Unique opportunity must be grasped

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 05 January, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 05 January, 2002, 12:00am

I refer to the letter from Harry Q. Z. Chen headlined 'Special visa would take jobs from locals' (South China Morning Post, December 31), replying to my letter of December 20.

I suggested that special one-year working visas should be issued to attract young people from abroad to Hong Kong. Mr Chen feared such a scheme would take jobs away from Hong Kong people. It is a shame he feels an educated tri-lingual university graduate from Hong Kong cannot compete with someone from the lowest rung of the UK workforce.

This is a sad indictment by Mr Chen on the future generation of Hong Kong workers, as well as the perceived quality of a Hong Kong education.

Even during periods of severe economic recession, the UK has had an open-door approach to temporary work visas for young people from some Commonwealth nations.

This is one of the many reasons London is an exciting and international city much like Tung Chee-hwa envisions for Hong Kong.

It has been shown that an influx of people from a diversity of countries helps the economic, social and cultural life of a nation. These are attributes needed in Hong Kong.

Regarding Mr Chen's call for more visas for mainland citizens, this is already taking place. However, does the future of the SAR only lie with the mainland?

We in Hong Kong are in a unique position in Asia to attract the youth of the world to interact in a positive way.

Let us show the courage to grasp this opportunity before it slips away and we slide into oblivion.