Letters to the Editor, March 13, 2018

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 13 March, 2018, 5:26pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 13 March, 2018, 5:26pm

Fine words on independence should appeal

I hope the wonderfully worded, very polite and fine request of ­Patrick Wood (“Self-determination is not the same as advocating Hong Kong independence”, March 9) does not go unnoticed, or is not misunderstood, by Li Fei and the mainland authorities.

Our future young politicians are not asking for a separate country, but wish to remain under the umbrella of the mainland.

All they demand is full freedom of expression, an independent political administration and judiciary, and the least interference from the central government in our internal affairs.

We have progressed greatly – economically, politically, socially – and in all directions as an international city with fine transport, ­renown as a well-regulated financial and insurance centre, with an efficient ­administration and a surplus budget year after year.

If our young politicians’ statements are not twisted, and taken calmly in their true sense and spirit, our progress can continue ­unhindered, and the mainland will also be benefited.

Both sides can truly progress with Hong Kong as a Special ­Administrative Region of the ­People’s Republic of China. There could be more options offered, with all players allowed to express their views fully and discuss issues peacefully. I hope Mr Wood’s reasonable request will be understood and considered.

A. L. Nanik, Tsim Sha Tsui

Can West get Saudi prince to discuss Yemen?

Britain rolled out the red carpet last week for Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, and he is due to meet Donald Trump in the White House next week. However, even as he is showered with laurels for improving the status of women in his country, Western leaders should also counsel him to resolve the ­Yemen crisis expeditiously.

Pounding Yemen with bombs has not driven the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels out. ­Instead, the country’s fragile infrastructure has crumbled. Ordinary Yemenis are protesting against the Houthi occupation.

The crown prince, the Saudi defence minister, is a young man of 32 years. He is in a hurry. However, haste makes waste and wars do not always solve all problems.

The Yemen imbroglio is in its third year and, like all armed struggles, can only be resolved through a diplomatic solution.

Perhaps the US, UK or France could take the lead in enabling the negotiations? For this they will win goodwill across the globe. The peacemakers are always blessed.

Rajendra Aneja, Mumbai

Kids should not suffer effects of alcohol abuse

I refer to the father who was jailed for trying to poison his children while under the influence of alcohol (“Hong Kong father jailed for trying to feed his two young children rat poison”, March 7).

Reports of domestic violence perpetrated by parents have sadly become all too common these days in our city. Hong Kong parents need to work long hours and also take care of their children. This causes them a lot of stress.

Drinking may be one way to relax and forget their problems for a while, but children should not have to bear the brunt if parents cannot hold their alcohol.

Children are not items to vent one’s anger on. They are their parents’ responsibility, but not their property. Their lives are their own.

Amelia Sin, Kwai Chung

Science brains face language barrier in city

The latest Hong Kong budget has pledged an extra HK$50 billion for innovation and technology. However, Hong Kong ranked a lowly 14th in last year’s Economist ­index of how well the education system prepares young people aged 15 to 24 for a future in which technology will be king.

In Hong Kong, pupils must excel at both languages and technological subjects to clear the hurdles to university. But many who are good in science or ICT (information and communications technology) may fail to attain the minimum cut-off, because they perform badly in language and communication skills.

The minimum requirement for such students may be lowered to basic communication and language skills, to avoid science talent from being filtered out. This would help increase the number of research specialists in the city, and the future development of our technological edge.

Zoe Chung, Po Lam

E-cigarettes and the question of informed choice

I refer to Eunice Li Dan Yue’s letter highlighting the harm caused by e-cigarettes to children and teenagers (“E-cigarettes should not be encouraged”, March 4).

I agree that e-cigarettes should be regulated and sale or distribution to minors made illegal. The same applies to heated tobacco products such as IQOS.

That said, instead of just publicising the negative impacts of new tobacco or nicotine-delivery products, many overseas authorities – including in the US but especially in the UK – do acknowledge the potential positive effects to public health if smokers can switch from combustible cigarettes to these products.

While people smoke for nicotine, they in fact die from tar and other harmful chemicals produced when a cigarette is burnt. Innovations are in place to solve the latter and, quit or switch, adult smokers should be properly informed to make their own choice.

Yes, these new products are still harmful and underage uptake is a concern. But one should not ­demonise them just because they bear the word “cigarette” or ­“tobacco” in their name, or cherry-pick studies and reports that stress only one side of the story.

Zhang Li Hua, Kwun Tong