PUBLISHED : Monday, 23 August, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 23 August, 2010, 12:00am

Transsexuals face so much discrimination

The court case involving a transsexual known as W, who is seeking the right to marry her boyfriend, has put the spotlight on this issue of transgender people.

In the past few decades, attitudes have changed significantly towards transsexuals. In 1986, a specialist gender identity team was established at Queen Mary Hospital. Transsexuals are also able to amend the details of their Hong Kong identity cards.

However, every day they encounter discrimination. They face an uphill task trying to find a job. Potential employers may be prejudiced against them. They live in a society where they can be subjected to verbal abuse and harassment. They are often not shown the respect they deserve.

They sometimes feel stigmatised because they have had the reassignment surgery. All these problems can affect their psychological state. Some transsexuals may get so depressed that they consider suicide. Their plea to be given equal treatment gets little sympathy from the government or society as a whole.

They are ordinary people and want to be seen as such. They want to be allowed to get on with their lives, but their needs are neglected.

I do not believe that allowing transsexuals to marry gives the green light to same-sex marriages. A transsexual who regards herself as a woman should be accepted as a woman.

It has nothing to do with the issue of homosexuals marrying. It takes a great deal of courage and determination for a person to have reassignment surgery. It is not something that is done on impulse.

Transgender people are entitled to the same rights as any other citizen. When looking at their lives, we should not be judgmental.

Sandy Siu Wing-sum, Kwun Tong

Scrap village house policy

I refer to the article by Markus Shaw ('Rural rights have to move with the times', August 17). It is totally unfair for indigenous male villagers to be automatically entitled to build a house in a New Territories village.

With skyrocketing property prices, the government has to think carefully about land use in the New Territories. If more land is made available, prices can drop under the supply and demand principle.

Traditional rural rights such as the village house policy are out of sync with Hong Kong, and do not help with its economic development. It is essential that this right that is given to each male descendant of an indigenous villager is scrapped.

There used to be a clear distinction between the New Territories and the rest of Hong Kong - Hong Kong Island and Kowloon peninsula. But now the SAR as a single unit is part of China. Also, as Mr Shaw pointed out, many of our rural areas have now disappeared.

Officials should also closely monitor land use in rural areas. They should take action against any illegal construction work on government land, especially pristine areas close to country parks.

R. Hau, Kowloon Bay

Wrong location for NY mosque

In his Public Eye column, Michael Chugani makes an insulting comparison of the legitimate concern held by many people regarding the proposed New York Ground Zero Islamic centre with the persecution and intolerance allegedly shown towards Muslims in China ('It's only persecution if US politicians say so', August 18).

Approximately five million Muslims live in the US, and if they are being persecuted there is little evidence of it, as they are on the whole a highly prosperous and patriotic group. Sadly, no such statistics are available for Muslims in China.

Chugani also appears to hold a rather broad definition for the term 'right-wing Republicans' (a label which he obviously applies derisively).

Apparently, I am now a member of that group, notwithstanding my status as an independent voter; so, even more oddly, is US Senate Majority Leader (and Democrat) Harry Reid, and approximately 70 per cent of the US public. With so many right-wing Republicans around, it is amazing that Democratic President Barack Obama was ever elected.

Chugani apparently doesn't understand, or hasn't considered, why a reasonable, tolerant person might question the wisdom, propriety, and taste of putting an Islamic research centre a stone's throw from a place where close to 3,000 people were murdered by Muslim fanatics. If such a concern is a 'right-wing Republican' attitude, well, I guess that includes me.

There is no question here of 'persecution' of anyone.

There isn't even any question of whether the developers have the legal right to build the Islamic centre near Ground Zero. They do - an application was submitted for approval by the New York City Planning Commission (and let's not even discuss how such an application process may differ from, say, an application to build a Tibetan centre near Tiananmen Square, or a synagogue in Mecca).

The question now being publicly debated is whether building the centre in that particular location is a good idea. Opinions may differ on that issue but working to a public consensus is the purpose of such a public debate.

Discussing these issues openly is preferable to the 'more polite' alternative of making up arbitrary rules in private and enforcing them under cover of night.

Ken Harvey, Mid-Levels

Simply seeking better society

Members of the post-1980s generation have passionately expressed their views on a number of issues.

They came to prominence during the protests against the high-speed rail link.

They have been criticised by older people who say they are causing trouble.

I understand the motivation of these young people. They are speaking out loudly and demanding justice.

What they want to see is a better society. We should all be willing to listen to differing views.

Christine Ho, Sai Kung

More small flats not the answer

Green Sense seems to suggest that empty flats are a waste of concrete and land use, because large flats are luxurious and attract investors rather then users. Its solution is that the government should make developers build more smaller flats ('Green group demands quota for small flats', August 16).

Firstly, when it comes to the investment value of a flat, the key is the location rather than the flat size. If the government wants to introduce controls over flat prices, it would be better to increase the supply of flats rather than imposing limitations on the size. If we want to revolutionise the property market, we should aim for a large increase in the number of larger flats to improve the quality of people's lives.

Green Sense seems to be contradicting itself. It talks of intensity of land use, and yet seems to be against tall buildings producing a 'wall effect'.

It is only through high-density living in Hong Kong that we are able to have so many country parks for the enjoyment of citizens and have such an efficient public transport system.

Man Chi-yan, Mid-Levels

Fans deserve English option

Will iCable ever realise that a considerable proportion of its subscription fees will now be coming from non-Cantonese- speaking residents?

On Now TV we had to put up with English Premiership pre-match build-ups by men (and ladies) in garish suits talking in Cantonese.

With iCable taking over the Premier League contract from its duopoly 'partner', I hoped it might have learned from Now's failings and provided some alternative pre-match build up, half-time and full-time analysis and even midweek programmes for English-speaking viewers.

The consumer pays a lot to be able to watch these games at home. Cantonese and English speakers pay the same amount. Consumers are also asked to switch providers every couple of years if they want to continue to watch the games at home - this brings additional charges.

Is it too much to ask iCable to give consideration to providing some English-speaking football related programmes?

Graeme Duncan, Pok Fu Lam

Appalled by attack on tree

Sitting on my Peak balcony overlooking Hong Kong Island, I was sheltered by a lovely tree that has happily reached to the skies for over a decade.

That was until last Monday when my neighbour's contractor decided to fell half of it so his boss could have a better view.

In my outrage I demanded a stop to the axe-wielding by a totally inexperienced worker who was hacking away at this beautiful tree. The worker thought it was just a joke until I called the police, who responded immediately and the smiles soon ceased.

The government needs to remind all workers that trees are protected and cannot just be cut down to suit someone's whims. A tree is a life. Remove the skin of the earth and disaster follows.

Mark Peaker, The Peak

Serious threat

There have been more cases of drug-driving and some resulted in road traffic accidents.

People who get behind the wheel of a vehicle after taking drugs put innocent individuals at risk, including pedestrians, because the drivers' reactions are slower and their judgment is impaired.

As this problem is getting more serious, police need to be able to set up road barriers and conduct random tests of drivers. The government has to crack down on motorists. It should increase the penalties for people found guilty of drug-driving.

Vicky Chan, To Kwa Wan