Hong Kong Sevens


PUBLISHED : Thursday, 05 April, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 05 April, 2012, 12:00am


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Protesters' approach is misguided

Many newspapers have expressed uncertainty following Leung Chun-ying's victory in the chief executive election and have warned of the struggles he will face.

During his visit to Kwun Tong, there were protests over the possible revival of Article 23 legislation and his feelings about the June 4 incident.

Hong Kong citizens' chief concern seems to be that our freedom of expression will no longer be respected under the Beijing-friendly Leung.

Some critics have said that his charisma may allow him to infringe our basic freedoms without us even noticing that it is happening.

Such a climate of fear can only cause unrest and further social instability.

Instead of breeding further distrust and opposition towards the Hong Kong government, there are more productive steps that can be taken to protect our rights.

Firstly, we cannot continue to treat mainlanders as 'foreigners' who are distinct and separate from ourselves.

Rather than becoming worried that we will suffer a similar fate as citizens on the mainland and trying to segregate ourselves from them, we should empower them to fight for their rights to freedom of expression.

We should also shift the focus to applying pressure on the central government to respect such rights and improve the current state of human rights in China.

Making a move in this positive direction, in line with the rest of the developed world, will ensure that we will not be dragged backwards by the Chinese government, but instead can take a leap forward along with our fellow Chinese citizens.

It is time for us to stop letting panic and fear guide a rebellious attitude towards the government. We should instead promote an open discourse which will benefit all.

I am afraid that resistance is no longer fruitful as we are, inevitably, a part of China.

Eudora Lee, Tsim Sha Tsui

Drug-driving test has some problems

Some correspondents have welcomed new tests by police introduced in an effort to curb driving while under the influence of drugs. I can understand that officers want to see a reduction in the number of these drivers and the aim of the new legislation is to catch people by asking some simple questions and, if necessary, doing follow-up tests.

However, I do see some problems arising.

I have misgivings about the accuracy of the initial testing process. Could a driver fail part of it if he is nervous and has difficulty speaking clearly, or does that mean that the person has taken drugs?

What if the individual was taking legal, prescription drugs in good faith and his doctor had failed to mention that he should not drive afterwards?

If the doctor did not point this out, the motorist could still be found guilty and face penalties in the courts.

The police must ensure that all physicians are aware of the new legislation and realise that they have a responsibility to tell their patients what the side-effects of any medication might be, including impairing their ability to drive. The government must also do more to make the public aware of the new tests.

Edmond Poon, Sai Kung

Levy for third runway makes sense

The Executive Council has endorsed the government's proposal to expand Chek Lap Kok by building a third runway.

Following this decision, the Airport Authority said it would not rule out the option of imposing a surcharge to finance this HK$136 billion project.

I would still support this construction project if it was funded by a levy and this led to higher air fares.

It is a common practice for international airlines to impose a surcharge on passengers.

For example, every passenger boarding an aircraft at a commercial airport in the United States has to pay a fee under the passenger facility charge programme.

This funds projects that, for example, enhance safety, security and capacity.

Therefore, Chek Lap Kok would be following the example set by other international airports if it imposed an improvement fee to pay for the expansion.

I am confident the levy charged will be reasonable.

On the mainland, the sum is between HK$60 and HK$110 for airport construction projects.

If at Hong Kong airport it was between HK$100 and HK$300, I do not think this would lead to expensive air fares, and it could help fund this groundbreaking project.

The charge would be based on the user-pays principle and would avoid shifting the cost to taxpayers.

It would ensure that government reserves were not spent on this massive project.

This third runway can help Hong Kong's economy and attract more businesses and job opportunities.

It can help maintain our position as an international transport hub.

Prompt action is needed or the final cost will end up being much higher than the present estimate.

Ng Sin-ying, Sha Tin

Education can lead to more donors

I refer to the report ('More die in wait for organ transplant', March 22).

Despite the fact that more people support organ transplants, we still have a shortage of donors in Hong Kong. Some individuals continue to resist the idea of registering with the Centralised Organ Donation Register.

They are concerned about how their bodies will be treated when the organs are harvested and how this will affect them in the afterlife.

The message has to be got through to them that surgeons will show due respect when harvesting organs and that they are helping patients who will die if they cannot get a new organ.

It should be explained that what they will be doing as donors is giving the gift of life to someone who would otherwise die and this offers them and their relatives a new chance. This is a priceless contribution.

There must be greater promotion of this register and those people who have already registered should encourage relatives and friends to do so.

The government has to do more in the way of education and advertising.

I would like to see a discussion of organ transplants in primary school so that children grow up recognising the importance of registering as organ donors and saving the lives of others.

Ma Sze-chai, Tsuen Wan

Sevens at Olympics not appropriate

What does Ralph Barnes ('New Sevens format will hurt players', March 30) mean by 'this now prolonged match time' with regard to the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens?

Every team this year played the same number of matches, of the same duration, with similar intervals between matches, as they would have done last year, with the same levels of success.

My reservations about the new format are for different reasons.

I believe that they are closely connected to the misguided, and unfortunately successful, bid for the inclusion of the Sevens in the 2016 Olympics.

It is not good for the Olympics to include sports that have higher-profile events outside the Olympics.

Ask any top tennis player which they would rather win, an Olympic gold medal or one of the four major tournaments. Many top players choose not to compete in the Olympics.

Rugby sevens has a very popular four-yearly world cup with as many as 24 teams competing.

The Olympic event will be limited to 12 teams, which is a lesser event, so not good for the Games. Unless, that is, the present world cup is either abolished or reduced to the same format - hardly good for rugby sevens.

Rugby sevens was doing very well, attracting more countries into the game, particularly those without the resources to field a 15-a-side squad.

The Olympics does not need rugby sevens, and sevens does not need the Olympics.

This is a big step backwards: If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Peter Robertson, Sai Kung

Waste charge could hurt poor families

The cost of disposing of a bag of refuse under the government waste charging scheme could be HK$1.30, or HK$40 a month for a typical family, according to the rate proposed by Friends of the Earth.

Waste charging has been successful elsewhere, for example, in Taiwan, but that does not mean it would be effective here.

Hong Kong citizens do not have a high enough level of environmental awareness, nor are they given sufficient information about recycling.

While the charging scheme might raise that level of awareness, it could also impose a heavy burden on low-income families.

It would not be a fair levy for these families. If you have more family members, you will generate more waste.

Therefore, under the present proposal, it could become a kind of poll tax.

Siu Man-ting, Sha Tin