PUBLISHED : Sunday, 13 April, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 13 April, 2008, 12:00am

NGOs face constant uphill struggle to get enough money

The increasing number of pet owners in Hong Kong testifies to the benefits and joy that pets can bring people and enrich their lives.

Dogs and cats not only make good companions for people; their obedience, duty-consciousness and tolerance also offer educational opportunities for young children. The high level of intelligence of man's best friend is often awe-inspiring. Taking these qualities together, pets can produce therapeutic effects on lonely, depressed individuals.

In Hong Kong, members of Doctor Pet and Doctor Dog regularly visit homes for the aged, hospitals, institutions for the mentally handicapped and schools, to cheer people up. Many of these people never had the chance to keep pets. With the help of these organisations they can come into close contact with animals. A friendly handshake, a heart-warming kiss and acrobatic acts performed by the dogs - such precious moments light up the lives of many unfortunate people.

Like a lot of non-governmental organisations, Doctor Pet and Doctor Dog are run by volunteers using private donations. The NGOs in Hong Kong face an uphill battle. They need financial and administrative support to recruit members, arrange visits, provide transport and organise promotional events.

Without adequate manpower and resources, it is unlikely that the NGOs could continue to provide their invaluable service to the community much longer. Much has been said about the need to improve the quality of life of the elderly and the needy.

Here is a worthy cause for the government, businesses and the public to pursue: supporting the good efforts of 'doctor' pets in building a caring community.

Patsy Leung, Mid-Levels

Promises to citizens have not been kept

Your editorial ('Protesters' behaviour sullies their message', April 8), condemned the protesters for going too far by trying to sabotage the Olympic Games torch relay.

You said mixing politics with sports is not in the spirit of the Games.

The protesters' actions have been disruptive, but I think that was their intention. However, had the Chinese government listened to the views of its own people, it is unlikely we would have seen such furious protests.

The Chinese government's strategy towards protest and people's demands seems to be suppression.

This is a knee-jerk reaction.

The recent riots in Tibet, the uprising in 1959 and the Tiananmen crackdown in 1989 all ended up with bloodshed. Second, it was the Chinese government that decided to mix politics with sport. Didn't China make various promises, offering greater freedoms to its people if it were given the Games?

It said there would be free reporting during the event and it would allow its citizens to browse Wikipedia as a gesture that it was loosening its grip.

To what extent are these promises related to sports? If these are not political agendas, what are they?

Wilson Siu, Ma On Shan

Speaker made instant judgment on Tibet

I take the point raised by Glenn Berkey, chairman of American Democrats Abroad, Hong Kong ('Democrats trying to right Bush's wrongs', April 6), in reply to my letter ('US Speaker has no moral high ground', March 30).

He said US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has spoken out against the 'heinous acts' of President George W. Bush, and I was happy when her party won the elections for both houses.

What irks me about Mrs Pelosi is her long-standing bias against China, about which she probably knows very little, not having lived there, I believe. Her judgment on who was right or wrong in the recent rioting in Tibet could have been based only on prejudice. A number of stories have been disproved, such as the rumour that Chinese soldiers were wearing monks' clothing to join in the looting and killing. Mrs Pelosi should learn to be fair and diplomatic in her relations with other countries and not make instant judgments.

The remarks of Graig Gibson ('Claims of torture in US are unfounded', April 6), were unreasonable. He claims there has been killing, no torture, no rendition, no wrongful imprisonment by Americans. He cannot be serious. He also misnamed the tortured persons 'terrorists', even though the people to whom I referred have in some cases been in prison for five years, and still await a trial.

I have many good American friends, and one of them said recently that he had never called Mr Bush president, because he did not actually win the 2000 election.

Mrs Pelosi might take a good look at the shortcomings of right-wing Americans and find ways of changing them. Then she could allow the Chinese to deal with their own shortcomings and not lord it over them without understanding their culture.

Elsie Tu, Kwun Tong

Some helpers treated very badly in HK

The more domestic helpers I chat with, the more disillusioned with Hong Kong people and the government I become.

I hear stories of helpers having to sleep on kitchen floors, not being allowed breakfast, having to be home by 9pm on their one day off, and having to sort out and send three kids to school whilst idle parents lie selfishly in bed.

I have been told of contracts purposefully not being renewed when the fourth year comes along for fear of paying a bonus to someone who has looked after and loved a child like one of their own.

Hong Kong's government should be ashamed of standing back and allowing its citizens to abuse fellow human beings in such despicable and underhand ways.

The hours they work are inhumane: from six or seven in the morning till gone midnight, six days a week.

Imagine if ParknShop employees or Hong Kong's tradesmen were forced to work such hours.

There would be an outcry; we would see rioting.

Imagine if a factory manager told an employee he had to supervise three machines and get the same salary as someone who only had to supervise one.

It is preposterous and exploitative, and something needs to be done to protect the rights of these marginalised, hard-working women.

I can only hope that one day soon the Philippines and Indonesia can provide their people with employment and sustainable salaries.

If they ever do, watch out Hong Kong.

History has a tendency of repeating itself. Remember the Roman Empire.

Roger Shuttleworth, Tseung Kwan O

Seeking advice over Oasis tickets

I am only one of the Oasis passengers who has had their hopes of a happy time with family overseas dashed by the demise of Oasis Airlines.

This would not be so bad if we had any idea how to reclaim the money that we paid over in good faith.

I was to leave Hong Kong for the UK April 25 and return on July 7.

The cost for a business class ticket was HK$21,776.

This letter is in the nature of a plea to any of your readers, who are privy to the ways of this wicked world, to suggest to this old lady of 80 and the many other Oasis passengers of younger vintage, ways in which we could set about getting our money back.

I have read, for example, that the credit companies are responsible for the debt incurred and so it is incumbent upon them to reimburse their credit card customers.

I have also read that one should contact the liquidators and set our situation before them.

Is there any help out there?

Helen Heron, Sai Kung