Letters to the Editor, August 25, 2017
Conflict is not always linked to direct action
I have been somewhat pleased to see the recent reversal in fortunes of several of our so-called politicians and activists. However, I am concerned that a blanket interpretation of the law will not smother the fires of discontent. And in a free-thinking society, it cannot and should not be allowed to do so. In fact, it may simply cause the fires to smoulder and grow, before erupting more violently than before.
Let us not make heroes or martyrs of these people.
Some of our so-called politicians lost all sense of perspective and credibility a long time ago, and it is time that their pseudo-political activism be recognised for the self-aggrandisement that it really is.
If they relish a jail sentence as evidence of their martyrdom, let us please oblige them and we can all enjoy the respite.
The younger activists, such as Joshua Wong Chi-fung and Alex Chow Yong-kang, are just an embarrassment of youth and ignorance.
I am not a reactionary figure. I was a student in the UK in the 1970s and rallied against the tyranny of Margaret Thatcher. My family fought alongside union leader Arthur Scargill during the miners’ strike.
But, as he said, “What you need is not marches, demonstrations, rallies or wide associations, all of them are important. What you need is direct action. The sooner people understand that, the sooner we’ll begin to change things.”
To make Joshua and Alex into the Che Guevaras of Hong Kong will be of no benefit to them or us.
It would be better to show them that, sometimes, there are tyrannies worth fighting against and, at other times, tyrannies that can be changed by brains not brawn, that direct action does not necessarily mean conflict, but can also be achieved by hard work.
Hong Kong is a kindergarten compared to Cuba in the 1960s and the UK in the 1970s. Let’s not glamorise our “revolution” before other, more realistic options fail us.
Step up legislative councillor Eddie Chu Hoi-dick, step up Paul Zimmerman, step up Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and show us what can be achieved.
I urge Mrs Lam, before we believe that they are something more than naughty boys, to pardon Joshua Wong and Alex Chow and send them home to their mums.
John Dainton, Pok Fu Lam
Movement should be a wake-up call
I am sure most secondary students are proud of the three jailed activists, Joshua Wong, Nathan Law and Alex Chow.
I am not saying they should not have been put behind bars. A price has to be paid for actions that you take.
However, the ideals they represent, including the “umbrella movement”, should be a wake-up call for Hongkongers.
I do support what they are fighting for.
Cheung Wai-ting, Tsing Yi
Justice chief made the right decision
If the people of Hong Kong can countenance the likes of former UK foreign secretary Malcolm Rifkind calling for the release of Joshua Wong and his accomplices, then I, as a retired journalist and someone who loves Hong Kong, must urge its government to do no such thing.
I applaud Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung for his courageous decision to seek and secure jail sentences for the trio.
To let them off with just a slap on the wrist, on the risible ground that they were idealistic young men fighting for a lofty cause, would have been a travesty of justice and a mockery of the rule of law.
I suspect I am not alone in holding these views though I have no statistics to show that they are shared by a silent majority out there. Nor do I wish to seek safety in numbers. I just do not want public debate on this matter to be hijacked by those who seek to politicise and demonise every action taken by the SAR government.
Leslie Fong, Singapore
Many teens not getting enough exercise time
Too many Hong Kong teenagers lead sedentary lifestyles, and this is detrimental to their physical and mental well-being.
This is often due to the amount of time they spend using social media on their computers and smartphones.
Also, they have such a busy school schedule they spend much of their spare time doing homework. So it is very difficult for them to strike a balance between schoolwork and healthy outdoor activities. This lack of exercise is not good for their health and can eventually lead to chronic diseases.
Exercise can help them to deal with the stress that builds up because of school studies. Parents have an important role to play and they should lead by example by doing exercises with their children. They should also ensure their children spend less time on computers.
Wong Man-tik, Ma On Shan
Read drink and food labels to avoid risks
Research by a university in the US raises concerns that people may not realise the potential risks from consuming certain beverages (“Energy-drink consumption may lead to cocaine use, study says”, August 13).
Researchers found that people who had taken these drinks between the ages of 21 and 24 “were at greater risk” of “subsequently doing cocaine, using prescription stimulants for non-medical uses and problem drinking”.
Clearly, we do not know about the long-term effects of certain food and drink products. This study shows there is a need for higher levels of awareness.
People need to look more closely at the ingredients of items such as energy drinks and the possible long-term effects. We should always read the labels before buying packaged food and drink to make sure it is OK.
The government must also ensure that consumers are being provided with all the information they need. It should put out more adverts promoting food safety.
Cheng Sin Hei,Tseung Kwan O