Force welcomes applicants from minority groups
I refer to the report ('Minister pledges racial sensitivity in hiring', May 25) and Michael Chugani's Public Eye column ('Police should come clean on minorities', May 26) on the Chinese-language proficiency requirement for applying for the post of police constable.
All police constable applicants should possess Level 2 (Grade E before 2007) or above in Chinese language and English language (Syllabus B before 2007) in the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination or equivalent.
In fact, the force accepts Grade D or above for British General Certificate of Secondary Education Examination-Chinese as the minimum language proficiency requirement.
Please note that for the recruitment of police constables, the objective of the selection process, that is, the physical fitness test, group interview, psychometric test, final interview board, is to critically assess applicants in various areas - communication, judgment, knowledge, confidence, resource management, community and customer focus, personality and physical fitness. These are skills required for a police constable.
Regarding the so-called 'three written questions in Chinese' mentioned in your May 25 report, this forms additional information on the applicant, which all candidates attending the group interview are required to complete.
It is not a language test and no grading or mark is given.
Together with the self-introduction and a discussion in a group setting, candidates are assessed on their communication skills (written and oral), judgment, knowledge, confidence and personality.
Candidates who obtain an overall pass score in the group interview stage sit the psychometric test and attend a final interview.
The Hong Kong Police Force always welcomes enthusiastic and suitable people, regardless of their race, to join us in serving the community as professional police officers.
The force already has a number of police officers of different ethnic origins, such as Indian and Pakistani, who are serving society.
We have since 2008 organised proactive recruitment activities to reach out to non-ethnic Chinese (NEC) students by conducting career talks at schools regularly with a view to attracting more qualified NECs to join the force.
In 2006, the force established a working group to explore measures to promote racial equality in policing work. Last year, 74 NEC volunteers were recruited to assist in 75 crowd management and crime-fighting activities as liaison officers.
To further enhance engagement with the NEC, a pilot scheme on the 'Hiring of NEC personnel as Community Liaison Assistants' will be introduced in selected police districts in the third quarter of this year.
Please be assured that the force is committed to promoting racial equality, fairness and respect and we uphold equal opportunity as one of the four principles of our human resources strategy.
Ann Tsang Yim-sheung, acting chief superintendent, police public relations branch
Missing great opportunity
I refer to Glenn Haley's response ('Very serious political blunder', May 26) to my letter ('Disapproval of election strategy', May 20).
I had no intention to criticise those who did not vote in the May 16 by-elections.
I believe Mr Haley would agree with me that the political development in Hong Kong is of fundamental importance and yet its citizens are deprived of any say on this issue.
Following the consultation period, the political reform package has remained almost unchanged. This makes us doubt if the government is really listening to us. The by-elections triggered by the resignations of the five pan-democratic lawmakers provided us with a unique opportunity to express our views on the pace and scope of democratisation of our city.
The pro-Beijing camp should have been politically courageous enough to field candidates in the by-elections and stand against the League of Social Democrats and the Civic Party. This would have given a clearer indication of Hongkongers' opinions on political development.
It is a shame that by deciding not to vote in the by-elections, many citizens missed a precious opportunity to express their views on such an important issue.
Michael Ko, Sham Shui Po
Fairs a lot more comfortable
Last year, I severely criticised the Trade Development Council for its lack of consideration for the fair goers at fairs it runs. By contrast, I said, the aisles at AsiaWorld-Expo had foam-bottomed carpeting.
Well, I must say that the council's fairs at the Convention and Exhibition Centre this April were a great experience. The layout of the fair I attended was excellent, so that it was easier to see more suppliers.
The walking spaces and the aisle floors were beautifully padded. It was the first time in more than 20 years of attending these shows that I had no back or feet pains. It is always great when businesses take good advice from clients and make the necessary improvements.
Lenny Harris, Deerfield Beach, Florida, US
Pointless wall at Old Peak Road
I am opposed to the construction of a 750mm wall at Old Peak Road. I go past where the wall will be erected with my husband and young children at weekends. We love the fact that we can enjoy nature. It is a privilege to have this sanctuary of peace in the centre of town. It cannot be considered dangerous.
The government should focus on rendering the Conduit Road footpaths safer for residents and visitors rather than waste our money on unnecessary projects.
I suspect that the number of accidents caused by unsafe and narrow footpaths in Conduit Road without railings is much higher and would deserve the attention and money spent there instead of where no cars pass.
Tatiana Olchanetzky, Mid-Levels
Develop art on the streets
It is admirable that the Hong Kong government wants to develop the arts. However, I do not think the West Kowloon Cultural District is the correct way to go about it. To develop a distinctive artistic culture we must start on the street and stimulate a strong urban art movement, much like what we see in Tokyo, Berlin, London and other cosmopolitan cities.
This entails utilising our urban space. The Cultural Centre has great curves and roof space. It would take minor work to turn it into a living platform from which nightly acrobatic shows could be staged. This would be similar to Circus Oz which performs at the side of Sydney Opera House.
Also, it would need a small change in immigration law to allow travelling performers to stay in Hong Kong for short periods to enliven street culture and inspire home-grown performers.
The new head of the cultural district has his work cut out. Only top-quality programmes will tempt people to go there. We need to start on the streets and at grass-roots level.
Stephen Anderson, Macau
Let down by bad manners
Many people had high expectations for the World Expo in Shanghai. It offers visitors an opportunity to learn about different cultures and styles of architecture from around the world.
For example, once you enter the Italian pavilion you see examples of the things that make the nation famous, such as cars, fashion, food, architecture and art.
The expo also showcases improvements that have been made in Chinese technology. The opening ceremony showed that when it comes to technology China can do as well as developed nations.
However, there is still room for improvement in other areas. Many people have been disappointed by the behaviour of the city's residents.
Because of extensive media coverage, they are under the spotlight and should be setting a good example when it comes to manners.
Instead, there have been problems with littering and chaotic scenes when residents went to pick up tickets. The authorities have to educate Shanghai residents in the hope of seeing better behaviour.
I am confident that the expo will prove to be successful.
Elaine Lam, Tsuen Wan
Mental patients need more help
Mental patients are often unfairly stigmatised and feel isolated. They should be given more opportunities.
We need to help them cope in society, which means giving them career advice and help finding accommodation.
If necessary, the government should offer them job opportunities.
If they are able to work, they will find it easier to cope.
The government should set up training courses so these patients can learn new skills. This will improve their chances of finding work.
T. Li, Tsuen Wan
Lau Nai-keung tries to draw parallels between the outcome of the recent unrest in Thailand and the massacre in Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989 ('When might is right', May 28).
He is defending a party that has been responsible for the deaths of many Chinese citizens over the past 60 years.
It guarantees that only a small elite will pocket all the wealth and security guaranteed by the People's Liberation Army.
It is ironic that this party was founded to fight injustice through revolution.
Charles Henning, Honolulu, US