Letters

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 13 August, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 13 August, 2011, 12:00am

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Long-term projects have been planned

The recent criticism of Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen and his civil servants by Wang Guangya, director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, has raised public concern.

Mr Wang, who comes from the top echelons of the central government, was giving his honest opinion of the city's government.

I disagree with those who argue that his comments undermine our principle of 'one country, two systems'.

Hong Kong enjoys a high degree of autonomy. At the same time, the central government tries its best to help the Hong Kong administration govern in such a way that the prosperity of the city is maintained.

For example, our property market collapsed in 2003 as a result of the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome. Beijing tried to rescue Hong Kong's economy by making it easier for mainlanders to travel here, so as to boost our tourism and retail industries.

Therefore we should not blow comments by a central government official out of proportion when they are expressed with sincerity.

Mr Wang said Hong Kong's civil servants lack vision and the ability to plan for the long term.

In fact, over the past few years, Mr Tsang and his colleagues have tried to formulate policies for our long-term economic development. For instance, the Lok Ma Chau Loop project aims to develop the area into a university base and foster our research and development industry, with 29,000 jobs to be created.

The proposed third runway at the airport will sustain our position as an aviation hub and result in 140,000 job opportunities.

I think we have a high-calibre civil service that enables this government to operate efficiently.

Because he is such a straight talker, Mr Wang's comments on the civil service might have appeared a bit too harsh.

But I hope Mr Tsang and his civil service team will continue to do their best to serve Hong people.

Holden Chow, chairman, Young Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong

Government not looking to the future

Wang Guangya, head of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, said the Hong Kong government lacks future planning, and of course he is correct.

As soon as there is a surplus of money, the government throws it around like confetti at a wedding. It gives all permanent Hong Kong residents, including me and those living on the mainland, HK$6,000.

I don't want the money. The enormous sum the government is going to spend on this handout could have been used for low-cost housing, hospitals and schools.

If that had been done, everyone would have benefited. The government is not looking to the future at all.

It is becoming common for it to make U-turns. When there is a feeble protest, the government changes its mind.

It does not know how to govern at all, despite the training its officials had under British rule.

John Fleming, Sheung Shui

No need for foreign universities

It is unfortunate that Kelly Yang believes Hong Kong needs foreign universities to attract prestige and 'improve' the post-secondary education system ('Campus chase', August 10).

The University of Hong Kong is consistently ranked worldwide as one of Asia's best universities. Moreover, Hong Kong does have foreign universities - Savannah College of Art and Design is one of the world's most highly regarded art schools.

To think that Hong Kong needs more foreign universities does an injustice to the hard work and dedication of Hong Kong's existing institutions.

In addition, anyone who has spent time studying at an American university can tell you that a [good] name does not necessarily mean a better education. The United States is one place where educational standards are sorely needed.

With the competition to get into Asian universities, it can be safely said that it is much harder to be accepted into these schools, yet we do not see Peking University or the University of Tokyo setting up shop in New York or London.

Why should the flow of information be one way? If this is the case, then we are merely imposing a singular method of instruction, when we should be encouraging multiple avenues.

We should not place foreign universities above our own.

Victoria Sung, Hung Hom

Democracy can also be dysfunctional

The recent US debt ceiling crisis exposes a highly partisan and, therefore, dysfunctional Congress.

Since members of this body were democratically elected by the American people, one has to wonder if American-style democracy is such a good thing.

Christine Wong, Mid-Levels

Two-child policy would help province

The Guangdong authorities have asked Beijing to relax the one-child policy.

This policy amendment would allow more couples in the province to have a second child.

I think it would help reduce the problems of an ageing society, such as mounting pressure on the social security system.

If more babies were born, the ratio of elders to children would come down. Moreover, there would be two children to provide and care for their parents.

There would also be an increased supply of labour and a greater chance of there being gifted children who could make an important contribution to the economic development of the country.

But if the policy was relaxed in Guangdong, it would have an effect on Hong Kong's health care system. It would certainly not lead to a reduction in the large number of pregnant mainland women seeking to give birth in the city.

Natalie Wong Hoi-yi, To Kwa Wan

Polygamist's group aren't Mormons

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints notes the report ('Polygamy 'prophet' faces life in prison', August 6).

While we appreciate the accuracy of the article, the words 'Radical Mormon' in the sub-headline are not correct.

The term 'Mormon' is universally understood to refer to the 14 million members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

The Fundamentalist LDS group with which Warren Jeffs is associated is in no way connected to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, or 'Mormon' Church.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints or 'Mormon' Church discontinued the practice of polygamy more than 100 years ago, in 1890.

In 1998, Gordon B. Hinckley, former president of the church, said: 'I wish to state categorically that this church has nothing whatever to do with those practising polygamy.

'They are not members of this church. Most of them have never been members. They are in violation of the civil law. If any of our members are found to be practising plural marriage, they are excommunicated, the most serious penalty the church can impose.

'Not only are those so involved in direct violation of the civil law, they are in violation of the law of this church'.

The term 'Mormon' is a nickname that is commonly applied to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. There is no such thing as a 'Mormon fundamentalist' or 'radical Mormon', nor are there 'Mormon sects'.

Stephen W. Alley, Asia area public affairs, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Sculpture's fate will be ours, too

If anyone still has doubts about the pervading and corrosive nature of air pollution in Hong Kong, they should view the Henry Moore sculpture at the podium level of Exchange Square in Central.

This bronze work is severely tarnished and is now an ugly, grubby grey. Our lungs are getting the same treatment.

The sculpture was inspired by the weathered rock formations on the moors above the artist's Yorkshire home. The bracing fresh air of that location is in complete contrast to the filthy air generated by Central's congested traffic, and especially by the buses using the terminal situated beneath the podium.

It is about time our government took this pollution problem seriously with action, rather than just paying lip service.

Christian Rogers, Wan Chai

 

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