PUBLISHED : Sunday, 13 May, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 13 May, 2012, 12:00am


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Raising birth rate not the solution

We have a global population of around seven billion. This is putting a massive strain on the planet's natural resources. Therefore it would be absurd and irresponsible to suggest that any government should encourage people to have more children.

Family size is a personal choice and should not be determined by any government.

In Hong Kong, we have a society that does very little for its poor, fails to address air quality and regularly discriminates against those who want to work in Hong Kong, such as mainlanders and people from Southeast Asia. So the call for people to have more children tells me more about the general lack of pragmatic thinking, ethnocentric attitudes, and woeful short-sightedness that pervades policymakers and advisers in government than it does of the administration's ability to address its constituency.

I applaud the idea of prioritising educational opportunities and better workplace conditions for Hong Kong people. No matter the family size, a government should be actively working to ensure a better quality of life for its citizenry.

Anyone with children knows that there needs to be a massive change of workplace and government attitudes to ensure a better quality of family life. Anyone without children also knows this. People don't live to work, they work to live.

The institution of family-friendly policies and workplace conditions should be examined alongside a push for a society that embraces diversity.

We have enough people on the planet. It's about where they are located and how to simultaneously integrate and open a society to improve the lives of its present and future citizens.

If Hong Kong feels it has enough resources and wherewithal to up its birth rates, then why not open its doors to the many different kinds of people who want to come here, instead of urging its current population to reproduce?

Stephanie Han, Lantau

Simple human rights challenge

I refer to Jake van der Kamp's column ('The fool's game: US, China misfire on rights and reserves', May 6).

Apparently, van der Kamp is allowed the liberty of ignoring history and the context around which the second Iraq war and the drone attack on a Yemeni doctor to which he refers (seems he must have a mole in that air force base on the prairies who fed him all the facts). Somehow, those events make it hypocritical for the US to take China to task on its human rights record.

Since he likes to keep things simple, I'd like to propose a simple human rights test. I'll go to Tiananmen Square and sit down with a poster that says 'Down with the government' and play Bob Dylan's Masters of War on my iPhone. Van der Kamp can do the same at the National Mall in Washington DC.

When we get back to Hong Kong we can write a joint article for the Back Page of the Sunday Morning Post on our mutual experiences.

Lest I forget I'd like van der Kamp to remind me of the name of the last US Nobel Prize winner who was not allowed to pick up his award.

Henry Messing, Kennedy Town

Doubts over closure of dog track

Your report on the Macau Canidrome implies that the greyhounds racing there will probably have to continue to suffer for three more years ('Canidrome to 'close within three years'', May 6).

But who knows if the folk in charge of that atrocious sport, believing that it is just a bunch of bleeding-heart gweilos making a fuss, simply hope that the matter will be forgotten in a year or so?

If indeed the Macau government is 'very conscious' of its image, why the foot-dragging on this?

Doesn't the Stanley Ho Hung-sun family, which owns the Canidrome and therefore profits from the business, care about the welfare of these dogs?

Renata Lopez, Wan Chai

Pop stars can be good role models

Many young people have a pop idol or maybe an actor they really admire.

Often when you see a rock star appear on the stage the audience goes crazy.

Some youngsters join fan clubs and buy all the CDs that the singer produces.

If it's a star from out of town then they flock to Hong Kong airport to greet them if they come here for a concert. Take, for example, the arrival of American singer Lady Gaga last month. There were hundreds of young fans at Chek Lap Kok waiting to greet her.

Many parents worry that their children might become obsessed and this could interfere with their studies.

However I don't see why it should be a problem if that star is a good and positive role model.

For example, my favourite singer is Hins Cheung King-hin. He is known to donate money to help the poor and it encourages his fans to do likewise.

As long as young fans are following good role models, parents have nothing to worry about.

Esther Liu Tsz-ching, Mong Kok

Lots of fake goods on city's streets

Justin Yau criticised Lady Gaga's remark about Hong Kong streets being lined with shops selling fake Hermes bags ('Lady Gaga's comments insulted HK', May 6).

He said this was totally incorrect and the singer owes Hong Kong an apology.

Maybe your correspondent is correct that we do not have streets lined with shops selling fake Hermes bags, but I can't walk a metre in Tsim Sha Tsui (especially Nathan Road) without being offered all kinds of counterfeit goods, be it bags, watches or clothing - just name it. And why is the nickname for a Louis Vuitton bag an 'amah bag'? It certainly is not because they are so cheap that you can afford it with the minimum wage we pay our helpers.

Jeffry Kuperus, Clear Water Bay

Losing out to Shanghai and Singapore

Hong Kong faces being overtaken by the two fastest-rising cities in Asia (perhaps the world), Shanghai and Singapore.

Compared to these two cities, Hong Kong looks inferior.

It was once renowned for its harbour but the famous views often disappear, covered by a haze caused by our air pollution. Although the government has tried to do something about this, there has been little improvement.

For example, vehicles with idling engines are still a common sight on our roads.

How can we hope to have cleaner air when laws that are passed are not enforced?

We have placed too much emphasis on our role as a financial centre.

Unlike Hong Kong, Singapore has given support to different sectors, believing the principle that variety is the key to success, and this has borne fruit.

When it comes to tourist attractions the city has not really moved forward since the handover. Two decades back, visitors would go, for example, to The Peak, Ocean Park and Ladies' Market, and now they will visit the same locations.

With severe pollution we are also losing talented professionals and failing to attract others. They will go to more competitive locations which are cleaner and which give them the support they need.

If the government doesn't take prompt action to reverse these trends, I fear for the future of this city.

Wan Yuk-lun, Sha Tin

Closing eateries was pointless

I would like to invite the government to provide one sensible reason why it felt it necessary to shut down the popular beach-side restaurants at Shek O and South Bay.

These beaches used to have vibrant eateries which catered to the weekend beach crowd and added hugely to the enjoyment of a day out in the summer.

Alas, they have now all gone and have been replaced with nothing. Premises which used to provide a valuable service now lie dormant and thriving businesses have been ruined.

Expats, tourists and locals alike populated these restaurants and all enjoyed a great al fresco dining experience.

There seems to be a government mandate to eliminate any decent outside eating areas - the wonderful new Stanley Plaza has had all the outdoor seating removed.

This petty bureaucracy is slowly eroding the quality of life in Hong Kong and it is a shame to witness.

Dan Parr, Happy Valley