PUBLISHED : Sunday, 21 December, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 21 December, 2003, 12:00am

Visa mystery

I refer to your article headlined 'Work visa denied to hockey coach' (December 13) regarding the denial of a work visa by the director of immigration to a reputable and talented Pakistani hockey coach.

The sponsor expressed concern that the refusal letter gave the grounds as being that he lacked a special skill, knowledge or experience that was of value to Hong Kong.

I can well understand why they are mystified at this given that the applicant does indeed possess experience and skills as a hockey player and coach at national level.

They should, however, not be mystified because that refusal letter is a standard-format wording used by the Immigration Department in all work visa refusals regardless of the real reason.

If the applicant and sponsor want illumination on the true reasoning behind the refusal they can apply under the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance for a copy of the Immigration Department's internal case-file minutes, which will show what really went on in the decision-making process.

A. NATTRASS, chairman, Hong Kong Human Rights Foundation

Foreign insight

While I don't pretend to be qualified linguistically to act as a referee in the ongoing debate about the way in which modern Cantonese is pronounced, I note with concern the entry of a slightly jingoistic tone.

Rupert Chan asks Hugh Tyrwhitt-Drake 'not to be cavalier with other people's language'. It may be many years since I took my degree in English literature, and I'm afraid I may have shown little interest in the one compulsory course on linguistics that I was compelled to take, but one thing my lecturer said stood out, so much so, that I remember it still today.

Reflecting on the fact that the person referred to as the father of English linguistics, Otto Jespersen, was not in fact a native speaker of the language, but a Dane, my lecturer said it was the very insight that he was able to bring to the study of English as a foreigner that made Jespersen outstanding and enabled him to produce one of the finest grammars of the English language.

ANDREW STEPHEN, Jardine's Lookout