PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 18 July, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 18 July, 2012, 12:00am


Material for course must be objective

The government-funded national-education teaching handbooks and exchange groups have proved controversial.

They have been criticised as being tantamount to brainwashing. Critics say students could be asked to accept all aspects of life and politics in China, including contentious issues like June 4, 1989 and the death of activist Li Wangyang .

Some students who joined exchange groups to Beijing admitted that the low cost of the trip was the only reason they went along.

They said that the teachers there delivered eulogies about China and its accomplishments compared to other nations.

I understand that China has a long history and there are many values that we should appreciate. But we should also look at the flaws and recognise the need for improvements.

The scandal of tainted milk stunned the world and then there were the badly constructed buildings in Sichuan during the earthquake.

It will be crucial that in this new national education course in Hong Kong schools, all relevant issues must be examined objectively.

Publishers of material for this course should tell the truth and seek to be impartial.

The material provided should give students the opportunity to reflect on these issues and reach their own conclusions.

Daniel Hui Yin-hang, Sha Tin

Beret gives uniforms a French look

It can come as little surprise that clothes made in China are commonly worn all over the world, no matter what foreign brand logo may appear on them.

The apparent outrage in some quarters that the US Olympic team will be wearing Chinese-made outfits is doubtless an expression of American patriotic irritation that their team members should be so attired ('US legislators fume over Chinese-made Games outfits', July 14).

But these Ralph Lauren US team uniforms are topped off with a very French-looking beret.

There is nothing American about that.

And as further evidence of the crass commercialism in the whole matter (and that commercialism going strongly against the original spirit of the Olympics), how surprising it is that Lauren's jackets have on their breast pockets not the American eagle or the US flag, but, instead, his Ralph Lauren Polo logo.

Whatever they all wear (and in the original Olympics they wore nothing at all), the best of luck to all the Olympic and Paralympic competitors from around the world in these coming London Games.

Paul Surtees, Mid-Levels

C.Y. gets no honeymoon period

The people of Hong Kong have faced the ups and downs of the 1998 financial crisis, severe acute respiratory syndrome in 2003 and the financial turmoil of 2008 to 2009.

I wonder how Leung Chun-ying, as chief executive, will help lead us out of our present problems.

His government now faces a crisis of integrity.

He must tackle Hong Kong's housing crisis and find ways to reduce the gap between rich and poor. His performance will be closely monitored by legislative councillors.

The large march on July 1 should be seen as a clear warning to C.Y. Leung's government.

If any doubts are raised about the people of Hong Kong being able to vote for their chief executive in 2017, this will lead to even greater political conflict and we could see more people emigrating.

This is what happened in 1984 after the Joint Declaration.

Some people are asking if C.Y. will protect the core value of Hong Kong.

This core value was damaged because of the problems surrounding the last chief executive, Donald Tsang Yam-kuen.

He carried out his functions in a dutiful way, but that was not good enough.

Under the 'one country, two systems' formula Hong Kong people are still able to express their views and enjoy the freedom of speech. But that freedom does not extend beyond the border and has made no significant impact on the mainland.

While it was a British colony that core value - the separation of power of the legislature, executive and judiciary - was upheld.

Hong Kong enjoyed political stability before the handover in 1997. The various political parties had only marginal influence with the governor appointed from Britain.

Since then these parties have revealed their lack of experience. They have not moved forward and developed, in contrast to the political groupings in Taiwan.

Given this situation how can Hong Kong turn out to be a successful role model under 'one country, two systems' for Taiwan to follow?

It seems that in Hong Kong, in his relationship with the different political parties in Legco, C.Y. is not going to enjoy a honeymoon period.

The members of these parties are already gearing up for the Legislative Council election in September.

I wonder how long C.Y. will enjoy the support of the man in the street.

Baldwin Lo, Yau Ma Tei

Make good on election promises

The saga of illegal structures at the home of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has resulted in public doubts about his integrity.

And the recent resignation of secretary for development Mak Chai-kwong over the possible abuse of a civil service rent subsidy scheme has further undermined the government's credibility.

It adds to the woes of Leung's already embattled office.

Given that he faces a credibility crisis, there is one thing the chief executive can do if he wants to restore public confidence. He can ensure that he delivers on his electoral promises. Also, he and his ministers must humbly listen to the opinions of others, including the voices of opposition which he heard in his town hall meetings.

It will be important for him to give a good performance during his policy address in October. If he does not, he will face public outrage and a more serious political crisis.

Zac Chan, Tsz Wan Shan

Comparison with Jobs inaccurate

Exco member Franklin Lam Fan-keung compares the quagmire that the new chief executive finds himself in with the situation facing Steve Jobs when he returned to the helm at Apple ('Leung can rebound from his 'bad start'', July 15).

Does Mr Lam really think Steve Jobs faced with the task of sorting out a company which had been performing poorly is the same as Leung Chun-ying having 'illegal structures' and not being forthcoming about this during the chief executive election campaign?

Peter Ng, Auckland, New Zealand