Letters to the Editor, November 10, 2017

PUBLISHED : Friday, 10 November, 2017, 4:32pm
UPDATED : Friday, 10 November, 2017, 4:32pm

Unwavering support vital for Gay Games

I refer to Nigel Collett’s article (“Gay games gives Hong Kong a chance to reveal its true colours”, November 9).

For a group of individuals to have succeeded in a bid to bring the 2022 Gay Games to Hong Kong is a magnificent achievement worthy of publicity and praise from all quarters. The Games will benefit Hong Kong in so many ways.

The CEO of any large organisation, upon hearing its staff had won a major contract for the benefit of the company, would, I am sure, interview and congratulate them and make it known to the whole company what had been achieved.

What does our chief executive and government do? Absolutely nothing. Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor merely ­“noted” the achievement.

Frankly, that is pathetic and a grave insult to all those who have worked tirelessly to bring the Games and all of its benefits to Hong Kong.

One can only hope that from now until the Games is held, the government changes its attitude and gives the organisers its full and unwavering support.

The city of Hong Kong as a whole and the ­organisers specifically ­deserve no less.

Graeme J. Still, Ap Lei Chau

Wong standing up in defence of democracy

I refer to your report on Joshua Wong Chi-fung (“Joshua Wong tells world: We’ll keep sacrificing ourselves for Hong Kong ­democracy”, November 2).

I believe that all citizens should stand up and make their views known about what is happening in Hong Kong. I agree with what Wong has been doing to promote democratic development in the city.

Critics ­accuse him of being too radical, but he has the best interests of Hong Kong at heart.

Thanks to him and other ­activists (while he was still at school), the local government shelved plans to introduce ­national education in the school curriculum, amid fears this would amount to brainwashing.

Some individuals have said that activists like Wong create chaos in society. But if we don’t have people like this standing up in defence of democracy, our freedom could be compromised in the future.

Christine Li Wing-tung, Kwai Chung

China’s leaders will have to earn respect

As Regina Ip so rightly points out in her column (“You can’t hurry love of China”, November 5), you cannot legislate patriotism. For people to be patriotic, they must actually love their country.

If the central government wishes Hong Kong people to love it, then it should stop kidnapping Hong Kong citizens and holding them in black ­detention sites. While it is at it, it could stop ­detaining and ­torturing its own citizens, too.

Respect must be earned – it’s really that simple. The new law stipulating respect for the ­Chinese national anthem will worsen and not improve relations between Hong Kong society and its present and future leadership. It only gives a forewarning of darker days to come if this relationship does not ­improve.

Until China’s leaders respect us, how can they possibly expect us to respect them? And until then, we might as well be ­standing for the Star Wars theme, as it is just as meaningful.

Catherine LaJeunesse, Sai Kung

Train teachers so they spot troubled teens

I can understand the views of ­Althea Suen Hiu-nam (“Lone student on Hong Kong suicide prevention committee blasts report”, October 29).

Her spell as the only student on the committee on prevention of student suicides, was frustrating, as her views were ignored. Suen was astonished that a committee report claimed there was “no substantial direct link ­between student suicides and the education system”.

The crammed syllabus is a factor when it comes to the pressure placed on students, but so is the lack of what I would call “gatekeeper” training in our secondary schools.

Many Hong Kong students are ­depressed and some feel suicidal. They struggle to cope with a heavy workload that often leaves them with little or no free time. Sometimes, parents have unrealistic expectations, and frustration in trying to meet these may make some youngsters take desperate measures.

Many teachers have already had some training as gatekeepers and can spot signs of a pupil in trouble, so they might only need a briefing and refresher sessions.

It is important to have preventive programmes in schools, and teachers acting as gatekeepers can intervene when they feel this is necessary.

Additional and thorough gatekeeper training is important for all teachers, especially those who are inexperienced. This is because they play a crucial role in identifying youngsters who may be showing signs of depression and could try to self-harm.

I am sure that most teachers would be happy to sign up for training as gatekeepers, especially those who have just qualified and joined their first school.

I urge the Education Bureau to provide comprehensive gatekeeper training in all local ­secondary schools.

Joanalene Mallari, Tuen Mun

Mini-rugby girls got much smaller pitch

I find it inspiring to see how Hong Kong women’s rugby continues to thrive on the world stage, with an ever-deepening talent pool and ­performance levels at an ­all-time high.

This, despite the fact that the ladies’ local youth teams are ­often forced to play in grossly unfair and disadvantaged ­circumstances.

Perhaps the Hong Kong Rugby Union can live up to its motto of “A Game for All”.

Also, it should explain why the under-nines and under-10s girls participating in Sunday’s TigerFest 2017 Mini-Rugby ­Festival (I am the parent of a girl playing under-10s) did not ­deserve an equal playing turf at such a premier Hong Kong mini-rugby tournament.

The boys in the same age ­category played on a pitch double the size at King’s Park on ­Sunday.

Not only was it grossly ­unfair, but it did nothing for the girls’ self-image and pride in the game, nor was it helpful in promoting the future of women’s rugby in Hong Kong.

What do we have to do to get equal rights and equal turf for girls’ ­mini-rugby in Hong Kong?

E. Hobson, Sai Kung

Helpers’ rights must always be protected

I refer to the report on the need for more helpers in the city (“Hong Kong will need 600,000 domestic helpers in next 30 years amid ­demand for elderly care”, November 5)

Most Hongkongers lead busy lives with demanding jobs, and have to hire domestic helpers. Given our ageing population, the number of elderly will increase, as will ­demand for helpers to act as carers.

With such a huge influx of these workers predicted by the government, it must ensure they are treated fairly and their rights are protected.

There have been cases of helpers being mistreated by ­employers. They can also find themselves exploited financially by rogue employment agencies.

I would also urge the government to plan to build more nursing homes.

Carmen Yip Ka-man, Kwai Chung