Letters

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 15 February, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 15 February, 2009, 12:00am
 

Canada's change of citizenship rules makes perfect sense

I refer to the report ('Canadian expats fear citizenship changes', February 8).

Like Andrew Work I am an expatriate Canadian living in Hong Kong. And like Mr Work, I have had children born in Hong Kong. However, unlike Mr Work, I do not have a problem with the proposed legislation of denying Canadian citizenship to my grandchildren if they are not born in Canada.

I was born in Canada, grew up and went to school there, paid taxes, contributed to the community and took part in the political system. However, since moving to Hong Kong, I no longer pay Canadian taxes nor go about my daily life there.

While I retain my cultural heritage and roots, and have also passed many Canadian traditions to my children, they are also influenced by their environment, Hong Kong. If I wished my children to be totally, 'only and always Canadian', then I would choose to live there.

Instead I value the multiculturalism Hong Kong has to offer and therefore am willing to possibly pay the price of Canadian citizenship for my grandchildren.

It takes more to be a Canadian citizen than just buying a passport, memorising some Canadian songs or knowing maple syrup goes on pancakes.

What I find most interesting is the hypocrisy of people who have been given the honour of holding a Canadian passport alongside another passport.

For me to be able to have a Hong Kong passport, I would have to give up my Canadian one as did Allan Zeman.

This law is not new to the rest of the world, as I believe the situation is similar in Britain. Canada is finally saying enough. For example, the evacuation of 15,000 residents of Lebanon cost of C$85 million (HK$529.7 million).

The reasons for the proposed changes are valid including 'to strengthen the value of Canadian citizenship' and to catch people who have 'no ties' or more importantly 'no interest' in Canada. It is not meant to deny anyone the right to have citizenship as long as they are born there. If, as a Canadian citizen, you value the country so much, then you should make this country your home. To be able to give my children Canadian citizenship is a gift, not a right.

When they grow up and choose to live in Canada then they will be able to give Canadian citizenship to their children. And that is the way it should be.

L. Walsh, Chung Hom Kok

People should earn right to a passport

I refer to the report ('Canadian expats fear citizenship changes', February 8). People living in Hong Kong are complaining that they might lose out with the new rules [no longer allowing second-generation expatriates to automatically pass on Canadian citizenship to children born or adopted outside Canada].

People should earn the right to be a citizen. You want to be Canadian, then live or work in Canada. If you stay out of the country for a long time, then you should lose your rights.

I know I am being a bit harsh, but I visit the city a lot and I find that some people living in Hong Kong complain about everything.

Richard Cook, Los Angeles, California, US

Graffiti vandalism is part of urban decay

I refer to your editorial on graffiti in Hong Kong ('Graffiti blurs line between art and vandalism', February 1). Graffiti is vandalism, as it involves the destruction of property.

It is also anti-social. In communities ridden with graffiti, it is usually equated with urban decay - poverty, violence, drugs, and municipal paralysis. I do not understand why you would talk about art and creativity in connection with graffiti, almost as if it is a fashion statement and Hong Kong should not be left behind.

Graffiti vandalism is part of the urban criminal landscape. Just look at New York. The popular mayor Rudolph Giuliani is credited with saving the city from decades of urban decay and crimes by again cracking down on what were called 'lifestyle crimes'. These included graffiti, vandalism, jumping (not paying) transport fares, urinating in the streets, petty theft and public drunkenness.

The prevailing criminology theories then had been calling for police resources to focus only on serious crimes such as murder and robbery. In New York's urban renewal and the anti-crime campaign, if graffiti appeared in public facilities or subway trains, it was painted over the next day. Clean public spaces regained New Yorkers' sense of civil pride and security. And it also turned out many offenders arrested for these petty misdemeanours and crimes were also serious criminals on the wanted list.

Hong Kong is a safe, clean and vibrant city. There is no need for it to be a victim of the viral graffiti vandalism and the downward spiral of urban decay that New York suffered for decades.

S. H. Peng, Central

Serious moral qualms about IVF treatment

I wish to comment on the case of octuplet mother Nadya Suleman. Genetic science has great potential for either serving or degrading humanity.

Its proper use requires moral reflection and the establishment of moral limits.

Human welfare does not demand that scientists pursue every avenue available.

Science has confirmed with objective certainty that full human life begins at conception with the formation of a genetically complete, self-directing human entity, the embryo.

Reproductive technologies such as in vitro fertilisation are morally problematic because they are used to produce embryos in the laboratory where they can be observed and manipulated.

Here, a relationship of domination of researchers over their embryonic subjects exists which not only opens the door to new threats against life but is contrary to the dignity and equality that must be common to parents and children.

Human beings are not raw materials that can be exploited or commodities that can be bought and sold.

If a man takes on the power to fabricate man, he also takes on the power to destroy him.

The human being has the right to be generated, not produced, to come to life not in virtue of an artificial process but of a human act in the full sense of the term: the union between a man and a woman.

Paul Kokoski, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Punctuation important part of English

Councillor Martin Mullaney of Birmingham City Council ('English City puts a full stop to apostrophes', February 1) and, it would appear, the majority of his fellow councillors are wrong to [drop apostrophes from all the city's street signs].

This sort of nonsense can arise only as a result of a lack of appreciation for what should be their native language.

Punctuation is an important part of English and, when omitted or used incorrectly, can drastically change the meaning of the written language.

Rather than be influenced by the ignorance of these councillors I would urge anyone who does not understand how to use punctuation to read Eats Shoots and Leaves, by Lynne Truss; it is available in Hong Kong's excellent library system.

Peter Robertson, Sai Kung

Count your blessings

For months we have listened to the woes of people bemoaning their fate as their investments have failed and they have 'lost everything'.

Perhaps these people should look into the eyes of the victims of Australia's tragic fires for in their reflection they will see the true cost of having lost everything.

Mark Peaker, The Peak

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