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Letters

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 01 March, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 01 March, 2012, 12:00am

Disappointed by chief executive

Our city seems to be embroiled with one scandal or controversy after another and it doesn't involve the lives of film or pop stars, but government officials.

The latest is related to Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen's luxurious trips by private jets and yachts, reimbursed by him based on nominal fares.

Presuming that these were above-board trips, and that in relation to the relevant tycoons he did not compromise himself with regard to his official duties, what about the principle of leadership by example?

Does this mean that the commissioner of customs and excise can take similar offers and reimburse these beneficiaries? Or can the secretary for food and health take a trip with friends from pharmaceutical companies but reimburse his portion of these trips?

Maybe our officials have no sense of ethics, protocol and what is demanded from their public office.

They are declaring to public servants that it is open season, a free-for-all as long as one can justify these actions.

Sadly, Elsie Tu's efforts in the 1960s and 1970s to challenge the system of that era, which set a new foundation for today's Hong Kong, is totally lost on these modern-day officials.

They are bringing us back to a regressive process where civil servants will be unable to hold their heads high.

I hope Mr Tsang will do the right thing before he retires.

Mandy Tang, Tuen Mun

Tsang has done nothing wrong

The public should back off attacking Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen on his luxurious lifestyle.

He earns a top-notch salary as befits his very heavy public responsibilities, his peer group comprises the wealthy, so there is nothing wrong with him having companionable time with his friends. It may not all be one-sided. He may well have hosted meals for his friends.

As a minor analogy, I never belonged to exclusive clubs, nor owned boats, but had friends who did. I was a frequent guest and accepted the invitations gladly, and do not consider that a hanging offence.

Donald Tsang just has a very wealthy peer group, which is not surprising.

The public appears to be in a mood of cutting down tall poppies, with probably the glimpse into Tang's luxurious house acting as the catalyst.

Tsang deserves his lifestyle, earned hard in the public eye. Please stop further recriminations on this issue.

Jessie Tong, Melbourne, Australia

Public opinion uses duck test

It is curious that Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, should need a panel of five people and three months to find out where the needle on his moral compass should be.

It seems public opinion in Hong Kong has used a far simpler device - the duck test.

If something looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and flies like a duck, it probably is a duck.

John Mulcahy, Sai Ying Pun

In defence of international schools

It is a shame that Pierce Lam's judgment is so clouded by his frustration over Hong Kong's colonial past ('In defence of local school system', February 23).

Hong Kong is not a colony any more but it is very much part of a global economic system.

Both expatriate and local parents want to send their children to international schools because these schools prepare their children to become global citizens.

Nobody disputes the high academic standards at local schools and it's great that students from Hong Kong win so many prizes.

Whether the local system enables them to compete successfully in today's globalised world is another question.

Furthermore, while it is true that Hong Kong offers expats employment opportunities, the fact is that these opportunities are in most cases created by international companies, which, in turn, offer employment to many Hong Kong people.

Most expats have worked in different parts of the world and have built successful international careers despite the fact that academic standards in their home countries may not be as high as those in Hong Kong.

Josephine Bersee, Mid-Levels

Help people to escape poverty trap

According to data released by the Census and Statistics Department, the median domestic household income has increased by [almost] 10 per cent in the past 10 years, while the inflation rate over the same period is 12.5 per cent.

Citizens from the grass roots are the worst affected, because the high inflation rate makes it more difficult for them to make ends meet. Any pay rise they get is eaten away by rising prices.

The government urgently needs to address this problem.

It must adopt new policies to help those who are impoverished and bridge the gap between rich and poor.

There must be some regulation of house prices.

The government is building more public housing and is reviving the Home Ownership Scheme to help residents who cannot afford to buy their own flat. But, government resources are limited. It is impossible to cater to the housing needs of all citizens. Therefore, the administration should adopt a more proactive approach to lower prices. It could impose compulsory and reasonable price ceilings on flats. This condition could be added to land contracts between developers and the government. This would encourage developers to build more low-priced housing for people from the grass roots.

There is also a problem of limited job opportunities for poor people. Since the minimum wage law was introduced, many less-educated and low-skilled workers have been made redundant because employers can hire teenagers on the same salary who may be more energetic and keener. To help the unemployed, the government could ask its contractors to engage more underprivileged workers.

In the long run, the best way to help low-income families is to improve the education system.

The administration should ensure that university is made more affordable. Also, subsidies should be made available to grass-roots families so their children can take part in extra-curricular activities at school. Armed with greater knowledge, these young people will have a better chance of enjoying a good standard of living.

Alex Ngai, Sha Tin

TVB really needs some competition

More free-to-air television channels are needed in Hong Kong.

TVB has dominated the market here for years.

Because it has enjoyed a monopoly, the quality of the programmes it produces has been poor.

There have been complaints about the station for years. Its drama series use the same tired formula.

There has been a call for new free licences to be issued for the past three years, but the government has dragged its heels and we are still waiting for the new stations to be allowed to start broadcasting.

The sooner we can have these new channels up and running, the sooner we will see greater competition in the free-to-air market.

This will encourage the stations to produce quality shows to attract audiences and all citizens will benefit.

The additional channels will also be a boost for the city's entertainment industry since there will be more opportunities for talented performers.

Viewers don't want the same stories churned out.

We want to have more choices and granting additional licences for free-to-air broadcasters is one way of achieving that.

Isaac Poon, Sha Tin

We cannot rest on our laurels

Hong Kong has a well-established reputation as an international financial centre and is one of the world's most famous cities, but more mainland cities are beginning to catch up as they develop their economies.

The government must recognise the importance of developing new industries.

Many countries in Asia have worked hard to develop their hi-tech industries.

Take, for example, Samsung and the LG Group in South Korea.

You can see the same success with other 'Asian dragons'.

The HTC Corporation in Taiwan is famous for its brand of smart phones and tablets.

The Hong Kong government has to inject additional resources into this area.

I would also like to see more being done to promote the cultural industry and full use must be made of the West Kowloon arts hub.

In particular, more facilities must be provided to train people to become performers in Chinese Opera. It is possible for Hong Kong to become the cultural centre of East Asia.

The SAR cannot rest on its laurels. It must keep moving forward.

Andy Chan Tsz-on, Tseung Kwan O

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