Letters to the Editor, November 3, 2017
Democracy the most stable political system
I refer to Alex Lo’s column (“Policies on HK are more forward-looking”, October 23), where he says “US President Donald Trump’s unexpected victory has been a godsend. It exposes the unreliability and irresponsibility of a democratic society”.
Actually, Trump’s election does no such thing.
Quite the contrary, it shows that through the electoral system, democracy has lots of checks and balances, which make it incredibly hard for Trump to push through the most radical parts of his agenda. Something that would not happen in China as we see Xi Jinping giving himself unchecked powers.
Actually, democracy has been the most stable political system since the industrial revolution; a system most adapted to balance the need for economic growth, and popular desires.
This is what autocrats such as Lo fail to understand about democracy: it trades short-term “disorder” for long-term stability, while dictatorships are orderly (through force) in the short run and invariably end in revolutions of the people.
J.C. Clement, Jordan
Happy racers reported a clean harbour
This year’s cross-harbour race was special because it started from the original site for the first time in almost four decades. Swimmers went from Kowloon side to Hong Kong Island.
This will have brought back a lot of good memories for elderly residents who are old enough to remember these races.
I was pleased to read that many racers reported that the water was clean and this has encouraged them to join the race again next year.
The race highlights the importance of keeping our harbour and the rest of our city clean. I hope citizens are becoming more aware of the need to be environmentally friendly and not to discard litter on the streets or in any of our beautiful coastal areas.
Shirley Lau, Hang Hau
HSBC’s display of selective empathy
As I looked out of my office window early on Wednesday evening, I noticed that the facade of the HSBC building in Central, which is usually a spectacle of flashing lights, was more solemn.
It bore the words “We Stand With”, and the American flag below the text. It made me wonder, with the utmost respect for everyone affected by the terrorist attack in New York, why there was no similar gesture with the Somali flag following last month’s car bomb in Mogadishu that killed more than 300 people.
The gesture to show solidarity is nice, but applying uniform standards would be nicer.
If HSBC could just turn the lights off for the next public grieving, that would be more tasteful and not simultaneously evoke thoughts of bias, privilege and selective empathy.
Abhishek Krishnan, Kennedy Town
Teens must aim for a much healthier diet
A new survey shows a worrying trend in the diets of youngsters in Hong Kong (“Stroke warning as bad habits of young revealed”, October 30).
Many of them rarely exercise and do not eat enough fruit and vegetables and this is often due to their hectic schedule.
Physical education classes may be the only time they get any exercise. They focus so much on their studies and trying to do well in exams that they do not have time to be active and do not pay attention to their diet.
Because they are studying so hard, they will often resort to convenient fast food, such as instant noodles with a high salt content.
As the study points out, if teens lead an unhealthy lifestyle, this can have long-term consequences in adulthood, such as by making them more prone to high blood pressure and strokes.
Pupils must try to have nutritious diets and get more regular exercise.
Wong Lok-yi, Yau Yat chuen
Study hours cap in schools is unrealistic
There have been calls for standard hours to be established for secondary school students to relieve the stress they feel.
The argument is that the workload takes a heavy toll on the mental health of youngsters and that many do not get enough sleep so they can allocate more time for homework and revision.
However, if a standard hours rule was implemented, this would leave some pupils with insufficient time to do all their academic work. It would mean they were unprepared for the important exams like the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (DSE) exam. This could actually lead to them feeling greater stress, because of their fear of doing badly.
In order to do well in the DSE exam, many teenagers have no choice but to put in a lot of hours. Many attend tutorial classes and then have homework. They feel they have to do this if they want to score well in the exam. Different students have varying levels of ability. It would not be realistic to implement a study hours cap in local schools.
Jason Luk, Tseung Kwan O
Photos bring back fond memories
I enjoyed looking at the black and white photos of Hong Kong from the 1960s, the work of veteran photojournalist Chan Kiu (“A career in focus”, October 24).
I was a young Royal Navy sailor serving with the Far East fleet during that decade. My ship was a regular visitor to Hong Kong during the periods of the pro-communist and anti-British protests (protests that did not, thankfully, penetrate the bars of Hennessy and Lockhart roads). I found the photos recalling those events to be unexpectedly nostalgic and at the same time strangely reassuring.
Fifty years on, I find myself once again a regular visitor to Hong Kong – but for very different reasons. Much has changed and much remains the same.
In the intervening period, I have changed my political affiliations several times and come to realise that there are fashions in politics – just as there are fashions in clothes and music. The objects to which the idealism of youth attaches itself are (as exemplified in the photos) merely secondary to the idealism itself – “little red book”, or yellow umbrella. It is all the same, just fashion.
David Cooke, Kenilworth, Warwickshire, England