Letters to the Editor, August 29, 2016

PUBLISHED : Monday, 29 August, 2016, 5:13pm
UPDATED : Monday, 29 August, 2016, 5:13pm

Shanghai lacks Hong Kong’s core values

I refer to the article by Bilahari Kausikan, a former senior official of Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (“The lesson Hong Kong must learn from the South China Sea”, August 28).

He wrote that the former governor of Hong Kong, Chris Patten, “left a poisoned chalice for Beijing”. He asked how Hong Kong could ever be a Western-style democracy in China and that “too many Hong Kong ­people seem to take sweet ­Western words too seriously”.

Although it is a fair point that the British did not introduce ­democracy in Hong Kong for most of their period of colonial rule in Hong Kong, it is unfair to say ­Patten had left “a poisoned ­chalice” by advocating democracy in Hong Kong.

Seeking democracy is a ­legitimate desire of Hong Kong people and many right-thinking, intelligent Hongkongers yearn for democracy. It is very patronising to portray them as taking “sweet Western words too seriously”.

Mr Kausikan wrote that sooner or later, Shanghai will ­replace Hong Kong as China’s main financial hub and Hong Kong will just become another Chinese city.

Although there is a significant probability that Shanghai might overtake Hong Kong as China’s main financial centre, Hong Kong’s freedom of expression and independent judiciary gives it a competitive edge as a financial centre that no other Chinese city can surpass. Press freedom and the rule of law are vital in ensuring a competitive, internationally trusted financial hub.

Many people in Hong Kong do not want their city to become like another Chinese city, and want it to ­retain its unique core values of freedom of expression and rule of law.

Toh Han Shih, Happy Valley

Teens can get too involved in phone games

The recent craze over Pokemon Go put the spotlight on mobile games on general and the potential risks involved.

Some people who got too ­involved in Pokemon Go had mishaps, in some cases resulting in injury and even death, and this led to calls for the location-based augmented reality game to be banned.

I agree that if they are misused, games played on smartphones can have serious pitfalls and do harm, especially to young people.

There is a risk that some adolescents could become addicted to some games as they are emotionally immature and vulnerable and are easily led.

Because of that, they will ­often follow the latest online fad. They practise incessantly so they can show off their perfect game skills and spend money they do not have on games.

Youngsters need to deal in a mature way with games and ­limit the amount of time and money they spend on them.

They need to recognise that it is just a game and the mass appeal will be short-lived and then a new game will be all the rage.

Mary Ko Ching-nga, Tseung Kwan O

Metropolis for Lantau is a bold vision

It may interest your readers to know about a discussion which took place in 1959, which was to make use of the shallow waters fronting Discovery Bay to build a new town for one million ­people.

This was when we were ­looking to cope with population growth.

The Discovery Bay idea was scrapped because, believe it or not, a pier was then built at the bay together with a small abattoir on which to disembark cattle from the Northern Territory of Australia to quarantine them from foot-and-mouth ­disease. I know, because I went there to inspect the pier.

The planners then turned their eyes to the new towns.

Time marched on. The planners were desperate to find a home to replace Kai Tak and eventually Chek Lap Kok was the chosen site.

Sir Gordon Wu put forward a proposed reclamation in the western harbour for an airport connected by roads and bridges from Hong Kong and Lantau.

Then, to my surprise and ­delight, section 114 of the chief executive’s policy address in January ­revived these ideas, ­although it has attracted little comment. He talked about building a metropolis from Kau Yi Chau, once again turning to the shallow waters in the west, and protecting Lantau’ s natural beauty by reclaiming the sea (something we are good at). I suggest we should hear something from the planners before long about this western metropolis. Let battle commence.

David Akers-Jones, Tsim Sha Tsui

Victims of sexual abuse need more help

In many cases, victims of sexual abuse are still not willing to come forward, speak out and seek help.

Those victims who do so should be provided with immediate help. As a society, we have to show that we care about their plight.This is a serious problem and this kind of abuse can have long-lasting (sometimes lifelong) consequences for individuals and affected ­families.

Governments need to recognise that sexual abuse is a public health issue. It must allocate more resources to educate the public and involve all citizens in prevention work. It should develop different kinds of prevention programmes for various target groups, such as parenting education classes, home-visiting programmes, public education, and training sessions for teachers.

What matters is raising the level of public awareness so that more victims speak out and get the help they need.

If more assistance is available within the community, then this can improve the recovery process for victims and help them deal with their terrible and traumatic experience and eventually get back to their normal lives as soon as possible.

If necessary, the government should amend existing legislation so that those found guilty of sexual abuse face even heavier punishment that at present.

I believe that through better public education and tougher sentencing, we can more effectively tackle sexual abuse.

Rachel Hui, Yau Yat Chuen

Safety issue must always be considered

Car-hailing apps like Uber are proving very popular in many countries. However, a terrible crime in India, where an Uber driver was convicted of raping a female passenger, showed the need for users to always think about their personal safety.

These apps make a real difference during busy periods when it is difficult to catch a cab, but we must always be vigilant.

Whatever car-hailing app people use, especially for the first time, they need to check it out and ­ensure it is safe to use.

Nicole Ho Wing-lam, Tseung Kwan O

City’s airline has been dealt unfair hand

Cathay Pacific’s 82 per cent ­decline in first-half net profit is understandably disappointing.

Competition and economics deal our adopted city flag-bearer an unfair hand when it is forced to compete against government-subsidised airlines or those which operate from a substantially lower cost base.

Yet Cathay strives to ­continually offer levels of service, professionalism and above all, safety, that other ­airlines do not.

Cathay’s investment in the latest aircraft, the A350-900, ­reflects the company’s quest for superiority. The interior is fitted out with the latest in-flight entertainment systems, Wi-fi connection, superior seat comfort in all three classes and an aircraft at the forefront of environmental concerns and quietness.

Customers have a plethora of choices when choosing to fly and Cathay recognises this.

As an airline that has served as an emblem of Hong Kong for decades, I am confident that the overall excellence of Cathay ­Pacific will see it through this present patch of turbulence.

Mark Peaker, The Peak