Letters to the Editor, November 16, 2017
Grey areas in anthem law need clarity
Critics of the proposed national anthem legislation in Hong Kong have referred to a lack of clarity, with citizens not knowing which actions will get them into trouble.
I agree with those who say that the public consultation process must be comprehensive so that the rights we already enjoy in this city are protected.
There are grey areas that need to be cleared up. For example, will the law demand that people stand up and remain stationary while the national anthem is being played?
People have referred to different scenarios and possible outcomes, and it is all a bit confusing.
If you are having dinner in a restaurant with a TV and the anthem is played, should you stand up? Having to stand up and remain standing would be very inconvenient in this busy city.
Also, if the law is as extensive as some pro-Beijing elements would like, it would be very difficult for the police to enforce in a city like Hong Kong.
And, it would be tough for the courts to determine what is actually meant by “disrespect”, or “insulting” the anthem or the flag. After all, everyone has different standards.
Hopefully, the situation will become clearer once people have been consulted.
Amos Kwok Chun-fung, Yuen Long
Legislation will only make tensions worse
Pro-establishment legislators support having a national anthem law in Hong Kong, thinking it will protect the image of the central government. They feel this legislation is necessary for the whole country, including Hong Kong, but I do not agree.
Many citizens, especially young ones, are regularly joining protests against the policies of the central government and how they affect Hong Kong.
There are still a lot of tensions in relations between local citizens and the nation’s leaders. Having a national anthem law will not relieve these tensions. In fact, it will probably make things worse.
Nor do I think that having this law in place will stop people from being disrespectful to the anthem. A law cannot control people’s minds, and it cannot force them to respect an anthem.
Marco Chan Hei-yin, Tseung Kwan O
Persuasion a better way to build respect
When the national anthem law is introduced, people who show disrespect should be punished by the courts.
However, it would be better to encourage respect for the anthem through persuasion. Children should learn March of the Volunteers in schools.
The government should try to get the message across to the public about why the anthem is important. Adverts and exhibitions can also raise citizens’ levels of national and civic consciousness.
Ken Yu, Tsuen Wan
Cameras can help identify illegal dumpers
I support a government proposal to install surveillance cameras at illegal dumping black spots in Hong Kong. This is a serious problem and some of the material can pose a health risk to nearby residents and damage the environment.
Using cameras to identify the perpetrators would be the most effective way to curb this practice. The authorities could act as soon as they have this evidence.
It is also important for officials to put out adverts to try to get the message across to citizens that this kind of illegal dumping is antisocial.
Heidi Chu Hoi-ying, Kwai Chung
More schools should focus on life skills
I welcome the attitude adopted by a primary school in Tin Shui Wai (“School grades life skills above exams” , November 12).
Other local schools should follow the example it has set, because while academic teaching is important, pupils should also be learning life skills.
At the W F Joseph Lee Primary School, children learn things like gardening, which can help to relieve the stress brought about by endless quizzes, dictation and tests.
The local education system places too much emphasis on getting good exam results and youngsters must sometimes feel like robots as they face so much rote learning.
Learning life skills is as important as acquiring exam skills. It can help pupils lead normal and productive lives in childhood and also as adults, and reduce the number of students committing suicide.
Jeana Cheng Ka-yi, Kwai Chung
Art workshops are an antidote to depression
I refer to the report (“How art helps patients get past a blue period”, November 9).
It is good that citizens suffering from psychological problems such as depression are able to get better, partly through art, thanks to the non-profit organisation Art in Hospital. People in Hong Kong lead such hectic and stressful lives that often they will succumb to depression.
When people get involved in these workshops, they are able to express their thoughts through pictures.
This can help them gain a better understanding of their feelings.
Art is a very good form of therapy and not just for people with depression. It is important for all citizens to try to find an activity which they can enjoy and that lets them relax. It can help us find a more positive attitude towards life.
Vivian Lam Ching-man, Tung Chung