In response to Jonathan Zimmerman's Sept. 6 Opinion piece, "Beware China's role in US Chinese classes": There is no worse analogy than that of comparing the US Advanced Placement Chinese program with Mussolini's promotion of Italian-language instruction in American schools. I do not intend to endorse the newly introduced AP course, which is offered in my international school, but it is nothing close to what Mr. Zimmerman states.
The College Board, not the Chinese government, has first decided to offer this course and exam; moreover, the board ultimately decides the course curriculum. There is nothing wrong with having a Chinese educational board involved in the decisionmaking process; in fact, its involvement would only enhance the course content. After all, the name of the course – Chinese Language and Culture – is a misnomer, since the class mainly focuses on language. Remember, it is not a history course.
Peter Jong Woo Jeong
Regarding the Sept. 6 article, "Latest antiporn target: hotel-room TV": Do the people who are running this latest antiporn campaign really have that much free time in a day? Maybe they could turn their free time into something more useful – like helping the poor and sick. Instead, it seems that all they want to do is stick their noses in everyone else's business.
I may not approve of or condone watching "adult" entertainment, but whether or not someone else wants to watch – it's really rather simple: Either tune in to the channel, or don't. Every "moralist" these days seems to be only looking for ways to restrict the freedoms of others, even for things that have no bearing on them personally. We as a community should be concentrating our efforts on doing things to uplift and inspire people, not to stifle and divide them.
Regarding the Sept. 5 article, " 'Croc hunter' Irwin's wild touch": Stating that Steve Irwin dangled his son in front of the jaws of a croc isn't true. He was starting his son at an early age to be close to these animals, as Steve's own father had done for him. Steve was an everyman, and he taught millions of people to love animals more. He believed that we were educable, and he proved right. He didn't talk down to his audience. He took joy in our learning to respect the role of animals in our shared world.
He was also a first-rate scientist. He hired many top scientists over the years, and his former employees agree that he was good for wildlife science.
He did a lot for Australia. If any Aussies were embarrassed by him, they should be ashamed. He was a marvelous person with a good heart, a good family man, a scientist, and an educator. He made a huge difference in the world. The world's animals are safer now because of him, and I'm sure he would be proud of the legacy he's left behind.
Las Cruces, N.M.
Regarding Alexander Belenky and Richard C. Larson's Sept. 12 Opinion piece, "Voting shouldn't require a heroic act of patience": Great piece! Kudos for printing what the mainstream media seems afraid to print or won't print. America needs to clean up the voting process so we know our votes count for something and elections can't be swung by strong-arm tactics of any political party.
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