Letters

PUBLISHED : Friday, 12 September, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 12 September, 2008, 12:00am
 

Liberals' losses at the polls hurt Hong Kong

I was disappointed by the failure of the Liberal Party in the geographical constituencies in Sunday's Legislative Council election. The council, clearly, is becoming unbalanced.

All legislators must focus on grass-roots, livelihood issues in order to win seats.

In Hong Kong, those on relatively low incomes are in the majority.

It cannot be denied that low-income groups require more attention and help than others.

However, the voices of the middle class and the rich should not be ignored.

A Legislative Council that is biased towards the grass roots will not benefit Hong Kong.

The Liberal Party's failure means that the number of pro-business legislators is reduced.

The business sector has always been crucial to Hong Kong.

I am concerned that the defeat of the Liberal Party in this election will discourage businessmen from taking part in future Legco elections.

Yes, they still have seven lawmakers in the functional constituencies, but given their importance to Hong Kong's economy, they deserve more than just seven.

The new council, with most legislators inclined towards labour and against enterprise, may slow our city's economic growth and that would not be good news for working people.

The functional constituencies are essential in order to achieve the right balance in Legco.

They bring professionals to the chamber, people who care about particular sectors in Hong Kong society.

It may be that some of the functional constituencies are outdated and in need of reform, but it is still a worthwhile system. If we did away with these constituencies it would lead to a further imbalance in Legco.

As a first-time voter, I have not been impressed by most of the candidates and their short-sighted attitudes.

So many of them, in order to win votes, called on the government to give away money in the form of tax returns and subsidies.

It seems that many voters have failed to see this.

If the government keeps squandering money how are we going to get through the difficult economic times that lie ahead?

I feel that Hong Kong voters lack vision and this makes me concerned about what will happen when we have universal suffrage.

There seems to be a lack of education on how a healthy democratic system should function.

Gertrude Cheng, Fo Tan

Election 'debate' just shouting

Many political parties (if one can call them political parties) in Hong Kong keep telling us that we are all mature enough for universal suffrage.

However, the politicians who represent - or wish to represent - us appear not quite as mature when it comes to listening to others' points of view, which is to many an essential part of any democratic system.

A couple of Saturdays ago, I witnessed on television a series of shouting matches between Emily Lau Wai-hing, James Tien Pei-chun and legislator 'Long Hair' Leung Kwok-hung. Those of us who would have liked to hear their points of view were not able to.

Had the three wanted to listen to the different views expressed, they would not have been able to either, as they were all speaking over each other.

The current 'debate' system encourages them to shout out whatever they think we want to hear, while what should be in place is an understanding that there are different points of view - which should be debated calmly and graciously with carefully thought-out arguments.

Unfortunately, I did not vote on Sunday. I simply did not know what each of them represented and stood for - except for the possibility that they were all from the Hong Kong Association of Hecklers.

Arthur Tam, Causeway Bay

Urban planners let us all down

I agree with John Batten's comments ('Officials must change the way they look at urban planning', September 6).

It amazes me that, after 30 years of intensive development, different neighbourhoods manage to hang on to their own unique identities.

The Graham Street market saga is the tip of an iceberg that has made people look more closely at their local environment. Development is not negative, but the why's and where's of it usually are. Graham Street has had the publicity; other areas, which are not so fortunate, are gradually chipped away to the point of non-existence.

There is no attempt to take a holistic look at the interlinked aspects of planning heritage and conservation, which would allow these areas to flourish naturally.

Norman de Brackinghe, Pok Fu Lam

Potholes an endless hassle

I refer to the letter by C. Thomasson ('Why can't our potholes be fixed for good?', September 8), complaining about how often roads in Hong Kong are in need of repair. This is common knowledge and a source of constant irritation, with the resulting one-way traffic markers on our narrow and busy roads.

Granted, Hong Kong has a lot of rain, heavy traffic and steep slopes in many areas, but I can never understand why our roads need repairs so often. Perhaps the quality of the roadworks is poor, which would suit the contractor - who gets all that work every year.

If the job was done better, it would reduce the city's maintenance expenses and help to achieve smoother traffic flows.

There has to be a best-practices policy that operates in other, well-run cities in the world. There may even be a case for creating a small, efficient department of road research - or for joining such a body if one exists on the mainland - so that roads are made to suit Hong Kong conditions and last longer.

Finally, road 'life' standards could be set and the quality of contractors' work could be checked against them.

J. Goswami, Chung Hom Kok

Colonial plusses

I refer to the letter from Cynthia Sze ('Colonial legal system in HK was flawed', September 4).

It is quite remarkable that someone could adopt such a naive and generalised viewpoint.

What about the rule of law in Hong Kong? What about remedies such as habeas corpus?

Let's not forget the many ordinances that were introduced statutorily here before 1997 - borrowed wholesale from Britain.

Jonathan Rostron, Causeway Bay

MTR's bike joke

Do the 'courtesy' posters now gracing our subway stations mean the MTR Corporation has discovered irony?

Urging courteous behaviour on the trains, they feature a road cyclist grinning toothily from under his helmet. He would, of course, be welcome on the MTR but his helmet would be redundant because he'd have to leave his bike behind.

The MTR's masters ban the transport of bikes in the subway for as-yet unexplained reasons of safety - reasons that somehow don't apply to luggage trolleys and prams. It is a small matter that there isn't a single reported case of bicycles damaging either people or property on the MTR. Or that mass transit services overseas encourage bikes as a matter of environmental and public transport policy.

Perhaps the MTR Corp's heads find humour in simultaneously promoting and discouraging the sport. In that case, could they please share the joke with the cyclists of Hong Kong?

Ross Inglis, Causeway Bay

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