Letters to the Editor, August 25, 2012
Too soon for minimum wage rise
I am strongly opposed to calls for the statutory minimum wage to be increased from HK$28 to HK$35 an hour.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) already face a heavy financial burden and, as a survey revealed, their main financial concern is the high rents caused by skyrocketing property prices.
If the statutory hourly rate was raised to HK$35, I fear that some firms would not be able to survive.
SMEs already struggle in an economy where the large enterprises control the market through their monopolies.
These SMEs contribute to the diversity of this city and the government should help them rather than trample on them by imposing a wage hike.
Also, this wage law only came into force last year and so it has not been possible, over so short a time, to undertake a long-term evaluation of its effect.
It is still too early to determine whether it has harmed or helped society and therefore adjusting the rate upward would be premature.
A rise of HK$7 in an SME with, say, 50 employees would add a huge amount to that firm's wage bill. It might feel the only way to survive was to lay off some workers. This is something nobody would want to see.
There must be a long-term and continuous evaluation of the minimum wage law in order to gauge its effectiveness.
Sharon Lau, Sha Tin
US should avoid past mistakes
When will the US stop making the same mistakes?
It is generally believed that, due to a series of diplomatic blunders - for example the invasions of Vietnam, Korea and Iraq - this world power now faces the threat of terrorist attacks.
It has decided to carry out military exercises with Japan "in the western Pacific" at a time when Tokyo is locked in a dispute with China over the Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea ("Beijing bristles as US, Japan begin military drills", August 22).
What does it expect to gain from these collaborations with a former aggressor (during and before the second world war)? Is Washington jealous of China's economic rise and now seeks to exert control over Asia? Or does it want to boost its flagging arms industry?
I hope that the US can avoid further losses of American lives by not repeating the aggressive policies adopted in the past.
Peter Wei, Kwun Tong
Time has come to deal with Diaoyu dispute
I refer to Richard Paine's letter ("Islands are part of Okinawa", August 21).
He says the Diaoyu Islands were part of Okinawa when they were returned to Japan "in 1972".
In early 1971, the Republic of China (Taiwan) was the legal representative of China at the United Nations and recognised as such by the US. At that time, most viewed Taiwan as a puppet of Washington and felt that it would be just a matter of time before it would have to leave the UN.
The People's Republic of China, on the other hand, was a feisty communist hardliner in the midst of its tumultuous Cultural Revolution , with a government in tatters. Indeed, that same year the PRC did replace Taiwan at the UN and was recognised by the US. At this point, governments on both sides of the Taiwan Strait said little about the Diaoyus, but not everyone was silent.
I know this because I was a student demonstrator in January 1971 who protested against the transfer. About 1,000 of us gathered outside the UN headquarters in New York. Among the demonstrators was Taiwan's current president, Ma Ying-jeou.
Beijing also issued a strong statement against the transfer, but saw the issue in historical terms and felt it would take a long time to be resolved. Perhaps the time has now come to deal with it.
Wei Yen, Tai Tam
Many Olympic sports have martial origins
I note with weary resignation the re-emergence of the well-worn and blinkered perspective offered by J. Garner ("Ban shooting events from the Olympics", August 18). Notwithstanding a distinct lack of appreciation as to the origins of the Games, whereby sporting feats by all folk - soldiers included - were celebrated by all, there exist other events with similar martial origins.
By that yardstick, I daresay other events such as the javelin and arguably the discus and hammer throw, archery, fencing, judo, taekwondo, boxing and wrestling should also similarly be banned.
I, for one, do not wish to watch replacement events such as egg throwing, musical chairs or a sack race.
I also note the introduction of rugby sevens at the next Olympics.
How would your correspondent feel about the implications of violence (though organised), demonstrated by 14 large men essentially fighting with each other over a ball?
Lester Lim, Mid-Levels
Chinese people have stood up in world sport
Following the end of the Olympics, we have seen several articles in the Western media (and in the South China Morning Post), which have accused China of gulag-style training of its athletes.
Although these attacks were not new, given that the Chinese team was criticised during the 2008 Games in Beijing (where it achieved its greatest success), it was only in London 2012 that they went viral.
I assume this happened because some of the Chinese athletes were getting too close for comfort to Western legends in what are traditional Western sporting preserves, for example, swimming.
First, Beijing came under fire for its economy and now the target is sport. Some people seemed to characterise this as a struggle between so-called freedom, human rights and democracy, and a communist, autocratic and supposedly demonic regime. It is a big no-no for China to show the developing world that its system can achieve prosperity and fame for its people in a fraction of the time it took the West.
The Western press is still dominant, but China is fighting back with a massive media expansion globally.
Back in the late 1960s, the West would scoff at China's economy and lack of sporting achievements, but not any more.
I wonder how long it will take China to win this propaganda war for the hearts and mind of developing countries.
Tseng Kin-wah, North Point
Unified DAB deserves my vote this time
I must say that I agree wholeheartedly with Andrew Lee ("Not enough issues for the voters", August 17).
Not only do the pan-democrats have no platform except to bleat endlessly, "democracy, democracy, give us democracy", but they fight among themselves to such an extent that one shudders to think what they would do if ever they were given power in a fully democratically elected Hong Kong government.
As I have done in the past, one sometimes scorns the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB) as it is so overtly pro-China.
However, I now see that the DAB really does have a purpose, which is indeed for the "betterment" of Hong Kong, even though the "democratic alliance" part may have to take a back seat for a while.
And, indeed, I also understand after 25 years working full-time in China that the over-riding purpose of the Chinese Communist Party is for the betterment of the people of China, no matter how many mistakes the party makes along the way and no matter how long Western-style democracy may have to take a back seat.
The DAB has a policy platform and plan and it is united.
In the Legislative Council election next month I am going to switch my vote from the pan-democrats to the DAB. And I will join the DAB in doing the best I can to "better" Hong Kong.
In addition, I will especially give my support to Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's new team.
For the first time since 1997, what is being promised is a government that will make some real changes for the betterment of Hong Kong and its people.
Let's start by cleaning up our filthy air which we all must breathe, pan-democrats and DAB supporters alike.
Peter Bentley, Mid-Levels
Why does Cheung Kong need photos?
We regularly read in these columns and elsewhere about breaches of privacy.
I would like to hear from Cheung Kong why it considers that the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance does not apply to it.
More or less every evening I, with many others, exit the car park at Cheung Kong Center and, as I do so, employees of the company take video footage and still photographs of the cars and their drivers and occupants.
I have not been asked for my consent to have my car number plate and my image captured like this. Nor have I been told the purpose for the collection of my data.
Perhaps Cheung Kong would like to explain through these columns.
R.G. Clark, Sai Kung