Radicals a bad influence on teenagers
I am worried that some radical lawmakers, and political parties and movements in society, have had a negative influence on young people.
This is a serious problem, not only as it relates to social harmony and stability, but also in regard to the long-term development of Hong Kong politics.
I am glad that, in recent years, more teenagers have expressed their views on current political issues, such as the chief executive's illegal structures, the suspicious death of June 4 activist Li Wangyang and the setting up of moral and civic education in secondary schools.
Their contribution must be appreciated and encouraged. But some young people are being influenced by irrational and extreme ideologies. Some radical lawmakers and political parties set a bad example through different media channels and young people may not fully understand a political issue and take action without fully considering the consequences.
I always appreciate that our teenagers are concerned about the issues that affect their city, but I would not like to see them adversely affected by radical ideas that lead them to take action that proves to be irrational.
In a diverse society like Hong Kong, we must accept and tolerate different viewpoints and look at various issues in a reasonable and realistic way.
Lawmakers and political parties should recognise they have responsibilities.
They should emphasise to young people the importance of expressing their views in peaceful and responsible ways.
Vincent Tang, Tsuen Wan
MTR took swift action on complaint
We would like to thank Juliana Chau for her letter ('Long wait for MTR's poor response', June 25), regarding the handling of her inquiry on noise from works being carried out at the MTR Corporation's Chai Wan depot last month.
To maintain and ensure safe and smooth running of the railway, welding and other works are conducted at depots.
Noise levels are closely monitored to ensure they stay within permitted limits.
The noise at Chai Wan depot was caused by welding works and after receiving the inquiry, immediate action was taken to check the noise level, which was confirmed to be within permitted limits. Further measures were also taken to reduce noise levels by using a canvas sheet to cover the works area.
MTR hotline staff received calls from a Heng Fa Chuen resident about the noise on the mornings of June 5 and 6, but the resident did not leave a phone number for staff to call back to provide updates on their findings. Nevertheless, staff did immediately refer the case to the relevant department for follow up.
On June 7, Heng Fa Chuen Estate management office referred a similar inquiry to the hotline.
Staff called the resident on the same day to explain the works being done and that they were due to be completed on June 8. Prior to June 7, the estate management office had already contacted the depot to pass on the resident's comments and had contacted the resident afterwards with information about the works.
Our findings indicate the MTR hotline and estate management office had responded immediately to the different inquiries and the depot followed up quickly. Indeed, the staff members concerned from all the work units involved say they tried their best to offer assistance to the resident.
We apologise for any inconvenience this matter has caused. In the meantime, we will continue to pay close attention to the noise generated by works in the depot.
Kendrew Wong, media relations manager, MTR Corporation
Imperial past had many dark periods
I refer to Ray Peacock's letter ('Many died to defend free speech', June 29).
While I salute the bravery of those who 'fought and died' in Hong Kong, Britain was attempting to defend its colonial interests.
Mr Peacock seems to miss the point of Cynthia Sze's letter in which she discussed the irrelevance of Queen Elizabeth in Hong Kong 15 years after the handover and the need for an apology for imperial crimes ('Dark history of imperial exploitation', June 25).
There are many dark periods in British imperial history; opium distribution in China, Irish famine and the Bengal famine, to name a few.
Mr Peacock would do well to research these topics to allow a greater understanding of the basis for opinions against imperialism, past or present.
Phillip J. Walker, Wan Chai
Contrast with mainland is stark
I refer to the letter from Cynthia Sze ('Dark history of imperial exploitation', June 25).
Hong Kong is indeed in a good position since the handover, though 'better' is arguable.
The reason for that good position is the system that was handed over peacefully in July 1997 - the rule of law; freedom of speech and assembly; a competent and uncorrupt government. All these are in stark contrast with the mainland.
I studied Chinese and worked in China in the early 1970s and have personal experience of the stark differences between the mainland and Hong Kong.
Many of these still exist, corruption and abuse of power the chief among them.
Ms Sze says Hong Kong people 'keep annual vigil for June 4'. Yes indeed, but try doing that in Beijing, Ms Sze, and see how long it is before you're tossed in jail by 'China's able government'.
The history of British imperialism is not blemish free, a fact fully recognised by the British themselves, who carry out constant self-criticism of their imperial past. But it is nonsense to note only the 'atrocities' of 'imperial exploitation', without also noting that, in the case of Hong Kong, our good position is based on principles of government and civil society instituted by Britain.
Queen Elizabeth has nothing to apologise for.
Peter Forsythe, Discovery Bay
Incentives needed to start a family
In order to raise the birth rate in Hong Kong, the government needs to find out why more young people are deciding not to start a family.
Rising prices have led to flats being unaffordable for most people from the post-1980s generation.
If the government could deal with the city's housing problems, this would create a bigger incentive to have a child.
The administration also has to pass legislation allowing new fathers to take paternity leave. This would allow the husband to spend more time with his wife.
There clearly are effective measures that can be taken by the government to deal with the problem of a low birth rate.
Nancy Siu, Sha Tin