Letters to the Editor, September 16, 2012
Population made this city what it is today
I would question Graham Williamson's simplistic opinion about the development of this city ("It is a fact that Great Britain built HK", September 9).
Hong Kong was not built by Great Britain. It would have remained "a barren rock", which the British occupied by unequal treaty, without its population. Their industry, perseverance, flexibility and most importantly, intelligence, made Hong Kong what it is today.
Without their enterprise it would at best be a staging post for the opium trade which made many "hongs" rich. It is true that the British built the infrastructure, provided services and some good schools, and foisted the Christian faith on the colony. However, all this was done to train clerks and functionaries to maintain their colonial administration.
The colonial teachers had not reckoned that their subjects would far exceed their expectations of providing a steady supply of docile junior administrators.
Hong Kong's infrastructure and services merely facilitate the population, which epitomises the essence of the city and enables it to remain vibrant through communal efforts.
The Chinese are known to refrain from commenting on complex issues not because they are "too scared to comment" but rather because they are reluctant to sound simplistic or boorish.
Mr Williamson should try to avoid making sweeping pronouncements and attempt to distinguish illusion from fact as well as give credit where credit is due.
Esther Lee Wong, Central
Exactly how 'great' was colonial past?
I presume Graham Williamson ("It is a fact that Great Britain built HK", September 9) would also claim "Great" Britain built the United States, India, Pakistan, Ireland and many other countries around the world because it colonised them at some stage in history.
He is obviously very proud of what happened to the indigenous populations in these countries as a result of the "greatness" of Britain.
I should point out that when I landed in my "mother country" with my British passport, as a result of being born on the British soil of Hong Kong, I was greeted with the comment, "Go get lost, you Chinaman."
I am sure your correspondent must agree that it was us, the "Chinamen" of Hong Kong, who built this city.
I appreciate his comments about building a better society on the mainland.
However, when talking of Great Britain and building better societies, we should not forget what happened in Northern Ireland.
Ng Hong-kay, Fanling
We should have more dog adoption days
I would like to give a big pat on the back to Agricultural, Fisheries and Conservation Department for organising "Dog Adoption Day" in Stanley on September 1.
The public had the opportunity to meet dogs waiting to be adopted by four registered dog charities and there were educational talks.
Due to the interest shown by people, it should be clear to the department that these educational events, where all members of the family can find their friend for life, are a step in the right direction.
I would like to see more of these dog adoption days happening all over Hong Kong. Now that we are approaching cooler weather, this is the best time of the year to host such outdoor events given that the heat and humidity can affect the dogs.
What worked well at Stanley on September 1 was the fact that adoptions could not take place on that particular day.
Potential adopters had to visit the kennels of the charities the following day to formally adopt their pet.
This is a good arrangement, because not only is there a better chance of the dogs finding good homes, but the charities might also find more volunteers.
It also helps the charities, which depend such much on public donations.
The proof is really in the pudding. It was wonderful to scroll through the Facebook pages of these charities and see photos of happy families now with their new addition of a puppy or dog.
Thanks to the event, public interest in many cases actually transcended into adoptions.
Everyone involved can feel proud and satisfied that thanks to the Dog Adoption Day the lives of many animals have been saved.
Angela Scott, North Point
Governments sets up so many hurdles
I believe Erik Dierks, of the English Schools Foundation (ESF) is not quite correct when he blames the market for the spiralling cost of education ("HK$500,000 to reserve place in ESF schools", September 13).
There is no education "market" in Hong Kong.
There is a state-controlled school system, and a private sector which is prevented from expanding by a government that sets up so many hurdles, not least of which is access to suitable land. It is akin to the land supply situation in Hong Kong in general.
There is clear demand for more high-quality school places that the middle class (including non-Chinese Hong Kong citizens) can afford. But given the government's control of the supply side of the equation, there is no "market".
Laurel West, Pok Fu Lam
Bill does not seem such a good deal
CLP's bi-monthly bills seems a win-win situation for both parties. CLP saves on administrative costs and the consumer saves on a month's financing cost.
However, I have discovered that by lumping together two months' consumption, more of the units are subjected to higher rates than would be so if each month's consumption were considered independently.
My latest bill is HK$3,529 (before deduction of the government subsidy of HK$300). My calculation shows that had my bill been calculated on a monthly basis, the bill for the last two months would have been HK$3,109, which is HK$421 or 13.55 per cent less.
I would like CLP and the relevant government department to say if they consider this to be a fair practice.
H. Hiew, Fanling
Paralympics should not be neglected
It is a pity that compared to the London Olympics, the Paralympics was largely ignored here.
Games stars such as sprinter Usain Bolt and hurdler Liu Xiang are household names but how many have heard of Britain's Jonnie Peacock or Li Duan, of China, who won gold in the Paralympics?
When I flipped through various newspapers in July and August there was extensive coverage of the Olympics.
You could see a lot of events on free-to-air TV channels.
However, most newspapers devoted small sections of their sports pages to the Paralympics and there was little in the way of television coverage.
Of course we should admire the spirit shown by Olympic athletes, but I think that athletes who suffer from disabilities deserve even greater praise for their achievements.
They have shown determination to train and to succeed despite the obstacles they face.
I find it difficult to comprehend the difficulties an amputee faces who, for example, wants to run on an athletics track.
They face psychological fears about what mountains they will have to climb and have to work much harder than able-bodied athletes to achieve the same goal. Their spirit of perseverance can inspire all of us.
It is therefore unfair that from some quarters they do not get the respect and recognition for their accomplishments they so richly deserve.
I hope four years from now, Hong Kong viewers will be able to see more events in the Rio Paralympics.
Daniel Hui Yin-hang, Sha Tin
Mobile phones can become addictive
Technology can be useful for all of us in so many ways.
We all seem to be heavily reliant on the internet and portable electronic gadgets, but I feel that sometimes people lose a proper sense of perspective.
The use of devices like mobile phones and the internet becomes addictive.
Take cell phones, for example. They are hugely popular throughout the world. There are now so many functions and apps on your average smartphone.
On public transport and in the street you will often see people with their face down constantly checking them for messages. I have seen people joining others for a meal and constantly checking their smartphone at the dinner table, which is very impolite. I wonder how many of them could actually go just a day without the phone.
As with all things, when it comes to new technology, despite its advantages, we must all learn to practise self-control.
Wong Yuen-man, Tseung Kwan O