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With China and Russia friendly, the US no longer faces divided foes

November 27, 2021 GMT

What Alex Lo writes about (“With China and Russia now bedfellows, it’s too late for Yankee love”, November 23 ) is what poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti once lamented: Pity the nation that knows/ No other language but its own/ And no other culture but its own. No doubt he means his fellow Americans.

I am quite surprised that our Soviet films The Dawns Here Are Quiet (1972) and Office Romance (1977), and our contemporary singer Vitas are very popular in mainland China, and that many young Russian professionals speaking Chinese are working there.

I once worked very hard to learn English. But now I see Nato, the transatlantic security alliance, by Russia’s eastern border and the United States fleet patrolling your shores. If the West confronted Russia and China as separate foes in the past, now it confronts two friends ” a nightmare for America that its former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski once described as the ” most dangerous scenario ”.

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Mergen Mongush, Moscow

I am appealing to humanists and feminists around the world to help women in Afghanistan. Since the Taliban returned to power on August 15, women have become prisoners at home, and most of them are not allowed to go to work or school.

Women in Afghanistan have always been seen as secondary citizens, as someone’s daughter, sister, wife or mother. But they fought for 20 years to make a better society free of cliches about women, a society in which women could flourish. We resisted, we sweated, we worked hard, and we faced down cruelty and discrimination with bravery.

Women in Afghanistan have come so far along a bumpy road, determined to fight the patriarchal mindset and reserve their seats in politics, the arts, education and all other sectors.

Women in Afghanistan learned to stand up for equality, justice, human rights, women’s rights and children’s rights. There was hope, strength and resilience in our hearts and minds.

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But what is happening now? Girls and women have stayed at home in fear as the Taliban acts speciously to win the recognition of the international community. If dark days continue for women in the 21st century, everyone in the world fails as feminists, humanists and activists.

I humbly and firmly call for action from all feminists, humanists and activists. Evacuate women who are more at risk by the end of the year. Maintain advocacy and pressure on local governments and global organisations on behalf of Afghan women and girls to ensure their voices are heard and their human rights protected in the country. Provide scholarships and mentorships for women and girls who are now refugees in your country.

Some countries do not recognise Afghanistan’s education degrees but please at least give Afghan students a chance to continue their education.

Last but not least, donate to on-the-ground NGOs in Afghanistan to deliver food and emergency supplies.

Atefah Hassani, Lorca, Spain

As more families in Hong Kong employ domestic helpers, I wonder how this affects the development of our children. What is the difference between children of stay-at-home parents vis-A-vis working parents? How does it affect family harmony, children’s attitudes to housework and their sense of security?

Many working parents employ domestic helpers and their children are likely to spend more time in the care of helpers, who are mostly from the Philippines and Indonesia. Having to communicate with and adapt to what would initially be a total stranger may give these children greater exposure to different manners and a different culture; they may learn to be more independent or extroverted.

But they may also be more outgoing, ignoring their parent’s advice to spend more time at home. Over time, this may cause a rift in the family and breed conflict. On the other hand, children raised without a helper, surrounded by family, may be more willing to stay at home and spend time with their parents.

Also, children with domestic helpers rarely need to do housework, if at all. This might breed laziness, but also free up time to develop their interests and hobbies. Children with no helpers will have a chance to pitch in with household chores; the advantage is that cooking, tidying up after oneself and time management are all important life skills.

Working parents may be less able to give their children a physical sense of safety and security, and this might have psychological effects. But then children raised by family may overly rely on them. A child’s development is closely affected by parenting and the living environment. All parents must pay attention to the behaviour of their children.

Zheng Yu Hin Jason, Tseung Kwan O

I was going to talk about pigs but environmental concerns loom larger. At the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, the talk revolved around carbon emissions. So I ask, what about the billions ” yes, billions ” of face masks thrown away every day in the world amid a growing mountain of wrapping from online deliveries and other household rubbish? Where does it all go?

Carbon emissions are perhaps the most obvious contributors to the threat faced by our environment but it is just one of myriad threats.

The rubbish dumped in landfills, burnt in incinerators or disposed of in some other way will only create another environmental catastrophe ” if it hasn’t already.

Is it not time for each of us to do our part in reducing waste? All we have done so far is talk about the problems related to reducing waste, with few, if any, tangible results.

Maybe it is time to get ourselves organised as residents of Earth to do something to save our planet ” we call her Mother Earth but are we really her children?

James A. Elms, Mid-Levels

This article originally appeared on the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the leading news media reporting on China and Asia. For more SCMP stories, please download our mobile app, follow us on Twitter, and like us on Facebook.

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