Letters to the Editor, December 5, 2017

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 05 December, 2017, 5:41pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 05 December, 2017, 5:41pm

Pope Francis’ Asia visit put humanity first

Pope Francis, the leader of the Catholic Church, last week visited two Asian nations with small Catholic populations: Myanmar and Bangladesh. He made a special point of visiting Rohingya Muslim refugees and expressing sorrow for their treatment.

I believe the pontiff’s activities were aimed at healing the centuries-old conflict between Christians and Muslims. Religious ­minorities are persecuted in many countries, often for political gain, a malignant strategy that should be condemned.

These practices were used in Northern Ireland, in Egypt and other Middle Eastern nations. Conflicts in Indonesia and Myanmar are often labelled as religious, but they are not. ­People living together for years know and respect each other and their beliefs. It is usually outsiders, such as politicians, who stir up suspicions and recall old quarrels to divide people.

But we must also be realistic. There have been serious violations of justice in the past by religious believers. Catholic nations such as Spain and Portugal profited hugely from the slave trade. ­Anglican England engaged in imperial conquest. Southern US Protestants exploited African slaves before the Civil War. Muslim nations have also engaged in conquest and religious suppression. Israel has treated Islamic citizens and neighbours with unremitting harshness. Injustice is the root of hatred.

It’s high time that religious leaders admitted these historic evils and moved to rectify them. Religion has to put love and forgiveness first. Believers must not use religion to determine citizenship, nor must politicians try to establish religious practices.

Hong Kong is very fortunate to have the world’s major religions, serving people in harmony and mutual respect. It would be great if the Pope could be ­invited to visit. It’s true that there are some differences between the Vatican and Beijing, but these should be ­resolved by wise diplomacy. If the authorities can routinely invite nuclear-armed US warships, I think they would find Pope Francis to be a peaceful and inspiring visitor.

J. Geitner, Sham Shui Po

Children need to be taught about abuse

The people of Hong Kong have been shocked by the news that hurdles champion Vera Lui Lai-yiu was sexually assaulted by a coach in her teens (“Coach abused me when I was 13”, top athlete claims”, December 1).

Lui was the highest-profile local figure to join the global “Me Too” movement against sexual harassment. Lui’s Facebook post about her personal suffering has encouraged other local victims to come forward. It has also raised public awareness of sexual assault against children.

I think this issue highlights the unfortunate reality that Hong Kong teenagers do not clearly know how to protect their bodies, and have low awareness of sexual abuse and the “good touch/bad touch” ­lessons often taught to children to guard against assault.

That Lui was too shocked to protest at the time of the assault 10 years ago shows how scared and helpless she felt, as she ­believed she was with a trusted adult. Similar cases reported in Hong Kong show youngsters do not yet know how to protect themselves against sex offenders. This is why education on this matter is so important.

More speakers should be ­invited to hold talks in schools to educate students about sexual abuse, ways to protect themselves and to always report any instances to parents, teachers or other authority figures.

Alice Ma, Tseung Kwan O,

Report assault to prevent trial by social media

I support “queen of hurdles” Lui Lai-yiu’s decision to share her experience of sexual assault on her Facebook page.

Victims may be left feeling humiliated and depressed long after such an assault, and may find it difficult to speak about it, due to the psychological impact and social taboos involved.

However, victims should try to report the incident immediately, so that the perpetrator can receive due punishment.

Due to the growing tendency of “trial by social media”, many people act as judge and jury, and the accused may be publicly condemned before the courts of law can act. This may lead to prejudice before the police can even investigate the case.

Thus it is important that ­victims are ­encouraged to come forward to report sexual assault as soon as possible.

Marco Kwan, Hang Hau

Korean dramas creating unreal picture of love

Korean culture is now very popular in Hong Kong, from fashion to cosmetics and TV dramas. My Love from the Star, Descendants of the Sun and Goblin have all been big hits in Hong Kong.

In fact, watching Korean drama has become an obsession among Hong Kong teenagers, especially girls. As teenagers are impressionable, and love is one of the most common themes of Korean drama, I am worried they will end up with very unrealistic opinions about dating.

Researchers in Taiwan found that college girls who are fans of Korean drama have higher ­expectations of their boyfriend. Also, they believe in the concept of “one and only love”.

I am worried that my peers will also be affected in the same way, ending up with unrealistic views about romantic relationships. I hope they are able to separate real life from the fantasy world of Korean dramas.

Supriya Limbu, Tuen Mun

Kinship with China not easy for Australia

I refer to the article by Michael Clarke and Matthew Sussex (Australia must get used to a new order with China as a major player”, December 1).

While conflating values with interests indeed does not always result in sound policies, Australia shares few – except economic – interests with China to withdraw from the America-guided quadrilateral alliance.

Australia’s shared ancestry with America and Europe ­dictates its foreign policy; the ­ensuing democratic values and norms where individualism ­assumes centre-stage reaffirm their denominators.

Australia has little to forge such a level of kinship with ­socialist China.

Siyoung Choi, Seoul