Letters to the Editor, December 13, 2017
HK does not need national security laws
For years, officials from Beijing and Hong Kong have talked about the need for national security legislation. This implies that the city and the nation face a perceived threat, which is ridiculous.
The central government is spending too much time, energy and money on this issue. Where is the threat coming from in the region? I am concerned that the supposed protection of national security can be used as an excuse to restrict individual freedoms in the city.
Nations like China have a strong state apparatus, a huge army with powerful weapons. Sometimes, they use their power to flout international laws and conventions. By contrast, ordinary citizens have no power.
In some cases, a slip of the tongue or a simple plea for human rights can land someone in prison for years, with no recourse to justice.
It upsets me to see some Hong Kong politicians supporting Beijing’s push for unnecessary and divisive legislation. It is even more painful that some of them are women, as backing strong national security laws is often seen as a male obsession, because men love power.
Women should have better, healthier priorities – peace, family harmony, a clean environment, good medical facilities and dignified retirement.
A few misguided bleats for “independence” do not justify the implementation of new laws. If Beijing really respects Hong Kong people, it should trust us to handle things in a rational and constructive way, consistent with human rights and international laws.
Jack Khong, Tai Kok Tsui
Legislation will lead to greater resentment
Questions have been raised about how any national anthem law will affect citizens if it is enacted in Hong Kong.
Some commentators have said that such a law will intensify the resentment some Hongkongers feel towards the central government. They say that you cannot force people to respect the national anthem or flag through the threat of punishment. I agree with these comments and do not think the green light should be given to an anthem law here.
Doing so would send the wrong message to the international community, that Beijing thinks Hongkongers are not self-disciplined or patriotic enough to respect the anthem without the enforcement of laws.
Also, there will be a lot of grey areas, with law drafters having to determine what is meant by not respecting the flag or the anthem.
Christine Cheung, Sha Tin
Traffic lights at Tai Tam bridge long overdue
The other day my wife sat in traffic for more than an hour after a truck and a bus got stuck while crossing the bridge over Tai Tam reservoir.
The taxi driver eventually suggested a U-turn, and a trip to Sai Kung ended up taking over two hours, and cost double the fare. Hundreds of commuters and others were inconvenienced, with thousands of hours lost before police managed to take control of the situation.
This was not an isolated incident, as residents of Tai Tam, Shek O and Stanley know only too well.
The bridge is just too narrow. I would suggest that we have traffic lights there or even have people manage traffic flows manually at peak traffic times.
Waiting several minutes for the lights to change is nothing compared to sitting in traffic for long periods, with vehicles belching pollutants into the atmosphere.
I want the Transport Department to look urgently into the matter, while we wait for approval on designs to build a new bridge alongside the current one, which may take years to be completed.
Simon Childs, Tai Tam
Online bullies are targeting more teens
With increased use of the internet, more teenage girls are being sexually harassed online.
Sometimes, explicit images are taken of them and then shared online without their consent.
This can lead to cyberbullying which can destroy a young person’s life.
Parents and schools should be aware of this problem.
Parents should offer the necessary guidance to their children so they can be aware of the risks, and schools must have workshops to teach pupils how to defend against cyberbullying.
Also, operators of apps should provide an option for users to report any harmful posts and comments.
It is important to keep up the fight against cyberbullying.
Jacky Sit, Tiu Keng Leng
Emotional support helps bullied pupils
A lot of articles have highlighted the growing problem of youngsters being the targets of bullying, involving both physical abuse and cyberbullying.
However, there is also the problem of what I would call exclusion bullying. This is very tough to overcome, as it is difficult to find firm evidence.
The victims of such bullying are not physically harmed and there are no actual threats. But there is significant emotional damage, as young people are intentionally excluded from social activities with peers. The psychological damage can leave pupils so upset that they refuse to go to school.
Such pupils may lack confidence and have difficulty communicating. The damage in some cases can be long-lasting.
Other pupils who are aware that this is happening should report it to their teacher. They should not stand by and let this happen to a schoolmate.
They should also talk to the victim and show their support as this can be very helpful.
Expressing empathy would help the young victim know that they are not alone.
Au Pik-suet, Ho Man Tin
Science classes too focused on the theoretical
A recent survey has shown that Hong Kong youngsters are less prepared for the new, smart workplace than their counterparts in places like South Korea and Singapore.
For example, in science subjects, pupils of local schools get a lot of theoretical lessons, when what they need more of is to be involved in the everyday practical application of these theories.
The curriculum should be more practical, to prepare youngsters for the workplace and enable them to use the technology that is such a crucial part of an office environment.
Also, schools should do more to encourage creativity. Teens need to learn to think independently and use their initiative, which will stand them in good stead in their chosen careers.
There is a need to change the present spoon-feeding culture in our education system.
Simon Chung, Kwun Tong