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Letters

PUBLISHED : Monday, 09 January, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 09 January, 2012, 12:00am

Hongkonger equals citizen of China

I refer to the survey that found locals view themselves more strongly as Hongkongers than as Chinese citizens than at any time in the past decade ('HK citizen identity strongest in 10 years', December 29).

I am a postgraduate student here from Beijing. My time in Hong Kong will be one of the most unforgettable experiences of my life.

Many Hongkongers, especially from the younger generation, whom I have met describe themselves proudly as either 'Chinese citizens' or 'Chinese Hongkongers', just as I describe myself as a 'Beijing citizen'. We share the same concept when it comes to identity. Whether Hongkongers or Beijingers, we are all Chinese citizens.

It is odd that some people would prefer to call themselves Hongkongers rather than Chinese citizens.

There seems to be a kind of twisted logic given that the city has been an integral part of the nation since the handover in 1997. As a special administrative region, it can hardly be regarded as an independent political entity.

Hao Tiechuan of the central government's liaison office put it bluntly when he said that debating the merits of being a Hongkonger or Chinese citizen is a false proposition and pointless.

Yang Yang, To Kwa Wan

I'm an expat committed to this city

As a permanent resident who is committed to Hong Kong, having arrived here over 20 years ago, I felt deeply saddened to read the sentiments conveyed by Sam Wong ('Expats have done little to benefit city', January 3), as well as those by others who seem bent on an anti-foreigner rant.

Since arriving fresh faced many years ago and falling in love with this wonderful, unique city, I have embraced it, good and bad, with open arms.

I have devoted my career (in advertising and marketing) to not just feathering my own nest but developing and promoting the local industry, including selflessly training many young local people, mostly for zero remuneration.

I married a local wife and have developed my own Hong Kong business. I still keep an open door to help young local people further their careers. I am here, in other words, because I love Hong Kong.

I was invited to come here because I was good, not (as your correspondent so insultingly implies) because I could not find work elsewhere.

Over the years, I have been enticed by offers to work elsewhere (and did have a short stint in Singapore) but I feel deeply committed to Hong Kong and its people, so many of whom I can count as good friends.

If anything has changed since 1997 and since the old colonial era, it is that there are many expats still here, such as myself, who are here because they call it home. Are we any less Hongkongers simply because we are not Chinese?

I love Hong Kong not as a comfortable expat enclave but for its unique beating heart, for its local culture and for what it has given to me, which I do not take for granted.

So, Mr Wong, do you want people like me living here or do you prefer to embrace all of the new money flooding in from across the border? If the thought should ever occur to me to give up my life here, then it would have been placed in my mind by people such as Mr Wong making me feel unwelcome.

Thankfully, most Hong Kong people I meet and work with do not echo his sentiments.

Chris Kyme, Repulse Bay

Where will poor tenants move to?

Some people have argued that the government should take immediate action over subdivided flats in poverty-stricken areas of the city to prevent a repeat of the fatal blaze in Fa Yuen Street, Mong Kok.

However, the administration has not come up with any feasible solutions about where these residents should live if they are forced to leave their partitioned accommodation.

Although some subsidies have been made available, there are still groups from ethnic minorities, such as Filipinos and Pakistanis, who are not eligible for assistance.

The government has not come up with alternative living spaces for those residents who would be forced out.

Yet if it did, it would increase government expenditure, and that would be opposed by middle-class taxpayers.

Most importantly, if there was a crackdown on all subdivided flats, the social network built up within these communities would be destroyed.

The residents who were displaced might become depressed because they had become separated from friends, and it could exacerbate the emotional problems they already had. These residents would not be able to reconstruct the community they had lost through the government's actions.

As a social activist, I believe that the interests of the disadvantaged should be protected, as they are vulnerable to changes in economic conditions.

While officials are concerned about the tragic fire in Fa Yuen Street that killed innocent people, they cannot ignore the needs of the grass roots.

Ruby Ng Sum-yu, Tsuen Wan

Beach hazard at Stanley a sharp shock

I moved to Hong Kong from Tokyo almost six months ago.

I recently visited Stanley. It is clearly a destination popular with tourists.

The cafes and restaurants by the sea were full of what appeared to be foreign visitors.

When I reached a peninsula at the left side of Stanley beach, I was surprised to see so much broken glass.

The price tags were still on the broken bottles.

I was very disappointed by this sight. It was in stark contrast to the beautiful scenery.

My boys were with me, and before I saw the glass I had been thinking how pleasant it would be to come here in the summer to swim and sunbathe.

But I would not risk letting my sons play there now.

I cannot understand why anyone would leave broken glass lying around, but it is important that the authorities keep our beaches clean and safe and free of such things.

T. Yamamura, Hung Hom

Beijing must air truth in public

The lack of transparency of the central government to the public is a deep-rooted problem that cannot easily be solved within a short period of time.

The news reports of new air quality monitoring stations [in Beijing and Tianjin ] last month are a case in point.

The government continues to conceal from the public on the mainland the truth about the severe pollution levels. By doing so, it tarnishes its reputation.

A problem can only be cracked once officials admit that it exists and then make a genuine effort to solve it.

The pollution problem on the mainland is severe. If these air quality stations were properly regulated, they could be effective in monitoring the pollution levels.

Data would be made available to the public, and there would be a better chance of the pollution problem being dealt with in an effective manner.

Polly Leung Pui-yee, Kwai Chung

Long wait for luggage at the airport

There has been much discussion about the long queues at immigration counters at Hong Kong International Airport. Very often, this is just the start of the waiting game.

Even for Hong Kong residents who can use the e-channel for immigration, a long wait for the arrival of their baggage is adding to their overall travelling time.

Over the last two years, I have seen the waiting time for the arrival of baggage increasing drastically, no matter what airline you are using.

While in the past, the first suitcases arrived often less than 20 minutes after the plane was at the gate, my recent experience has been that it often takes 45 minutes or more before the first batch of luggage arrives at the belt, even those suitcases that are labelled 'priority'.

My last experience was on December 30 after arriving on flight CX 288 from Frankfurt. It was an early flight, which reached the gate at 7.15am.

The first luggage did not arrive at the belt until about 7.50am, and most economy passengers had to wait a further 20 minutes before their luggage came.

This was not a peak time, and there were not too many travellers waiting at the various luggage belts.

Why is it that this service has deteriorated?

If the airport wants to keep its position as a major international airport, this is an area where it can make a difference.

Given its current performance, it is being easily beaten by other major Asian airports like Singapore, Bangkok and Seoul.

Jochen Krug, Pok Fu Lam

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