Online Letters, December 12, 2017

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 12 December, 2017, 4:37pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 December, 2017, 4:37pm

Trump’s decision on Jerusalem sends strong message to world

I back US President Donald Trump’s decision to stand by Israel (“Donald Trump to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, plans to move US embassy there”, December 6).

This decision by Trump sends a strong message to the world that the United States is behind democracy and liberty in the region, given that Israel is the only free and democratic country in the Middle East, where citizens enjoy equal rights. It faces threats from neighbouring countries governed by regimes which are not democratic.

The state of Israel continues to be vilified by many groups in the region, and some continue to call for the state of Israel to be wiped out. Some countries waged wars against Israel, not recognising its declaration of independence in 1948. Previous US administrations were reluctant to change the status quo and kept the embassy in Tel Aviv, fearing that there would be conflict if they moved to Jerusalem. So Trump’s decision is a huge step forward.

It has great symbolic meaning that the world’s only superpower recognises Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The Jewish people have a long history of persecution. Despite this efforts have been made in Israel to ensure peaceful integration of Arabs and Jews in Israeli society.

In contrast, Palestinian groups like Hamas are causing civilian casualties through rocket attacks, but do not always come in for the same criticism from the international community as Israel. I hope Trump’s decision will lead to fairer treatment of Israel.

Anfield Tam, Quarry Bay

Not all Hongkongers are selfish

I agree with correspondents who talk about the competitive nature of society in Hong Kong and how this extends to local schools. This can sometimes lead to adults and children behaving badly.

There is too much focus on academic results by parents and pupils and the need to succeed at all costs extends into adulthood. This can lead to many citizens acting in a selfish manner, such as not holding a lift door open for other people who are approaching. People say that this lack of civility in Hong Kong is getting worse.

However, it is important to recognise that not all Hongkongers are selfish. You do see passengers getting up and giving their seats on the MTR or a bus to someone in need, such as the elderly.

Therefore, it is fair to say that not everyone is uncaring, they do not always think of themselves first. There needs to be more civic education by the government, so that Hongkongers are more willing to help each other.

If people showed more consideration for each other then I think we would have a happier and better quality society.

People need to communicate more with each other and understand people’s needs.

Yeung Yan-ki, Tseung Kwan O

Many parents put too much pressure on their children

Many Chinese children are not getting enough sleep and this is clearly a problem that must be addressed (“How Chinese children are at higher risk of obesity from lack of sleep and late bedtimes”, November 13).

Many parents in China have unrealistic expectations about what their children can achieve and so overestimate their abilities. They often have a lot of extracurricular activities and then have to do their homework. They may go to bed late and so they do not get enough sleep. As the research has shown this can lead to some of them overeating.

Parents need to be realistic about what their sons and daughters can achieve at school. And they must ensure they are given enough time to rest at the end of the school day. Some youngsters are not academically inclined and parents will have to accept this. Most importantly, they must make certain that their children always get a good night’s sleep.

These children should also be given the right kind of guidance in good time management. If they able to work to a realistic timetable they are more likely to get all their assignments done on time and can then get a enough sleep and wake up fresh in the morning. They will then be less likely to overeat.

Children should not always be in a rush. They should be given sufficient time to do all their homework and to rest. With help they can learn to use their time in a smart way.

Hazel Fong Hoi-lam, Kwai Chung

Very important for youngsters to learn teamwork

Kelly Yang’s core message in her article (“Wanted: young diplomats”, December 4) is that Hong Kong students need more empathy. Unfortunately, local schools do not have a lot of classes on learning soft skills like empathy. This makes it difficult for youngsters to understand the feelings of others and empathise with them.

I agree with Yang that it is important for Hong Kong students to learn about teamwork and the ability to get along with others. They need to understand how to cooperate. If they can acquire these skills in school they are more likely to be able to use them when they join the workforce.

However, I would not like to see a switch from Cantonese to English as the main language in local schools. Cantonese is the mother tongue of local students. If schools switched it could hurt the prospects of those pupils who were not able to adapt.

The best solution is to offer more places at schools where English is the medium of instruction so that those pupils who are capable of learning in English can go there.

I would certainly like to see young Hongkongers becoming more empathetic.

Jolly Chau Hiu-tung, Kwun Tong

Recalling courageous stand taken by POW John McCain

I recently acquired the newly issued Public Broadcasting System DVD history of the Vietnam War produced by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. One of many powerful vignettes relates to the shooting down over Hanoi on his 23rd mission in October 1967 of Lieutenant Commander John McCain. Following his capture it was apparent he had broken a leg and both his arms. After his internment and placement in a hospital he was interviewed by a French journalist in his hospital bed in Hanoi.

He described the circumstances of his plane being shot down, his capture and subsequent treatment by the North Vietnamese. His broken bones (as described by the narrator) were reset “without the benefit of even an aspirin” by way of sedative. Towards the end of the interview, a tearful McCain responded to his interviewer, “I would just like to tell my wife, I will get well and I love her and I hope to see her soon”. The narrator adds, “After the interview McCain was beaten for not expressing sufficient gratitude to his captors.”

McCain spent five-and-a-half years as a POW in North Vietnam and refused an offer put to him in 1968 to be released early. His father was an admiral in the US Navy but McCain refused to agree to this fact being used to secure his release over longer imprisoned comrades.

Such is the stuff and fibre of courage. McCain did his duty which is more than can be said for Donald Trump or a number of presidents that preceded him. Let us remember McCain’s flinty courage in this time of distortion of news and the pervasive influence of “noise” in some parts of the media lacking any sense of balance, decency or perspective.

Nicholas Rogers, Mid-Levels