Letters to the Editor, February 24, 2018
Nationalist agendas and history lessons
An old Greek saying has it that wars are created by old men for young men to die in.
The average age of young men killed in the ferocious battles to defeat the nationalist Japanese and German militarists in the second world war was 19. Freedom never comes free.
Now Chinese nationalism is evident under yet another militarist banner. A top American air force general recently said he would refuse an illegal nuclear attack order from the president of the US. Is there equivalent oversight of the Chinese political leadership and its military?
Commentary at the military parade for the 70th anniversary of the victory over Japan included “this missile can hit Hawaii, this missile can hit Los Angeles, this missile can hit New York”.
The media continuously carry articles with similar comments: “This hypersonic glide vehicle could hit the US in 15 minutes”; “this quantum communication system would enable a submarine to sit off the US west coast undetected”; “this missile could shoot down any US satellite”.
The lessons of history are clear where uncontrolled nationalist agendas are pursued without let-up, hindrance or rebuke.
Edison Woo, Mid-Levels
Lunar greeting fallout a social media wake-up
I refer to Kinling Lo’s report on the internet storm over the right way for Chinese to extend best wishes in the Year of the Dog (“Chinese supermodel Liu Wen slammed on Instagram for referring to ‘Lunar New Year’”, February 21).
This reveals that the Chinese really have a great sense of national identity. The online conflict was started by the word “Lunar”. As a celebrity of Chinese nationality, Liu was trolled as unpatriotic and accused of betraying her Chinese heritage, as she had wished her fans a happy “Lunar New Year”.
Most of Liu’s online critics are doubtlessly Chinese. I understand their desire to preserve their national culture and heritage, which has a very long history.
However, Instagram is a global online platform and Liu, a Victoria’s Secret model and international celebrity, was actually addressing followers from around the world. In this case, using the word “lunar” seemed proper.
The backlash saw Liu change the caption on a photograph of herself with friend Wendi Deng Murdoch. But what her experience proves is that people, especially public figures, have to be careful when using social media, to avoid giving offence.
Lily Yuen, Kwai Chung
Young skater’s fighting spirit is a life lesson
I refer to the article on the comeback made by US figure skater Nathan Chen at the Winter Olympics (“Nathan Chen redeems himself”, February 18).
The 18-year-old Asian American, a two-time national champion, suffered early setbacks but managed to pull back from 17th place to fifth. Later, he admitted to feeling the pressure in the run-up to the Pyeongchang Games as a gold medal favourite.
Chen’s story made me appreciate the efforts put in by top athletes, and the hurdles they must overcome. I also felt it holds a lesson for our teenagers who might feel like giving up in the face of hardship. During our lifetime, we may face a lot of difficulties, but we should never give up.
Kelly Cheng, Kwai Chung
Try harder to help visually impaired
It is pivotal to provide comprehensive services to help the visually impaired to integrate into society, and establish an inclusive community environment.
The Hong Kong government should allocate more resources to support organisations that provide services to the disabled.
For the visually impaired, screen-magnifying services and Braille display devices, which many patients cannot afford, could be a starting point.
Also, more companies can provide ethical products to help the disabled. I recently read about the launch of a mobile app called Tap My Dish, which helps the visually impaired to order meals. The company has enhanced its reputation because of this ethical action in helping the disabled. Why don’t more companies follow in its footsteps?
Although the Hong Kong government and some NGOs have been making an effort to provide these kinds of services, Hong Kong is still far from an ideal.
I hope more people can provide services to patients who have lost their sight, and those who live under the same roof, so that their lives can be made a little easier.
Lauranda Wong, Ma On Shan
Bookseller’s tale shows internet too dominant
I refer to your article on how the owner of a second-hand bookshop in Chengdu, Fu Tianbin, is finding it difficult to draw young Chinese back to reading and to help them stay away from online entertainment (“Bookseller on mission to get people reading again”, February 5).
In the past, knowledge came from books, but now we just need to search on the internet. Along with daily changes in technology comes a lot of convenience, and it is easy to forget the old study method of just reading books.
Although science and technological advances bring many positives, they can also make many young people rely excessively on the internet.
Some people think that books are obsolete and that all we need to know can be found in a quick online search.
People seem to have forgotten that books are fun and entertaining. A good book can absorb you for hours, and you won’t realise time has passed so quickly.
Kathy Li, Tseung Kwan O