Letters to the Editor, November 5, 2017

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 05 November, 2017, 9:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 05 November, 2017, 9:00am

Jews have a strong sense of homeland

The article by Roger King (“Succession and innovation: a comparative study between Chinese and Jewish family businesses”, October 13), contained a rather significant inaccuracy.

The topic and research are well presented, and the misstatement is not material to the overall conclusions drawn, but the misstatement is important enough that it needs to be corrected. Professor King states that a key difference between the two groups is that diaspora Chinese all aim to return to their homeland while Jews have no concept of homeland.

To state that Jewish people do not have a concept of homeland is to entirely negate the ­importance of the state of Israel to the Jewish people.

In 2016 alone, 27,000 diaspora Jews immigrated to Israel. ­Israel is a focal point for Jewish education. Most Jewish schools include an Israel visit as part of their curriculum. And for Jewish young people who wish to travel to Israel post-secondary school, there is Taglit-Birthright.

Since its inception in 1999, the organisation has sponsored over 500,000 diaspora Jews on trips to Israel to learn about their Jewish heritage in Israel.

Moreover, the Jewish diaspora worldwide have always built synagogues so that congregants face Jerusalem while praying, so that all of our prayers are directed towards our homeland. At the conclusion of the Passover ­Seder, Jews sing the phrase “Next Year in Jerusalem”, an ­aspirational hope that all Jews should return home to Israel.

Also, while Jews pledge allegiance to their country of citizenship and often serve in the armed forces and in the public sector in those countries, there are also currently about 6,300 young people serving in the ­Israel Defence Forces (IDF) as lone soldiers. Lone soldiers are men and women serving in the IDF who are from the diaspora and don’t have an immediate family member living in Israel.

The reason for this demonstrated focus on Israel is that ­Israel is the unequivocal Jewish homeland.

Perhaps further highlighting the many similarities between the Jewish and Chinese people, which Professor King lays out so well, a more accurate statement would recognise that we are both ancient peoples with ­ancient homelands.

I again commend Professor King’s fascinating study, notwithstanding the need for a clearer understanding of what homeland means to the Jewish people.

Erica Lyons, founder/editor-in-chief, Asian Jewish Life

Elderly care issues need far more attention

The report (“HK failing to keep track of ‘lost’ dementia patients”, October 30), highlights a problem associated with Hong Kong being an ageing society.

The government must put more resources into not just helping dementia sufferers, but other areas of elderly care.

Young couples are more likely to start a family if they know they live in a city which will meet their needs when they are elderly citizens.

Adrian Wong, Po Lam

Take time with any national anthem law

Beijing must take care over how Hong Kong should deal with any law which punishes disrespect for the ­national anthem.

Many citizens do not stand up when the national anthem is played, for example at Sha Tin racecourse, because they resent efforts to force us to show ­respect for the nation.

Hongkongers are proud of the freedoms they enjoy and do not like being told what to do.

Whatever legislation is passed on the mainland to punish those who show disrespect ­towards the national anthem, it should not then be rushed into law here. Over time, citizens here can learn to respect the country and its anthem.

Harmoni Wong Tsz-ching, Kwai Chung

Some street art is really worth preserving

Few of us venture into the city’s alleys. But if you took time to ­explore these backstreets, you would find that some of them have been turned into open-air art galleries.

Some of the street art is beautiful. There are people who ­object to graffiti, but where it is of a high quality the government should preserve it.

Janice Chan Sum-kiu, Tseung Kwan O

Countries in region fearful of China’s rise

Niall Ferguson is right to cast doubts on the West’s fawning encomiums of President Xi ­Jinping (“Western praise for Xi Jinping seemingly knows no bounds”, October 31).

More telling are the views of China’s Asia-Pacific neighbours towards Xi and to China’s rise.

A recent Pew poll reveals that only 34 per cent expect Xi to “do the right thing” regarding world affairs.

Nine in 10 believe China’s ­increased military spending is a “bad thing” and 47 per cent ­believe that its rise is a ­“major threat” to their country.

Despite Xi’s authoritarian tendencies, the rise of social ­media means he has to take more notice of the Chinese ­people. So he vows to “develop consultative democracy”.

Let us hope that he will also take notice of the people in our region and aim to develop ­“consultative democracy” with them as well.

Peter Forsythe, Discovery Bay