Letters to the Editor, September 7, 2017

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 07 September, 2017, 3:46pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 07 September, 2017, 3:46pm

Patriotism is a feeling that can never be forced

I refer to the report on the ­national anthem issue (“Hong Kong soccer fans vow to defy ­anthem law”, September 3). There is no magic pill you can swallow to become a patriot.

I like China and have nothing against patriotism, but I’m against dictatorship and believe in the democratic process, despite its flaws.

Hongkongers are well-educated and politically mature. The Basic Law does not say ­that we must blindly follow everything Beijing says. It is a different matter that our chief executive is not truly elected but selected by Beijing, and expected to follow all ­instructions, without considering the views of the public here.

Forcing patriotism by legislation is neither right nor prescribed in any democratic constitution. So it is unreasonable to force any Hongkonger to be patriotic. If disrespect for the national anthem is made a criminal offence, it will lead to Hong Kong people having even more disrespect for the central government.

Patriotism is a natural feeling that a country instils in its citizens from an early age; it cannot be imposed from above.

Therefore, I don’t blame local youngsters for saying they will refuse to stand up when the national anthem plays at soccer matches, if this ­proposed law is enacted.

A. L. Nanik, Tsim Sha Tsui

Rohingya are fed up with false promises

More Rohingya Muslims are taking up arms against Myanmar’s security forces (“Rohingya militia growing bigger by the day”, September 2). The Rohingya are fed up with false promises about ensuring their security, made by the government of Myanmar.

Initially, many people felt that the country’s de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, would try to protect ethnic minorities like the Rohingya, but this has not happened. This is disappointing, given that she is a ­Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

Myanmar troops ‘laying mines near border with Bangladesh’

In the latest violence, it was reported that 400 Rohingya had been killed and thousands made homeless. The scenes shown on an Al Jazeera news report were ­shocking.

It is time for the international community to warn the government of Myanmar that the killing of Rohingya Muslims must stop and that it must look at proposals to deal with the crisis, put forward by former UN secretary general Kofi Annan.

M. Ishaque, Chai Wan

Emotional education has to be a priority

I agree with your article on ­emotional problems among students in the city (“Emotional education lacking in Hong Kong schools for both teachers and pupils”, August 28).

Schools have limited resources to provide this kind of ­emotional education. Also, most teachers lack the necessary training to help students identify, manage and express their feelings. This is because the Education Bureau places a great deal of emphasis on the academic syllabus, and does not ­allocate sufficient resources to emotional education.

This gap makes it difficult for students to confide in a teacher when they feel depressed. Their depression can get worse without an outlet for their feelings. Too often, parents and teachers blame children when they lose their temper, instead of ­trying to understand the reasons for this anger.

In countries such as the UK and Singapore, emotional education is part of the syllabus from primary school onwards. This means that the number of pupils suffering from long-term psychological problems is fewer than in Hong Kong.

The bureau has to allocate more resources to this kind of education in local schools, so that young children can feel free to express their feelings.

Cam Cheung, Hang Hau

Teachers must have the right to switch off

Teachers nowadays are concerned about the number of text messages they get from parents after the school day has ended and they are back at home.

This is so much easier now for parents, with the numerous instant messaging tools available on ­smartphones.

Many teachers feel they have to answer these questions, often related to schoolwork. If they cannot give a swift reply then the parents might blame them for being inefficient and not professionally ­conscientious.

Parents need to appreciate that teachers have the right to enjoy their leisure time.

Teachers should be authorised to decline to reply to such emails after school hours.

Samuel Cheng Ka-ho, Sai Kung

Being on phone while walking is a safety risk

US media are reporting on a ­proposal to ban what is known as “distracted walking” in the city of Stamford, Connecticut.

Distracted walking can be a ­nuisance for other pedestrians, and we encounter it here in Hong Kong as well. It can also be dangerous and cause accidents.

However, I do not believe legislation is the best way to stop this.

First, it would be difficult to enforce the law and put more pressure on police who have more important things to do.

Also, I don’t think it is a major problem. For example, in Hong Kong, we find that most people looking at their smartphones, talking or listening to music with headphones, can still pay attention to their surroundings.

Even if a law were introduced in Stamford or anywhere else, it might be difficult to prove a case of distracted walking in court. How do you define it? I think there would be a lot of grey areas.

Instead of passing laws, ­governments should raise public awareness, so pedestrians pay attention when using their smartphones on the streets and recognise the risks associated with distracted walking.

Amy Hung, Tseung Kwan O