Ill-advised talk threatens our autonomy
Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai was right to point out that there is only one centre of power in Hong Kong and that is the Hong Kong SAR government. But as a member of Beijing's National People's Congress Standing Committee, Fan appears to think that it is perfectly alright for her to openly heap scorn on the chief executive whenever she likes without undermining that centre of power ("Don't blame Tsang for your woes, CY", October 7).
Likewise, when the Hong Kong government has yet to come up with a decision on how to deal with the problem of mainland mothers giving birth in Hong Kong, it is totally inappropriate, to say the least, for the deputy chairwoman of the Basic Law Committee, Elsie Leung Oi-sie, to openly remind C.Y. Leung to seek an interpretation of the Basic Law on this issue.
Are we still taking our high degree of autonomy seriously? Of course C.Y. Leung has himself to blame when the first thing he did after becoming chief executive-elect was to visit the central government's liaison office.
Chor-yung Cheung, Shek Kip Mei
Ignorance the root of thuggishness
I am writing in response to the report "Mayhem, clashes as visitors flock to top scenic spots" (October 4).
Over the long National Day holiday, popular mainland tourist spots were swamped with hundreds of thousands of people, sparking traffic mayhem and clashes between tourists and administrators.
Two tourists were even stabbed, allegedly by security guards, over a dispute.
I feel very ashamed of being Chinese because of such uncivilised behaviour. I am angry about the political system in mainland China.
It seems that the People's Republic of China doesn't belong to the people, but is represented by the Chinese Communist Party.
This current "China" is the world's biggest criminal gang. The Chinese government rules with no law. Human rights are neglected and everything hinges on the one who has the power. Corruption is rife.
The future of a country depends on education, so does the next generation. The mainland education system lacks civic education. Instead, pupils are imbued with the glory of the Communist Party.
With such an education system, children turn out badly behaved, with some being even irrational and cruel. This results in ridiculous behaviour such as we've read about over the holiday.
The mainland's education system should be reviewed and improved. I really hope the People's Republic of China can belong to the people of China, with democracy and rule of law. This way, China could be recognised by everyone in the world and it would be easier for people to be patriotic, with no patriotic education needed.
Bowser Ku Chun-yin, Tuen Mun
No monopoly on boorish behaviour
The comment by one of your correspondents regarding mainland Chinese behaviour is stereotypical ("Mainlanders must mind their manners", October 6). A lot of the so-called "bad behaviour" she points out (talking loudly, eating on public transport) are also on display in Hong Kong and in other big cities.
I suspect that Ms Cheung has probably neither used the Tube in London - where empty food containers and bottles and cans are a common sight - nor visited barbecue sites at the end of a weekend or holiday here in Hong Kong.
When I visit cities on the mainland I usually find most of the people to be very courteous, friendly and helpful. Bad behaviour can be found anywhere, especially in crowded cities.
I agree that civic education can help, although probably only to a small extent. However, singling out mainland Chinese is simply wrong.
Kristiaan Helsen, Sai Kung
Pilot's mid-air party takes the cake
Lax driving is a global problem, not only in Hong Kong.
Over the years I have encountered many drivers - and pilots - with a casual attitude when travelling overseas.
In the middle of a United Airline's flight, a cabin crew member suddenly announced a cake-cutting ceremony was under way in the cockpit to mark a retiring pilot's last flight.
She mobilised the passengers to give the pilot a big round of applause. Then, the female bus driver taking us to the transfer desk at Los Angeles airport was singing all the way.
In Vancouver, the bus driver waited until we were moving before giving me a ticket and taking my money, rather than sorting it out as soon as I got on.
All of these actions could have had dangerous consequences and Peter Kahl ("Transport officials need to look harder", October 7) was wrong to say Hong Kong is the only place where tragedies such as the Lamma ferry accident happen.
Sometimes people freeze; the motor neurons just don't click. Perhaps this happened with the ferry accident. From the state of the Hongkong Electric boat, it appeared the captain did try to avoid the crash.
If the boat had been equipped with an arm float it might have bought more time for those on board to escape, but it was an old boat.
Nobody could have foreseen it would sink in a few minutes. The first rescue service did not arrive on the scene for 20 minutes.
For a person who cannot swim, two minutes is enough to drown. People who cannot swim should not participate any water activity, for their own sake and for the good of others.
Pang Chi-ming, Fanling
Some people are just blind to safety issues
One day, a patient in his 40s came to me complaining of worsening vision.
His job involved driving a delivery truck. Examination revealed marked cataracts in both eyes. I told him he required surgery and that in his present state he was not qualified to drive.
He declined surgery, citing financial difficulty. An offer for a referral to a government hospital was declined.
On his way out, I stressed to him that it was illegal for him to continue driving. He hesitated for a second, then said "well, we won't tell anyone, will we", then left.
In the Lamma boat tragedy, I wonder if the captains and crew had their eyesight tested recently. After all, the weather was fine, and although it was dark, both boats were well lit.
Dr David Wong, ophthalmologist, Kowloon
Art chief's elitism causefor despair
"We shall not confuse our longing for political democracy with artistic democracy."
What a great quote from Lars Nittve, the executive director of M+, in Vienne Chow's report on the forum about Hong Kong's participation in the Venice Biennale ("Insults and anger over council's Venice project", October 5).
I am thoroughly disappointed with Nittve's lack of understanding and appreciation of the democratic trends and impulses within the arts scene.
I fear the elitism in his speech simply reflected a blind spot that makes any further dialogue futile.
My reply to Nittve is that you should not confuse our longing for artistic democracy with our longing for political democracy, for we are certainly not confusing the two.
It is clear to us that while we don't yet have political democracy, we have had, within the HK Arts Development Council and the call for public proposals about participation in the biennale, a tiny bit of artistic democracy. Then you took it away!
So please admit it, Mr Nittve, that you do not have enough political sense or awareness of the local context to talk about the matter.
Lau Kin-wah, Pokfulam
Bellyachingno substitutefor action
In response to Andrew Maxwell's letter lamenting the traffic situation in Sai Kung ("It's time transport officials admit Sai Kung's traffic woes", October 5), I would remind him that there is an excellent bus service between Sai Kung and Sha Tin, and every bus that departs can replace 50 or more private car or taxi journeys.
Mr Maxwell seems typical of many Hongkongers who love complaining about our environmental problems but are not prepared to actually do anything about it themselves.
People bemoan the traffic and its accompanying pollution but are still happy to drive and take taxis and sit in the traffic jams that they themselves create in a city with the best public transport system in the world.
They lambast the government, the buses and trucks and the ships in the harbour, but they are happy to sit in their jumpers in air-conditioned buildings when the temperature is perfectly comfortable outside.
When two empty lifts arrive and two passengers are waiting, it is quite common for people to take one lift each instead of sharing.
If we all made a tiny sacrifice here and there we could make the environment a lot better.
Sorry for getting on my high horse, but I have got two small children and with the Antarctic ice at record low levels last month, I fear for the future of the world they will inherit.
Warren Russell, Tseung Kwan O