Letters to the Editor, September 09, 2012
Restricted sale policy will be lame duck
I am writing regarding the proposed flats for Hong Kong people policy.
Nowadays it is difficult to define what you mean by Hong Kong people.
Since the early 1980s one-way visas have been issued to mainland citizens.
Most of these people will now have Hong Kong identity cards. There must be tens of thousands of people on business visas, and after more than two decades many of them have grown-up children with permanent ID cards.
Compared with indigenous residents here, they have more extensive connections with the mainland.
How can the government tell if a Hong Kong ID cardholder is not buying a flat for someone else who is not a Hongkonger?
Also, there are hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong-born people who no longer live here and whose connection to this place and desire to own property here is waning. But the government could not have exclusions, as that could be seen as discrimination.
I feel the policy could prove to be a lame duck.
On top of that, the proposal undermines the free market doctrine that Hong Kong has embraced and that has brought about its prosperity.
If the government really wants to do something about the convoluted housing market, it should research how other economies treat housing as a basic necessity, similar to food, utilities and health services.
It is sad that many people in Hong Kong are unable to look beyond the obvious.
Wilkie Wong, Wan Chai
Hours law not suitable for our economy
The last government introduced the minimum wage law and now Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has said that he will look into the possibility of instituting standard working hours.
I think if such legislation were passed it could make Hong Kong less competitive and make it more difficult for people from the grass roots to earn a living. I would therefore be against any law which imposed standard working hours.
Different companies have varying needs and conditions of employment must cater to those needs. The best arrangement is for employers and employees to agree hours of work strike a balance between the length of time worked and operational needs.
Hong Kong citizens generally have to work hard to earn a living. There is no doubt that people from the grass roots in society do generally have to work long hours to make ends meet. If they are the breadwinners in the family this is something they are willing to do.
If they are paid the hourly rate of the minimum wage, then presumably they would be adversely affected by legislation on standard hours. They would work fewer hours and consequently would earn less.
This could make their circumstances worse as, like all Hong Kong citizens, they have to cope with skyrocketing rents and rising inflation rates.
The fact is that they need to earn more to maintain or improve the quality of life of their families. They all need to pay more effort to improve their quality of life.
Such legislation will also add to the financial burden faced by the business sector.
Companies sometimes need to adjust hours to meet changing business needs. They would be prevented from doing so if employees' hours of work were limited by law.
They might need to employ more staff, but this might prove beyond the budget of some small and medium-sized enterprises.
The government must balance the interests of employers and employees, and even if it decides it wants to move forward with such a law, it must reach a consensus in society.
Lo Kwan-yin, Sha Tin
New stadium at Kai Tak site long overdue
On Sundays, at 8am, you can see thousands of eager children kitted out in the strips of their mini rugby clubs watched by their bleary-eyed mothers and fathers.
Hong Kong is blessed with one of the largest mini rugby scenes anywhere in the world.
It is one of the fastest-growing sports in the city and this is all because of the hard work of the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union, which because of the excellent Rugby Sevens raises millions of dollars for youth sports.
This mini rugby boom seems to be lost on our cloistered officials and the question must again be raised: why have the past and present administrations not put forward solid proposals regarding the start of work on the much-delayed new stadium at Kai Tak? It is long overdue.
Next year, we will again see thousands of Hong Kong rugby supporters unable to get the family Sevens tickets because of a lack of suitable facilities at Hong Kong Stadium.
We have seen an endless debate and funds wasted on the West Kowloon Cultural District but there is still no action on a stadium that would not only help rugby but many other sports in the city.
It falls squarely on the shoulders of those responsible for sport in Hong Kong to make the stadium a reality.
If the parents of Hong Kong children can get themselves out of bed for their sons and daughters at 8am on a Sunday, the very least the administration of Hong Kong can do is make a start on our new stadium at the Kai Tak site.
Stephen Anderson, Macau
Policies to deal with ageing society flawed
Because the city's population is ageing rapidly, government policy tends to focus on enhancing welfare payment arrangements. For example it introduced the "Guangdong plan" whereby elderly Hongkongers living in Guangdong can get their old age allowance, or "fruit money".
This would appear to be the right approach, but it is failing to deal with all the problems associated with an ageing society.
Many old people still face serious financial problems as they were unable to save enough during their working lives. They cannot make ends meet with the old age allowance, which is why many move to Guangdong. Also, the application process for getting welfare payments is complicated.
A further problem is that pensioners moving to Guangdong face a high inflation rate there. While fruit money helps, the Hong Kong administration must come up with a more extensive system to help old people. There must be more forward planning to deal with the ageing population of the future.
Luo Weihao, Ngau Tau Kok
It is a fact that Great Britain built HK
I'm compelled to respond to Paul Lee's letter ("Unfair treaty no cause for celebration", September 2) in response to Stuart Heaver's excellent article on the Treaty of Nanking ("Big deal", August 26).
While it is widely agreed that it was indeed an unfair treaty, nobody can refute that Great Britain built Hong Kong.
The British built the infrastructure, banking industry, legal environment and political institutions that made Hong Kong the great city that it is, not the early Chinese settlers. That's why Taipei and Macau, both the recipients of many mainlander refugees, can't hold a candle to Hong Kong.
Sorry Mr Lee, read the article again; the author approached no less than five mainland academics and they were too scared to comment.
That's not the mark of a society that can accomplish great things.
The question for Hong Kong people now is: are they going to acknowledge the past and help the mainland build a better society, or are they going to distort the past and acquiesce to mediocrity?
Graham Williamson, Cheung Sha Wan
Clash of two religions with same belief
I refer to the report (" 'Now they are saying we can't even practise Islam'", August 26).
It is tragic and sad in this modern world that Buddhist mobs have joined with the security forces in Myanmar to destroy mosques in which the Rohingya people prayed every day.
It is also sad that rich oil-producing Islamic nations like Saudi Arabia, Iran and the United Arab Emirates turn a blind eye to the Rohingya refugee problem.
Buddhists, like Muslims around the world, share the same belief that we should live in peace and harmony.
K. M. Nasir, Mid-Levels
Plastic pellets problem was a wake-up call
One of the side effects of Severe Typhoon Vicente in July was the washing ashore of 150 tonnes of plastic pellets from a freighter. They were strewn across beaches and environmentalists predicted a possible marine disaster.
Luckily, many volunteers joined a mass clean-up of the beaches.
This incident serves as reminder for us all of the need to take action to protect our environment and educate our children about green issues.
Yu Ho-yat, Lam Tin