Letters to the Editor, February 22, 2018

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 February, 2018, 5:07pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 22 February, 2018, 5:07pm

Go vegan, help ­save the planet

The growing number of vegetarian and vegan restaurants in China indicates that more and more people want to help stop animal suffering, save the environment, and eat more healthily (“More Chinese restaurants are going vegetarian, but not many make money”, February 18).

A 2016 study found that China was the second-fastest-growing vegan market in the world, with a 17.2 per cent growth rate predicted between 2015 and 2020.

Vegans tend to be leaner and less likely to suffer from heart disease, diabetes and other common chronic diseases. Researchers from the University of Oxford have found that if everyone stopped eating animal-derived foods, 8.1 million human lives – not to mention billions of animals – would be saved by 2050, and greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced by two-thirds.

It’s not unusual for new restaurants to close (regardless of the menu selection): about 60 per cent of all restaurants fail within the first year. But, as more people turn vegan, it simply makes smart business sense for restaurants to offer vegan meals, especially since the Chinese government urges everyone to eat more vegan foods to help combat climate change.

Jason Baker, vice-president, International Campaigns, PETA Asia

Shark fin trade puts ecosystem at grave risk

I refer to the recent protest against shark fin being served in Hong Kong restaurants (“Shark fin protest draws 50 activists outside HKU branch of popular restaurant chain”, February 10).

Festive traditions for the Lunar New Year involve gathering with family members to have dinner together. And many diners will ­order shark fin soup because it is a delicacy and signifies wealth.

But we must not forget that some shark species are endangered and facing extinction. This risk cannot be taken lightly, as larger sharks are apex predators, and their extinction would upset the balance of the ecosystem.

Wildlife campaigners have long focused on Hong Kong, with some claiming the city accounts for about half the global trade in shark fin. A study late last year showed more than a third of shark fin products sold in our shops come from vulnerable or endangered species. So I was happy that the protesters called on the restaurant chain to take all shark fin dishes off its menu.

But the government must also do its part, by publicising the ­importance of protecting sharks.

Kitty Lui, Tseung Kwan O

Meditation can keep negative feelings at bay

Regarding the article on meditation being a way to manage anxiety (“Meditation demystified”, February 14), depression affects many people these days, and may even give rise to suicidal tendencies. Reading about how mindfulness can create a sense of calm made me think about how it can also help us overcome negative feelings.

Mindfulness creates a sense of relaxation, which helps to clear away anxiety and mental clutter, and brings on a more positive state of mind. As the article said, the mind is trainable, and the ­increased equanimity experienced by meditating even a little each day speaks for itself.

Mary Yan, Kwai Chung

Budget cash handouts not a smart move

The new Hong Kong budget will be presented next week and, given the bumper surplus expected, lawmakers and social activists alike are demanding sweeteners. But I do not agree, for two reasons.

Firstly, the city needs to set aside a certain amount of money as reserve, so that it can be used to deal with any emergency.

Second, Hong Kong is a capitalist society. People work hard in order to make a living. Too many sweeteners will only bring on welfarism. Too much welfare will worsen ­inflation, and do nothing to help reduce the disparity ­between the poor and the rich.

Besides, perhaps our lawmakers are more concerned with how many votes they can garner in the next election, rather than the future of voters.

Hong Kong faces the problem of a rapidly ageing population. If the government does not set aside money in each budget, there will not be enough for essential social welfare in future.

The people of Hong Kong should not be so short-sighted.

Billy Sit, Tseung Kwan O

Hong Kong police deserve our respect

I am writing in response to Niall Fraser’s article (“Hong Kong ­Police Force must take criticism on the chin and get on with the job”, February 20).

It sometimes seems that the police force in our city is always blamed and criticised. Citizens often tend to have a negative image of police, especially during protests. The situation has worsened with officers being convicted of ­assaulting a protester during the 2014 Occupy Central.

However, compared with many other cities, our police force does an excellent job. While protesters in other cities may well be beaten, or even shot, in Hong Kong the worst they may face is pepper spray. And officers found to have violated the rights of the public are brought to justice.

Spare a thought for the hard lives our policemen and women lead. Besides their daily duties, our officers must maintain order and keep the city running smoothly during protests, often in the face of provocation.

The force gives us Hongkongers a sense of safety. We cannot deny that our officers are dedicated and deserve to be respected.

Seki Chan, Tiu Keng Wan