cruelty.

I sometimes feel that in our society people are becoming less responsible and caring. Through social media, we can easily see a range of advertisements showing adorable pets and many people buy them immediately without considering their ability to take care of the animal.

They may have forgotten that once they bought the animal, a pledge was made – and it’s for a lifetime.

Animals are living creatures and have feelings. They can be devoted friends and deserve our respect. They are not possessions simply to be bought and sold, or abandoned.

Just because as humans we think we are smarter than other living things, we should not abuse them.

Mandy Leung, Tai Wai

North Korea appeasement not best policy

I agree with Oleta Chan (“Talks with North Korea still best option”, August 22) about the need to try and negotiate Kim Jong-un’s regime to resolve the crisis in the Korean peninsula.

However, other things can be done to try and ensure the safety and stability of other countries in East Asia. Having a dialogue is not the only option.

This despotic regime has been terrorising its own people and has made a lot of nuclear threats towards its neighbours, including South Korea and Japan. Indeed, the international community has already tried to get a constructive conversation going for decades but the current approach has not worked. An appeasement policy has given North Korea time to strengthen its military power.

This policy is not sustainable in the long run to achieve denuclearisation on the Korean peninsula. Remember what happened with Adolf Hitler when appeasement was tried.

Deployment of US anti-missile defence systems on South Korean soil are an appropriate response to the threats from the North and before any negotiations, assets of Pyongyang officials outside North Korea should be frozen and firms who trade or make deals with them heavily fined.

North Korea also should be deprived of access to cheap coal and oil, as well as uranium and nuclear know-how and tougher sanctions should be implemented if Kim is not willing to sit down in the conference room.

If all economic measures fail to convince the North to stop its provocative stance, China and the United States should be prepared to collaborate on military strategies.

Anfield Tam, Quarry Bay

Pakistan and India a study in stark contrasts

India and Pakistan have both just celebrated their 70th independence anniversaries. It’s a good time for us to compare how the two countries have fared since partition of the undivided India in 1947, which was a historically tragic act for the whole subcontinent. It resulted in death and misery on an ­appalling scale.

After partition, leaders of both India and Pakistan ­embarked upon the huge task of nation-building but chose ­completely different paths.

Unlike their Pakistani counterparts, the Indian leaders had no doubt that secularism and democracy would be the core of the Indian society and polity. Institution-building, too, was given special thrust which resulted in setting up of premier educational institutes and industries in the very first decades after independence. These two factors have made India an emerging global power.

On the other hand, the Pakistani leadership failed to push the development-oriented schemes. Democracy was given lip service only and the army continued to wield the real power for many years.

A lot of reforms are still needed in India but Pakistan could look to its neighbour as a success story to emulate.

Samir K. Jha, Taikoo Shing

Beware the dangers of social sites

I am writing about the potential dangers of using social ­networking sites.

Facebook, email and mobile apps such as WhatsApp and LINE are certainly convenient platforms but I have worries about personal privacy and possible misuse of information gathered when we sign up for a new account. These social networking sites collect personal details such as school attended, telephone numbers, interests and friends and these can be used and abused by criminals.

We at least should not use simple passwords to minimise hacking risk. Also, never add strangers as a network friend and only allow our personal ­details to be seen by friends.

Cheng Yuk-lam, Tseung Kwan O