Letters to the Editor, December 8, 2017

PUBLISHED : Friday, 08 December, 2017, 4:07pm
UPDATED : Friday, 08 December, 2017, 4:07pm

Mistrust will silence victims of sexual abuse

I refer to the recent #MeToo post on Facebook by Hong Kong’s “queen of hurdles”, Vera Lui Lai-yiu that has evoked such strong feelings. Some online reactions made me worry whether some people wanted to silence those who wished to identify their abusers or even cry out for help.

Ms Liu, now 23, claimed she was sexually assaulted by a former coach when she was 13. At first, almost everyone, if not all, shed tears at the tragedy.

However, when netizens found out that the athlete may not choose to deal with the matter in a court of law, some were outraged. That led to an online battle ­between her supporters and critics.

While neither victim-shaming nor blindly supporting Lui’s decision, I believe the argument exists because the two sides ­approach the issue from different angles. Those who blame her for publicising the incident 10 years later think it is not fair to all of her male coaches and teachers. Even though she did not name the coach, one of her former coaches was suspended from work by two employers following her revelation, including the school where he trained Lui 10 years ago, without any legal judgment being made.

Moreover, many men are worried how any behaviour perceived as sexual harassment might affect their relationship and interaction with ­female students, companions, colleagues and bosses, as just one misunderstanding about their intentions might ruin their careers.

I expect everyone will agree that there is little use in reporting a case that happened 10 years ago. So what’s the point in talking about it?

But then, it was never the aim of Ms Lui to sue anyone or blame anyone after all these years. Her intention was, frankly, very easy to understand: it was to raise awareness about child sexual abuse, break the social taboo around talking about sexual ­harassment in general and help other victims like herself to speak out, as a form of catharsis.

Sadly, we let her down. We did not cheer her bravery in speaking up. As she wrote in her post: “Speaking up is my birthday present to myself”.

However, many of us have offered her, as well as other silent ­victims of sexual abuse, our greatest mistrust.

Maggie Tung, To Kwa Wan

Therapy dogs great idea for stress relief

I refer to the report on the University of Hong Kong bringing a therapy sheepdog to campus to help their students relax before exams (“Exam stress getting to you? Meet Jasper, the HKU therapy dog”, November 23).

The report said while some local universities do offer one-off therapy sessions, HKU’s ­pilot ­programme is unique, as it will be the first to have a “resident” therapy dog available for three days next week.

I really hope to adopt a dog. However, my parents have not agreed so far.

If there were a therapy dog at school, I think I would look forward to classes everyday.

Students in Hong Kong these days are always under a lot of pressure, from exams, the high expectations of their parents and teachers, from fear of failure, and so on. All this affects our quality of life. A therapy dog can make us relax and forget all the unhappiness in our daily lives. So I welcome the idea of having a therapy animal on campus.

However, I understand that not everyone may agree. Some students may be afraid of dogs or have an allergic reaction to animal fur. But for those who do love dogs, I think they are a great way to relieve stress.

Chloe Wong, Po Lam

Act to revive harmony on city campuses

I write in response to your article on the erosion of respect in the student-teacher relationship (“Respect between Hong Kong University students and teachers? Ex-head of Lingnan says rankings fixation ended this”, November 27).

I agree that there is less respect seen between students and teachers these days, and this ­applies not only to university but secondary schools a well.

Students nowadays just look forward to good results in public examinations, which means that they only focus on what exam-taking skills they can learn from teachers, not true knowledge or values. They can get these skills just from tutorial lessons, which is what most senior students tend focus on.

The teacher-student relationship is no longer something vital for pupils. The lack of connection between students and schools makes learning a ­mechanical process for many, with no emotional appeal.

Schools are where teenagers can develop their personalities, communication and networking skills, as well as the moral and social values that will guide them as adults. However, this is no longer how it works.

It is actually a serious problem that Hong Kong students no longer respect their teachers.

Your article said harmonious ­relationships existed before on campuses because there was less pressure. We need to help the future pillars of our society build up the right attitude.

Cathy Chou, Tsuen Wan

India has valid reason to reject the Rohingya

I read with concern Debasish Roy Chowdhury’s article on the Rohingya refugees (“Nowhere like home”, December 3).

Today in India, there is a feeling that enough is enough. For too long, refugees, fleeing persecution or poverty, have been ­allowed to enter, as the authorities looked the other way.

Millions of Muslim illegal ­immigrants from Bangladesh have altered the religious demographics of Assam and West Bengal states. The nation is bitter that the previous government settled some Rohingya in Jammu, part of the autonomous Jammu and Kashmir state where special residency laws mean no one from outside the state can buy any kind of land.

We must distinguish the ­Rohingya Muslims from other persecuted people who have nowhere else to go, be it Tibetans or Buddhist Chakmas of Bangladesh, or Sri Lankan, Pakistani and Bangladeshi Hindus. The Rohingya will only further jeopardise India’s demography. Bangladesh is a “natural” country they could go to, as they have the same language and religion.

Armchair left-liberal intellectuals in India and the West like to couch many issues in fancy concepts of democracy, humanitarianism or universalism, but these can only work on the foundation of basic common sense.

Rakesh Sharma, Tsim Sha Tsui

Deadly effects of depression on social media

The arrest of Japan’s “Twitter killer”, who preyed on suicidal youth and “helped them to die” has sparked global concern over suicide notes on social media.

But this is not the first time social media has shown its potential for linking vulnerable users, who organise themselves into self-harm groups.

The Blue Whale Challenge, which surfaced last year, has ­influenced hundreds of youngsters around the world, and caused many to commit suicide.

While governments have taken steps to regulate the use of social media, the root of the problem is actually the psychological health of youngsters, that needs to be attended to.

Jasmine Wong, Sheung Shui