Letters to the Editor, February 21, 2018
Touched by Lam’s reaction to bus tragedy
I refer to the letter from Carly Fung (“Grieving city has heart in the right place”, February 14”) about donors queuing to give blood amid a public outpouring of grief, after the tragic bus crash in Tai Po. The accident on February 10 left 19 passengers dead and more than 60 others injured.
While Ms Fung was touched by the Lion Rock Spirit displayed by Hongkongers, I feel the way the government reacted to the deadly accident also deserves praise.
The government of Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor took immediate steps to show respect to the victims and solidarity with their mourning loved ones. I appreciate how Ms Lam sent out a modified Lunar New Year message in keeping with the city’s sombre mood. She chose to cancel visits to the Lunar New Year fair and night parade, and also asked principal officials to be low-key if they attended. The chief executive showed leadership and empathy in the face of this terrible tragedy.
In this, she gained renewed respect and also inspired greater confidence in her government.
Cherry Wong, Kwai Chung
Not knowing Mandarin may cause regret
I agree with your correspondent, W.S.H. Peng (“Mandarin ‘as a foreign language’ is hurting Hong Kong students”, February19).
We relocated to Shanghai about a year ago. Recently, on the metro, I saw a Russian man in his 20s, trying hard to learn Mandarin Pinyin on a smartphone app.
And at my weekly yoga class, many of the foreign instructors can speak a smattering of Mandarin. All this made me think – if even foreigners are starting to appreciate the importance of learning Mandarin, shouldn’t we, as Chinese nationals, spare more of an effort to do so?
For young people in Hong Kong, there are many benefits to learning Mandarin well.
First, a lot of Hong Kong offices are expanding to the mainland, where a knowledge of Mandarin would be critical, since that is the first official language of mainland markets; also, many companies still insist on using Chinese to communicate with clients.
Fluency in both Mandarin and English would help local graduates explore job opportunities in mainland China or Taiwan, and improve their competitive edge.
This is why we must learn the language when young, and the best place to master it would be in the first three years of primary school, as your correspondent suggests; or we may regret our lack of Mandarin skills later in life.
Eunice Li Dan Yue, Shanghai
City can’t afford to lose Fanling golf course
I understand that the government of Hong Kong is considering using part of the Hong Kong Golf Club in Fanling to build public housing.
As an avid golfer and environmentalist who has visited Hong Kong many times, earlier on business and in more recent years to take part in the Senior Amateur Golf Tournament, I wish to express my opposition to the plan.
If Hong Kong aspires to be a truly international city that can attract business and tourists alike, it needs to have certain amenities. Golf is one such amenity. There are only a few golf courses in Hong Kong. Losing a part of the one that enjoys an international reputation would be not only a shame but an impediment to the city’s international aspirations.
Robert Fairweather, Vancouver
Locking up abusers will not end the abuse
I refer to the report on a father of three girls assaulted by American gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, who lunged at him during a sentencing hearing (“‘I lost control’: father of victims apologises after lunging at Olympic child molester in court”, February 3).
The law was justified in sentencing Lassar to the maximum of 40 to 175 years in prison, for molesting hundreds of young girls under the guise of treatment.
And who can fault the father for charging like a tortured bull lunging out of a cage? Every caring parent would sympathise on a primal level with Randall Margraves. As a parent myself, I would be lying if I said that I did not want to see Dr Lassar tackled.
Yet, there is a problem for me. As a reared Christian, and proponent of principled non-violence, this feeling of retributive justice is at odds with what I know to be true about the prevailing myths that help to regenerate and proliferate violence in society.
Redemptive violence can never accomplish its goals. I know revenge is hard to repress but, in the end, the act of violent retaliation, without a commitment to forgiveness and rehabilitation, only leaves one wounded and in pursuit of an ever-receding horizon of inner peace.
The menaces of paedophilia and sexual abuse will not go away once Nassar dies behind bars. To make him so different from the society which helped create him is a dangerous mistake. Unless the root problems are addressed and cured, there will be countless Nassars waiting to take his place.
George Cassidy Payne, Rochester, New York
Why wait for Valentine’s Day to show love?
Valentine’s Day has just rolled by, with elaborate bouquets, gifts and fancy dinners bought aplenty to impress “the one”.
But do we have to try this hard to show our love on Valentine’s Day, or are we just falling victim to the marketing machinery?
Flowers, especially red roses, are terribly expensive and will wilt within days. And candle light dinners, hailed as the “proper way” to celebrate, become rushed affairs as lovers compete for “Valentine’s Day specials”. If you are with the right person, won’t every day be Valentine’s Day?
Lucy Wong, Ma On Shan