Our world would do well to learn from one-child policy
I read with interest the excerpt from the book China Road in Post Magazine (July 1).
In it, the author encounters a family planning official whose job it is to enforce the one-child policy. While the author was aghast, I think Beijing deserves some credit for having introduced such a controversial policy.
No doubt the more brutal aspects of forced abortion should be outlawed and we must bear in mind the government insists on the policy for the benefit of the Communist Party rather than humanity, but the world would do well to learn from the Chinese experience.
The overriding motivation of animal species is the urge to procreate. Unfortunately, there has been no mechanism to prevent species from becoming too successful for their own good, until now. Human intelligence suppressing the urge to breed manifests itself in advanced societies as women forgoing a family to have a career, and on the mainland as the one-child policy.
As the world's woes increasingly become more acute under a crush of humanity, we could one day view women who have multiple births as people who give in to their natural urges to the detriment of society.
Brian Hart, Sai Kung
Private sector should review payment system
What the anticipated civil-service pay rise highlights is that the private sector has been very uneven in rewarding its workers during this four-year economic recovery.
Some workers have seen substantial salary increases; some have seen salary increases at lower rates than those proposed for civil servants; some have seen nothing at all; and a select few have seen their rewards go through the roof.
Private employers can keep focusing the public's attention on the generous pay and perks that civil servants get, but they cannot fully hide the fact that many of their own workers are far from happy with their lot, especially those who have seen little or none of the profits they have helped generate over the past four years. If the pay rise passes, businesses can always deny their workers' requests for comparable raises; what they cannot prevent is some of their workers bolting for better-paying positions - in the civil service, perhaps.
Since private employers like to espouse competition they should have no problem competing to attract or retain those workers they believe to be best for them. Some may also want to review the compensation they give their top executives and see if their performances are commensurate with their pay packages.
Chohong Choi, Kwun Tong
Bible provides no absolute standards
Can I remind Karen Rees ('A better world, if we scrapped all religion?', June 24) that Christianity has not provided a fixed moral standard.
For much of the past 2,000 years, 'good Christians' have kept slaves and tortured and killed 'heretics'. The differences between then and now in what was morally acceptable on less violent matters are also profound: women were the property of their husbands; some races were seen as inherently inferior; education was restricted by race and sex; and the immorality of usury was the plot foundation of Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice - do you have credit cards?
Were respected members of those communities really reading the same book that forms the foundation of Ms Rees morality? The Bible can, and has, been interpreted in many ways, so it provides no absolute moral standard as Ms Rees imagines. She asks for a moral standard to condemn the atheist Joseph Stalin as though being an atheist makes someone a mass murderer. Perhaps we should also recall Stalin's contemporary, Pope Pius XII, who refused to take a stand against Hitler. For a positive approach, take a look at the doctrine of Utilitarianism and the principle of 'the greatest happiness of the greatest number', advocated by Jeremy Bentham, or the writings of many other moral philosophers and thinkers such as Bertrand Russell and George Bernard Shaw.
Allan Dyer, Wong Chuk Hang
Some not-so-Christian venom in letter's tail
While Karen Rees ('A better world, if we scrapped all religion?', June 24) claims the moral high ground, there is some not-so-Christian venom in the tail of her letter where she claims that atheists have no moral standards because they don't have religion to guide them. However, what I see in the news every day is that religious people - both within and between religions - seem to agree on very few moral issues and that intolerance and aggression towards 'infidels' is rampant. Unfortunately, that's what you get when people stop thinking for themselves and, instead, base their judgment on what's written in ancient books.
Josephine Bersee, Mid-Levels
Time to get tough with smoke-belching buses
I would like to ask the transport department and the police what measures they are taking against polluting vehicles.
Everyday, I see numerous buses and heavy vehicles belching out black smoke.
How can such vehicles be allowed on the road?
All I have to do is to stand at Pedder Street during lunchtime and I can count no less than five buses spewing black smoke in the time it takes for the pedestrian crossing to turn green.
Shouldn't these vehicles be fined and taken off the road until they are fixed?
Why do the police not monitor the situation?
I have seen police on motorbikes pass these vehicles and not do anything about it.
Please check it out for yourself. Stand at a crossing and just count (and hopefully fine as well) the number of buses that produce black smoke.
E. Lee, Central
Envoy job spoiled by a prejudice of choices
Tony Blair has become peace envoy to the Middle East.
Those who proposed him did so because they say he is a trusted, reliable, fair and honest man.
I doubt most sincerely that any citizen, not just of the Middle East but anywhere in the Muslim world, would regard him as such; more like merely a stooge to George W. Bush, as do many of my friends in England.
Why don't these giants of international diplomacy and so called seekers of peace ask Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, of Iran, to take on the role, for he, like Mr Blair, is just as prejudiced?
Bob Beadman, Tsuen Wan
Hong Kong's 'real' silent majority
Queen's Pier staying where it is, is a pier, otherwise it is a 'Queen's Museum'.
Collective memory and historical heritage value have already been talked about from time to time. Does our government opt for turning a deaf ear?
In the eyes of the government, preservation is not a priority. Pretending to have consultation is a good tactic to score political points. After that, it can tell the public the majority think development outweighs preservation. What a joke.
Hong Kong's citizens oppose the reclamation and pulling down of the pier.
Why doesn't our government reclaim the whole harbour? As we all know, transport fees in Hong Kong are quite high. If Hong Kong Island is completely linked to Kowloon, transport fees will fall dramatically. Those in remote areas, I'm sure, will support this proposal.
As a consequence, the 'real' majority will agree with the government again. Who dares to oppose any more?
Tai kwun-kit, Sheung Shui