PUBLISHED : Thursday, 19 July, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 19 July, 2012, 12:00am


Interfering in religious life of church

I refer to the letter from Lai Shing-kin ('Church right to ordain own bishops', July 14) which asserts that unapproved episcopal ordinations in China should not be treated as a sin.

The letter describes the papacy's efforts throughout history to maintain the unity of the church by approving the ordination of bishops. All too often, secular power interfered in this role and some courageous martyrs gave their lives for the autonomy of the church.

It is, then, quite surprising that a Hong Kong resident who has studied history and who should be a critic of totalitarian states would grant an atheistic party the right to nominate a bishop. Catholics on the mainland cannot choose their bishop or offer his name to the Holy See because the Catholic Patriotic Association, a tool of the Communist Party, has usurped that role.

No wonder the Vatican opposes this violation and interference in the religious life of the church. Why should we give atheists the right to control religion, something they reject and wish to destroy?

Fortunately, religious faith is more lasting than oppression.

Some day, the many loyal, courageous and patriotic believers in China will rejoice when all their bishops are blessed by Peter's successor. If your correspondent has studied scripture, he will know that 'Peter' means rock, whereas mainland politics reminds one of sand.

J. Garner, Sham Shui Po

Robust plan to ensure water supply

We thank Su Liu, of Civic Exchange, for her letter ('To avoid a future crisis, Hong Kong needs to come up with a water plan', July 7).

We agree water is a precious natural resource, and although our forecast water demand can be met by the current water supply arrangement, we must plan ahead for possible variations in demand and supply.

In this regard the government promulgated a comprehensive strategic plan - the Total Water Management strategy - in 2008, to manage all aspects of our water resources.

It emphasises the need to prepare for uncertainties in supply and to contain water demand through conservation using an integrated, multi-sectoral and sustainable approach.

The key initiatives include two core sections. First, we aim to enhance public education in water conservation through activities such as school talks and school water audits, and through initiatives such as the Water Conservation Ambassadors Selection Scheme. Similarly, we will promote the use of water-saving devices via the Water Efficiency Labelling Scheme.

In infrastructural terms we are reducing water leakage by replacing and repairing old water mains and the application of new technology. We are also planning an extension of the salt water flushing supply system.

Second, to better prepare Hong Kong for possible supply problems resulting from climate change or low rainfall, we have developed the Water Supply Management programme.

We are also examining alternative potable water sources such as sea water desalination, water reclamation from treated effluent, recycled grey water - and harvested rainwater for non-potable uses. In short, Total Water Management is a robust strategy ensuring the sustainable use of our precious water resources in meeting the community's needs up to 2030 and beyond.

Its implementation will be kept under regular review against projected results, and measures will be strengthened as and when required to meet new challenges.

Gabriel Pang, senior engineer/public relations, Water Supplies Department

Lamma faces renewed threat

Christine Loh has got it right again - nature is one of Hong Kong's greatest assets ('Nature's riches', July 13).

So why are government departments allowing plans for the despoliation of South Lamma to rise from the dead? In support of Baroque on Lamma, an 'environmental consultancy' wants to drill and excavate more than 40 sites there in the coming months for an 'archaeological survey' bizarrely authorised by the Antiquities and Monuments Office.

The Town Planning Department rejected the entire Baroque on Lamma development proposal in December 2011; 50 per cent of the digging and drilling will be done on public land zoned conservation area and coastal protection area, according to documents provided by the Lands Department.

Is the Town Planning Department decision irrelevant for other departments? Can zoning regulations issued by one department be disregarded by another? An original concept of 'planning process' indeed.

Martin Bode, Wan Chai

Bombing tragedies not forgotten

I was shocked and frankly disgusted to read the comments attributed to Kwok Hing-lau ('Hong Kong on the brink', July 12). When referring to the 1967 riots, he is reported as saying that 'planting bombs was a correct and righteous strategy'.

He went on to say that bomb 'attacks unavoidably affected the life on ordinary people, but the impact was not that big'.

If Mr Kwok, like myself, had helped to bury his best friend who was killed by a bomb on November 5, 1967, while escorting the governor, he would not make such outrageous statements.

Would he be of the same opinion if he was the father of two-year-old boy Wong Siu-fun and his eight-year-old sister Wong Yee-man, who, on August 20 that year, were killed by a bomb that they had picked up and started to play with in the street? It was an incident that was described in the South China Morning Post as the 'most dastardly communist-inspired act to date'. No, I am afraid there are just too many of us still living in Hong Kong that recall these and many other incidents.

We will not forget and forgive those responsible and their compatriots, some of whom are now very respected members of our society.

John Wilson, Yau Ma Tei

Critical look at Canada's bilingualism

I refer to the letter from Jean-Christian Brillant, of the Canadian consulate ('Bilingualism is a Canadian success story', July 14).

I would invite Mr Brillant to take a more critical look at the so-called success of Canadian bilingualism, for he has failed to distinguish between official and personal bilingualism.

According to Statistics Canada, for example, nearly 95 per cent of Quebecers can speak French, but only 40.6 per cent speak English.

In the rest of the country, 97.6 per cent of the population is capable of speaking English, but only 7.5 per cent can speak French.

One way or another, francophones in Canada are driven to be bilingual not because of government policy per se but because of economic reality; the United States is Canada's neighbour.

However Mr Brillant was correct to point out that Canadian bilingualism is based on tolerance, meaning that it is not based on acceptance.

Arguably if Quebec didn't threaten to separate, Canada's official bilingualism probably wouldn't have existed. So it has now become an inconvenient burden of history which the government has to continue to justify.

Closely related to, but not a direct result of Canadian bilingualism is the fact that students from francophone countries around the world can study at Quebec universities paying 50 per cent less tuition fees than students from other Canadian provinces.

This, for all intents and purposes, is explicitly discriminatory against Canada's anglophone provinces and students no matter how one looks at it.

If Canadian bilingualism represents success, then I wonder how Mr Brillant would define failure.

C. W. Chung, North Point

March claims raise issues of integrity

The pan-democrats claimed that the turnout at the July 1 march was 400,000. Yet even a pro-democrat academic estimated it was only around 100,000.

All Hong Kong citizens should decide which political group they should focus on when it comes to questions of integrity.

Hong Kong has been successful over the past 150 years, because we were able to isolate ourselves from mainland politics.

We should stay on this course and not allow ourselves to be manipulated by those members of Legco who wish to stir up conflicts.

S. Yam, North Point