Regarding your July 10 article, "Hong Kong's rallies test China's 'two systems' policy": I would like to note this situation has ramifications reaching beyond China and Hong Kong; they also stretch to Taiwan. As an American who has traveled throughout China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, I am concerned that one day Taiwan will find itself in the same predicament as Hong Kong.
Hong Kong's meteoric economic growth can be attributed to the economic and social freedoms enjoyed under British control. Now the mainland Chinese government is trying to strip Hong Kong of many of the freedoms that helped it to grow so rapidly. Taiwan has also greatly benefited from the free-market economy and economic globalization. Taiwan has successfully developed into one of the most dynamic democracies in Asia with direct elections at all levels of the government. Why would the Taiwanese people want to subject themselves to losing their freedom, democracy, and economic gains under the control of mainland China?
The last several weeks' events in Hong Kong show Beijing that the "one country, two systems" model is fundamentally flawed and will not work in Hong Kong or Taiwan. The Taiwanese people truly believe they are their own nation - not simply a rogue province of mainland China. I, for one, hope the Hong Kong people will continue to stand up to Beijing and fight for their freedoms and rights.
Lee Christine Sutton
Regarding the July 10 Opinion "Reading Rainbow and its elusive pot of gold": I was very sorry to read about the difficulty of funding for "Reading Rainbow." It points to the fact that we are becoming an increasingly media-dependent society and that books and media don't mix well.
As a longtime reading specialist, I find Lisa Suhay's effusive piece to have notable shortcomings. "Reading Rainbow" is a television-based reading-instruction program that describes itself as "literature-based reading instruction." This kind of reading tutelage is more commonly known as the Whole Language (WL) approach. It is well established that none of the unique principles or novel practices of this approach are confirmed by relevant empirical research findings. WL teaching is not a time-effective means to develop children's reading ability. More particularly, it is not a direct, intensive, systematic, early, nor comprehensive (DISEC) type of instruction of a prearranged hierarchy of discrete reading skills and knowledge. "Reading Rainbow" may be viewed by children as attractive entertainment. It is unlikely, however, to develop many proficient readers; DISEC instruction is desperately needed in that regard.
Professor of Education Emeritus, San Diego State University, Calif.
Regarding your July 11 article "Face of an angel": The article puts forth many viewpoints that express dissatisfaction with Hollywood's placement of blacks in spiritual roles. The viewpoints also expressed dissatisfaction (understandably) with blacks placed in subservient roles. But it seems that no matter what Hollywood does, someone would not be happy. Reverse the roles. With the white guy in the "spiritual" role, the complaint might be that Hollywood is saying the black man needs the white man's guidance.
We will never be able to get beyond racial barriers if we're not willing to look past race. Let's rejoice in the quality of the films and actors, and quit trying to make a racial issue out of everything.
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