PUBLISHED : Friday, 13 July, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 13 July, 2012, 12:00am


Like it or not, C.Y. is chief executive

I watched live on television last week part of the resumed second reading of the Companies Bill in the Legislative Council chamber. I was appalled at what I saw.

While I agree that filibustering has its place in democratic politics, I consider that some restrictions should be imposed on this tactic, such as what is known as 'cloture' (closure) or a programme motion, as happens in a number of mature democracies, such as Britain, the US and Canada, so that the everyday business of lawmaking is not too adversely affected for too long.

I watched the two People's Power members, Albert Chan Wai-yip and Wong Yuk-man, and the League of Social Democrats member Leung Kwok-hung, indulging in filibustering. They appeared to have absolutely nothing to offer in connection with the bill, with their grandstanding, posturing and irrelevancies, except to waste time and delay a vote on this bill (and, consequently, on others too), and to make themselves look foolish.

I am not surprised that attendance in the Legco chamber was so low. What sensible person would want to endure so many hours of such nonsense?

Although I am a member of a pro-democracy political party, and am a fervent advocate of fairness, social justice and genuine universal suffrage for both the election of the chief executive and of the full Legislative Council by 2017 and 2020 respectively, I am saddened that the pan-democratic political parties appear to support these ridiculous delaying tactics by a minority of so-called democrats bent just on causing chaos, disruption and delay, which does not help Hong Kong or its people.

Like it or not, Hong Kong has to live with the fact that Leung Chun-ying is now our chief executive, and will be until 2017, irrespective of what we think about him, his background and recent questions about his integrity.

I strongly believe that we need to give him a chance and the benefit of the doubt, at least for the next few months until the September Legislative Council election, to see what he can do for the overall good of Hong Kong.

John Shannon, Mid-Levels

Big fuss over unauthorised structures

I refer to John Latter's letter ('Illegal is not the same as unauthorised', July 5).

I fully agree with Mr Latter that there is a huge difference between illegal structures and unauthorised building works.

The media has mistakenly branded all six structures at Chief Executive Leung Chung-ying's home on The Peak as illegal. From what I can gather, only the basement below the car park is illegal, as it resulted in a plot ratio exceeding that allowed for development of the site.

Most, if not all, of the remaining structures, are unauthorised building works. As Mr Latter pointed out, these works should have been the subject of an alterations and additions submission and approval of them obtained from the Buildings Department.

We should not judge Mr Leung so harshly for having failed to make the submission before he started the works. Often, even professionals engaged in building design ponder whether a submission is necessary, because of their minor nature. It is often a matter of judgment.

The previous owner of this property on The Peak has confirmed that he built the basement before the property was sold to Mr Leung.

If Mr Leung was genuinely not aware that the basement was illegal, there is no basis for the pan-democrats' accusation that he lied about his illegal structures.

W. K. Chan, Pok Fu Lam

China has not yet had 'renaissance'

In 1933, Hu Shih delivered a series of lectures on 'The Chinese Renaissance' in which he pointed to the freeing of thought, as he believed, in China; the new cultural creativity; the progress towards an open and law-abiding society, and so forth.

Now Alex Lo berates the Hong Kong people for failing to applaud what he calls the country's present renaissance ('Hong Kong blind to China's renaissance', July 10). But of what does he speak? Nothing that Hu Shih would recognise. Rather, he would seem to have in mind new skyscrapers, previously unimaginable wealth for party members and leaders, space explorations, the world's largest army, and journeys to the bottom of the sea. To be sure, the Chinese also have a lot of new ideas, but the government struggles mightily to prevent their expression.

It will be a renaissance when China has free media and culture, and democratic political institutions. Mr Lo should have no doubt that when that happens, the people of Hong Kong, and the world, will rejoice.

Arthur Waldron, Lauder professor of international relations, University of Pennsylvania, US

Beijing needs to assert sovereignty

Disputes over the sovereignty of several islands in the South China Sea have raised tensions among claimants including China, the Philippines and Vietnam.

A retired People's Liberation Army major has said the situation does not look optimistic ('Tougher line urged on South China Sea', July 9).

China should no longer claim its maritime sovereignty by references to historical sources but by having regular patrols in the controversial areas.

Major claimants in Manila and Hanoi, encouraged by the US, have taken actions that have tested China's tolerance. Beijing should make it clear it is running out of patience.

As a great power, China displays both 'soft' and 'hard' power against those who challenge its territories at sea.

Beijing's establishment of Sansha prefecture [to administer two island chains and an underwater atoll] is a good start to build up Chinese authority in the region. However, the central government must also send out regular patrol boats and consider deploying troops if that is deemed necessary.

Sometimes, with certain disputes, peaceful and rational diplomatic discussions do not go far enough.

China must stand up to opportunistic claimants in the South China Sea.

Vincent T. C. Tang, Tsuen Wan

Tsang's critics lack proportion

Now that Donald Tsang Yam-kuen has stepped down as the city's chief executive, I venture to suggest a brief description of his personality and performance in office. He brings to mind Winston Churchill's remarks about Sir Stafford Cripps, Britain's Labour chancellor of the exchequer from 1947 to 1950.

Donald Tsang was (and doubtless still is) an excessively pious Catholic (Churchill on Cripps: 'there but for the grace of God goes God'), an obstinate bureaucrat and an ultra-cautious politician impervious to abuse from radical elements in Legco and on the streets.

To label him corrupt is a gross exaggeration and wrong. He was at worst an opportunist guilty only of petty freeloading and occasional hypocrisy. When cataloguing his alleged sins, Hong Kong's immature political commentators need to show some restraint and develop a sense of proportion.

Of Cripps, Winston Churchill said he had 'all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire'. That will certainly not be posterity's verdict on Mr Tsang but it pretty much sums up mine.

John F. Payne, Central

Embrace HK by learning its language

I agree with some of what Beatriz Taylor said ('Why HK is not best city in the world', July 9) regarding the bemusing poll by the Economist Intelligence Unit that ours is the best city to live in.

However, Ms Taylor's remark on 'the general disdain displayed by the locals towards non-Chinese' may be just as distorted as the Best City Contest. Her comment ignores the fact that in this high-stress society where people regrettably have little time and space even for themselves, tolerance and patience are definite requirements for newcomers.

To get a better understanding or respect, learning the local language is not a bad thing to start with.

Edward Tsui, Sai Ying Pun

If you don't like the place, why stay?

In response to Beatriz Taylor's letter regarding the city's shortcomings ('Why HK is not best city in the world', July 9), I honestly question why she stays here.

I have been here for nine years because I love the place and the people. If I hated it, I would go back to Britain. Simple as that.

Warren Russell, Tseung Kwan O