Letters to the Editor, December 10, 2017

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 10 December, 2017, 9:02am
UPDATED : Sunday, 10 December, 2017, 9:02am

Open debate on all issues benefits society

I refer to a law expert saying discussions about independence do not pose a threat to national security (“Peaceful advocacy of independence ‘should be ­allowed’,” December 5).

I believe that any exclusion peaceful debate is not the sign of an open-minded and mature government. Diverse voices in society must be heard, and multiple viewpoints encouraged, not forbidden. There should be room for people to express their views peacefully.

The ongoing debate about governance should not be ­simply seen as a tussle between rival camps of pro-establishment and violent independence advocates. Society will benefit by taking on board insights from both the pro-democracy and pro-establishment sides.

Lack of an outlet for one’s views will further polarise Hong Kong politics and hurt society as a whole. The government should show magnanimity in taking advice from both camps.

A mature and rational political discourse is what the city needs, not further narrowing of views and stances.

Yoyo Yuen Wing Yiu, Kwai Chung

Doubts about Person of the Year honour

The “MeToo” movement has been elected by Time magazine as their 2017 Person of the Year.

The editor-in-chief of the magazine, Edward ­Felsenthal, called the movement “the fastest moving social change we’ve seen in decades and it began with individual acts of courage by hundreds of women – and some men, too”. He hailed them as “silence breakers”. This ­annual distinction from Time is given to a person, group or movement that had the greatest influence on events for the year, although “great” does not necessarily have a positive meaning in this instance.

One must not forget that US President Donald Trump, who is infamous for his racist comments, for mocking disabled people, and for being accused of sexual harassment, was elected Person of the Year in 2016, and was still the runner-up this year.

Trump’s numerous scandals were spread out on traditional and social media, and yet a big section of American electors did not consider this a big issue and still voted for exactly the type of man that the “MeToo” movement against sexual harassment and assault is now denouncing.

Powerful men are being fired or investigated left and right amid a storm of denunciation. When will Mr Trump be held ­accountable for his acts? And when will the media learn to show some integrity?

Ellen Hoang, Kennedy Town

Brave hurdler will show the way to others

I refer to the article on hurdler Vera Lui Lai-yiu (“Coach abused me when I was 13, top athlete claims”, December 1).

The experience Ms Lui said she was put through is inexcusable, and I am glad to see someone be brave enough to stand up against her abuser.

Trying to recall a painful memory from 10 years ago must have been extremely difficult. But her decision to speak up was not a mistake, I believe, as it will inspire other abuse victims to stand up for themselves as well.

“I am not ashamed as a victim. I don’t want you to feel sorry for me. I want you to applaud my courage,” Ms Lui posted on Facebook. I think this was a powerful statement, which shows those who are willing to reveal their painful past should receive not only empathy, but encouragement as well.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor contacted the police commissioner to follow up the matter. While I doubt the police would be able to find out much about an incident from 10 years ago, I feel that Lui’s willingness to talk about it will raise awareness about the issue, and help protect potential victims.

James Wong, Tseung Kwan O

School bullies must be given moral compass

I refer to your article on the need for schools to tackle bullies (“Schools in Hong Kong must stand up to bullying or risk being enablers”, November 26).

Bullying is not a new phenomenon but seems to be more pervasive than ever.

If students don’t know how to maintain good interpersonal relationships, they may express their frustrations in socially ­inappropriate ways, resorting to bullying to mask insecurities. Also, if victims suffer emotionally and don’t know how to seek help, they may want to drop out of school, withdraw socially or cause extreme self harm.

Schools have to offer more life education lessons or talks on moral education and interpersonal relationships.

Teachers and school social workers would also have to be more alert to student behaviour to ensure discipline and prevent bullying incidents.

Tony Tam, Tiu Keng Leng

Maid should not have taken shower video

I refer to the report about an ­Indonesian ­domestic helper who live-streamed on social ­media a video of bathing the children in her care (“Hong Kong migrant worker group calls for more training after helper is arrested for video of children in shower”, December 6).

The maid’s actions have been explained as arising from cultural difference or a lack of training, but I think her behaviour was unacceptable. She should not have taken a video of the naked children, let alone post it on Facebook. One of the children even asked her why she was recording and asked her not to, but she lied to the child.

I think the maid should have respected the privacy of the children. What she did was illegal, so it was absolutely right that she was later arrested for publishing child pornography.

Jason Lau, Tseung Kwan O

Prevent abuse of children via national action

With a new study revealing that three out of four children in the world have to suffer physical or emotional abuse, I agree with ­­­­A. K. ­Shiva Kumar and Baroness Vivien Stern that a ­nationwide effort is needed to end violence against children (“Violence against children can be eradicated by making it a national priority”, December 5)

This violence, ranging from corporal punishment to bullying, neglect, rape and murder, affected as many as 1.7 million children globally in 2014.

Children are our future. If we keep hurting them, the future of the world will suffer. Unicef calls on people to recognise and report any instance of child abuse around them because, though children should feel the safest at home, in school and in their communities, it is in these places that most violence against them takes place.

It is time more governments stepped in, and did not treat child abuse as a private matter. Violence is lower in nations with a human development agenda prioritising child health and education, particularly for girls. The rights of all citizens, children included, must be protected.

Leo Tse, Yau Tong