Letters to the Editor, January 9, 2018
Why legalising cannabis in HK is a bad idea
Your columnist Yonden Lhatoo in his criticism of the Hong Kong government for persevering with the criminalisation of cannabis (“Time to shed medieval mindsets over marijuana medication”, January 7), states, inter alia, “no one has actually died of using marijuana”.
He offers no evidence to support that statement but whether he is correct or not, it is irrefutable that many drug users have died because cannabis started them on the downward path of more severe substance abuse.
I recall a conversation with a drug squad officer of considerable experience who told me the drug addicts he had dealt with in the course of his duties had one thing in common. They all started on cannabis. And a significant number finished up on mortuary slabs.
However, whether anyone died from directly taking cannabis, it is certainly the case that cannabis users have caused many deaths. For example, there have been traffic accident fatalities caused by drivers under the influence of cannabis. And there are the innocent civilians blown to pieces by suicidal, cannabis-addicted terrorists.
No, Lhatoo, far from being castigated for not conforming to the liberal acceptance of cannabis in California and elsewhere, the Hong Kong government deserves the highest praise. Ask any parent.
B.J. Carroll, Ap Lei Chau
Traditional values are hurting pupils
Despite voices of concern about the high student suicide rate in Hong Kong, the government has so far failed to take effective measures to address the problem.
It is failing to look at the root cause, which is the society we live in. Traditional beliefs are still dominant and one of them is that the best way to succeed in life is through academic excellence.
This is a widely held view in other Asian societies, that you can join the elite by being a good scholar. So it follows that if you cannot get a university degree you have no chance of finding a highly paid job and being successful in your chosen career. This gives added importance to the Diploma of Secondary Education (DSE), because if pupils do badly they will fail to get a place at a local university.
The mindsets of parents and their children need to change and pupils must come to realise that failing to get a university degree is not the end of the world.
The media can help by not publishing pictures of students crying because they did not get the DSE result they needed.
If pupils and society can adopt a different attitude towards what is regarded as success, then hopefully we will see fewer suicides.
Raymond Chan Mang- cheong, Ngau Tau Kok
Important to reduce salt in school lunches
I am glad that the Department of Health decided last year to try and cut back on salt levels in school lunchboxes.
I can remember when I was in primary school there was quite a lot of salt in the food served in lunchboxes and we also ate salty snacks. But when I went to my secondary school the teachers and social workers worked together to make sure pupils’ meals contained lower levels of salt.
Some vegetables and meat and fish dishes need very little or no salt and there are healthy substitutes which still taste good.
It is up to schools to make healthy choices for their pupils and ensure that lunchboxes contain meals that are still appetising, but contain less salt and sugar and fewer calories.
This should be part of an overall programme which includes encouraging youngsters to do more exercise.
Miki Chung Chi-yan, Tiu Keng Leng
We can learn from Finland’s relaxed system
I agree with those who feel that often children are forced to enrol for too many extra classes, and that this is not good for them.
There is a case for schools in Hong Kong to learn from the more relaxed education system which works so well in Finland.
After a heavy eight-hour school day, should pupils then have to go to a lot of tutorial classes?
They are not robots and they need to be allowed to relax more.
It is really important for young children to be able to enjoy a happy childhood and not be faced with so much pressure at an early age.
Dorma Tse Hiu-wing, Tsuen Wan
Break with past over lax firearms laws
Loose gun controls in the US supported by most Republicans and President Donald Trump have led to the shooting incidents that left so many people dead and injured.
Whenever this happens and Trump is asked by reporters he refuses to change his stance. I understand that the right to bear arms is important to Americans and goes back to the war of independence. But the world has changed a lot since then.
There were traditions in the past in China under the emperors that are now considered to be unacceptable and it is the same with the US and its lax gun legislation.
Katie Sze Ching-man, Tseung Kwan O