Turn HK into magnet for young talent
To people who have been following the city competitiveness league tables, it is hardly surprising that Singapore has again beaten Hong Kong overall ('HK workforce ranked 'best in Asia'', March 14).
Reportedly, our incoming chief executive, Leung Chun-ying, will learn about Singapore's formula for success.
Unlike Hong Kong, Singapore has formulated a clear manpower policy to enable the city state to become the talent hub of Asia. The Ministry of Manpower has set up an international manpower division to facilitate the inflow of global talent.
Contact Singapore is a one-stop centre actively encouraging business executives and entrepreneurs to pursue their career and business in Singapore.
The Lion City is also very proactive in attracting world-class education institutes, thinkers and researchers.
If Hong Kong is to maintain its competitiveness in Asia, it cannot afford to lose out in the talent battle.
Hong Kong is desperately in need of a manpower/population policy, which should be a lot more visionary and holistic than controlling mainland pregnant women giving birth in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong's economic and trade offices should be given the responsibility of attracting more talent to Hong Kong.
Unlike Singapore, whose environment is more attractive to family-oriented business executives and professionals, Hong Kong's targets would be the younger and freedom-loving crowd - students, entrepreneurs and creatives.
The Immigration Department has to relax its talent admission policy to cater for these people.
Cities must compete for intellectual capital and talent to sustain growth. Hong Kong has sat in the back seat for too long. It is time to take the driver's seat.
Rachel Chan, Causeway Bay
Take seat at table, leave egos at door
What a sad indictment of the small-mindedness of local political elite. How can we respect the system that our lawmakers claim to uphold when they show nothing but contempt for the due process?
It is disgraceful that lawmakers did not attend a 'reconciliation dinner' with the duly chosen next chief executive, Leung Chun-ying ('Empty seats at dinner date with Leung', April 13).
In about five years, Hong Kong will have a full and open election and much of the world - not just the leaders in Beijing - will be watching the process.
Do we want our officials to be seen as spoiled children - if they do not get their way, they will burst into tears and stamp their feet?
Our present lawmakers and those who will aspire to be voted into high office in five short years must remember that on their shoulders they carry the hopes and aspirations not only of the people of Hong Kong but also Greater China.
Their obligations are to the community, not to arrogant misplaced egos.
Stephen Anderson, Macau
'Urgent need' burns on for 26 years
Environment chief Edward Yau Tang-wah has argued there is an urgent need for an incinerator, and that reducing waste at source and relying on landfills are not viable options ('Waste incinerator is inevitable, says Edward Yau', April 14).
This sort of urgent need was stated at least 26 years ago. I looked up a number of important documents from the Environmental Protection Department after the establishment of a waste management policy in 1986, and found that the government has understood that there is an urgent waste problem for many years.
Even back then it warned that the landfills would be full by 2010. Twenty-six years have passed, and the 'full-by date' has been modified and revised to 2012, to 2016, and then to 2018.
Hong Kong's waste problem is indeed serious; our waste generation per capita amount is at a record high of 2.7kg per day, far higher than the 34 other advanced economies around the world. However, spending as much as HK$15 billion on the construction of an incinerator as an end-of-pipe-solution for waste disposal might not be the best option.
The department has repeatedly argued that reducing waste at source is like using a distant pool of water that is too far away from a nearby fire to put that fire out - it cannot be used to deal with the urgent need of waste disposal. But the experience in Taipei and South Korea of implementing waste charges as part of a basket of policies shows us that waste can be halved in three to five years.
The proposed Shek Kwu Chau incinerator is designed to begin handling waste in 2018 with a capacity of 3,000 tonnes per day, or one-third of today's total municipal solid waste.
So in six years' time an incinerator will only be able to handle one-third of our waste, while waste-charging policies could cut it by half within five years.
So which option is more effective and why should the waste disposal facility be considered more urgent?
Besides, the department still has plans to expand the landfills in Tseung Kwan O, Tuen Mun and Ta Kwu Ling. If it promotes waste reduction at source, these landfills are expected to last more than 20 years after expansion.
Keep in mind, too, that landfill waste disposal costs HK$168 per tonne compared with an estimated HK$1,000 per tonne for the incinerator.
The lower combined cost of implementing waste charging and operating our landfills could prevent a giant white elephant in the middle of our marine environment.
Michelle Au, Friends of the Earth (HK)
Excellence on show at new heritage hotel
I recently stayed overnight in the Tai O Heritage Hotel on Lantau, which used to be a police station.
The Heritage Conservation Foundation that revitalised this building into a social-enterprise boutique hotel is to be congratulated. With the baleful example of 1881 in Tsim Sha Tsui, this project shows what can be done sensitively. One hopes it is studied carefully for the historic Central Police Station.
Julian Quail, Pok Fu Lam
World Bank's Lin must face military law
As a military officer, Justin Lin Yifu grossly violated the trust that the people of Taiwan gave him by defecting to the enemy in 1979.
It is not just a treason in a political sense, but also gross violation of the trust and honour of his profession ('Defector must face law if he returns', March 24).
Just like a teacher or a president who grossly violates professional trust, an officer must face the law for the consequences of his action and betrayal by crossing the front line to the enemy with classified military plans.
Lin should face a military court if he ever returns to Taiwan - even if he is now the chief economist and senior vice-president of the World Bank.
S. H. Peng, Central