Letters to the Editor, October 28, 2017
Crack down on country park litterbugs
I refer to your article on littering in country parks (“Four in five Hong Kong country park visitors back removal of rubbish bins by end of year”, October 22).
The article said that roughly half of country park visitors took their rubbish away with them. As autumn is the peak walking and hiking season, I am worried more rubbish will be left behind.
At this time of year, more and more visitors also use the country parks to unwind with family and friends with barbecues. Inevitably, extra rubbish piles up and bins overflow, all because thoughtless people can’t be bothered to clean up and take their waste away.
The government makes regular efforts, broadcasting advertisements to educate the public about the importance of protecting the ecology of our country parks, but the message is not getting through to everyone.
It’s not just lack of knowledge that is the problem, but also apathy. People enjoying a barbecue will often just dump garbage on the ground without thinking.
The government should show zero tolerance. Penalties must be imposed to let irresponsible citizens know the consequences before they damage the environment. More security officers can be allocated to watch for litterbugs in country parks. Surveillance cameras would also act as a deterrent.
Kevin Wong, Tseung Kwan O
Parents can do more to stamp out bullying
I am writing in response to Anthea Rowan’s article (“Are boot camps the best way to deal with bullies?”, October 16.)
I believe schools should play a key role in stopping students from bullying others, but parents can also address why some children feel they have to harass and push others around.
Children need to understand the effect of their actions, and in this sense boot camps would help by instilling a sense of tolerance and discipline.
In the camps they can learn from the coach the skills and attitude needed to conform to the basic standards of a civil society.
In my opinion, boot camps could be a crucial turning point for bullies to fix their unacceptable behaviour.
If schools and parents work together, bullying will be much less of an issue, but it is parents who can have the most influence. Since children spend much more time with their parents than with a teacher, parental influence and guidance is a most significant factor.
If parents are bad role models, their children may adopt the wrong attitudes and never know the correct way to behave.
Parents should take control to ensure their children know what is acceptable behaviour, and that it is wrong to be a bully.
Ken Au, Kwun Tong
Think positive and be happy in Hong Kong
Recently, I have seen quite a few articles stating that Hong Kong residents are the unhappiest in the world, or that Hong Kong is the world’s most stressful city to live in. All these reports make me wonder why Hongkongers are so unhappy and stressed.
What is happiness? Undoubtedly, this is a very subjective question. Everyone may come up with a different answer.
It is likely we could have a happier life if we find contentment in simple things, such as family and friendship.
Unfortunately, I see quite the opposite among Hongkongers. We value money and success, we keep expecting more and more. In the past, children would be jumping for joy if they were given candy. Nowadays, children may not make a move until you pull out a smartphone.
While we are blaming the city for being such an upsetting place, have we ever stopped for a second to reflect on ourselves?
As Hong Kong is more well-developed than in the past, we can get our hands on information and goods more easily. Perhaps the ease of obtaining what we ask for makes us feel we are entitled to the world. Therefore, when we fail to get what we want, we feel somehow the world has wronged us.
A city surrounded by rich resources makes us forget how to treasure and appreciate what we already own.
Ironically, Hongkongers could achieve all these in the past when our city was simply just a port. Why not now?
Speaking as a Hong Kong secondary school student, I do agree that our education system is exam-oriented, and may be one of the major flaws of Hong Kong life, adding pressure to students, teachers and parents.
But all is not bad. In fact, there are so many advantages to living here that we may have overlooked, because we tend to magnify the faults. For instance, Hong Kong has a low tax system and is the envy of many as a food and shoppers’ paradise.
These benefits we cannot find in some of the happiest countries in the world, such as Norway, Denmark and Finland.
I used to complain that Hong Kong is such a miserable city but I have come to understand that no place is perfect. Where we are living does not define how happy we are, our attitudes do.
It is time for us to stop being so negative and blaming our home. It is time for us to change.
Sandy Lam, Sha Tin
Animal cruelty results from faulty attitude
I am writing in response to Caroline Wong’s letter (“Special police squad can curb animal cruelty”, October 15).
I believe Hong Kong’s laws on preventing animal cruelty are too lenient, with those convicted only receiving light punishment, like a fine or a few months in prison.
However, animals know what pain is and have feelings. As we humans cannot understand what animals are feeling and thinking, we feel less guilty about the way we treat them. If police set up a team dedicated to stopping cruelty to animals, more could be protected.
But would it be really effective? Hong Kong already has some organisations like the SPCA, which fights cruelty to animals, and they are more experienced than the police. But people continue to abandon their pets or are cruel to random animals. Our overall mindset towards our non-human companions has to change.
Christine Cheung, Kwai Chung
Push cycling to ease traffic and lower pollution
Hong Kong Island should have more bike lanes to ease congestion on its busy roads. It is a wonderfully small island and perfect for cycling around, apart from the fact you are likely to get into an accident, with the weaving taxi drivers and heavy traffic.
The city needs to become more bike-friendly to ease the burden on the roads. This would also lead to a reduction in emissions and less polluted skies.
Natasha Horn, Wan Chai