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Letters to the Editor, October 12, 2012

PUBLISHED : Friday, 12 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 12 October, 2012, 3:16am

Hopes still high for new government

Newly elected Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has not enjoyed the so-called honeymoon period after taking office on July 1. There are numerous issues still plaguing him, from unauthorised building works found in his house to the government officials he appointed.

At the same time, he needed to tackle some thorny matters left behind by his predecessor: for example, the large number of pregnant mainland women giving birth in Hong Kong, and the launching of the controversial national education this school year.

To be fair, he has done his job satisfactorily. He acted to stop mainland mothers having their babies delivered in Hong Kong starting next year. He also halted the policy that required all schools to start national education as a compulsory subject, leaving schools to decide.

He also took concrete steps to reinforce what he promised during his election campaign. The government is rolling out an increased allowance for the elderly, which will soon come before the Legislative Council.

Although several legislators are calling for the government to scrap a proposed means test for the allowance, the government should insist on the test. Hundreds of millions of dollars will be required to pay the allowance if it is scrapped. However, the upgraded policy is intended to help the needy elderly, not every senior, especially those who are well off.

High hopes for our new government still exist and are justified, and I believe the government will do its best to lead our city well.

W.H. Chan, Kwun Tong

HK can't do without mainland

These guys who advocate for Hong Kong independence are sheer morons. Deprived of support from the mainland, Hong Kong will be a dead city. Do they know where the water they are daily drinking comes from?

They probably think they are wiser than the British. Why did the British eventually choose to hand back Hong Kong to China instead of claiming for its independence?

Lu Ping, former director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, Beijing

Redistribute wealth to create balance

I am writing to comment on Ms Karen Kwan's letter ("Policies to fight poverty are misguided", September 20).

Because of the increasing number of low-wage workers, rising rents and high inflation, the income gap grows, creating a major social issue that the Hong Kong government must address.

First, it needs to build a fairer wealth distribution system. Increasing taxes on the rich and corporations will produce more funds to subsidise low earners rather than simply increasing the minimum wage.

The government can set up a labour welfare fund and spend the money on retraining and assisting low-income workers. This will not increase the financial burden for small companies while the incomes of low-wage workers increase.

Second, the government should use some of the extra revenue to build more public rental flats and maintain lower rents in government housing to help the poor enjoy a better standard of living. The government could achieve this by not granting land to big property developers and instead use the land for public housing, in the process creating jobs in the construction industry.

Third, to ease inflation by stimulating price competition, the government should provide subsidies for people to operate small businesses.

Also, the government can decrease taxes and offer incentives for companies that provide better salaries or training courses for employees.

The government should thus redistribute wealth by spending on implementing policies to improve the lives of the poor. This will create a more balanced wealth distribution system and reduce the income gap in Hong Kong.

Ling Ka-hong, Tung Chung

Dog dealers' fines don't go far enough

Aiming to protect animals from over-breeding and being traded illegally by unlicensed dog dealers, dog smugglers and puppy farms, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department plans to raise the maximum penalty for illegal trading of animals from HK$2,000 to HK$100,000.

I applaud this big increase but would like to see the government go even further.

The government should make it compulsory for people who trade dogs and puppies to hold permits. Many places breeding animals are unhygienic. The cages some dealers keep their dogs in are extremely small, and the animals generally don't have enough to eat.

Consequently, some become ill and are purchased from pet shops in this state by people unknowingly. I think this sort of behaviour is inhumane. Illegal trading of animals is a serious problem. Precious life is being traded by those without a conscience.

If the government adopts this plan, it must also improve animal welfare and tackle the problem of sickness and disease in puppies.

I suggest the government also sets up a law to protect other animals that have been illegally kept and traded, not only dogs and puppies.

As compassionate human beings, we should cherish the life of every living thing. I hope the government can implement this plan as soon as possible to save more lives.

Kathryn Chan, Sha Tin

Morning-after pill not right for girls of 14

I am writing to respond to the editorial "Wiser solution to teen pregnancy" (October 4).

Even though the editorial claims Hong Kong need not be as anxious over the problem of teen pregnancy as do the citizens of New York, I strongly believe we should not hand out any morning-after birth control pills to high school girls as young as 14.

High school girls are far too young to be engaging in sexual intercourse. They are risking their futures. Accessibility to morning-after birth control pills will lower their wariness towards sex. The number of sexual encounters by teens will increase since they no longer need to worry about the consequences.

I also think Hong Kong schools and parents have done all they can in teaching teenagers proper sexual attitudes. Many schools have organised talks by social workers to teach students about sex. Some parents also teach their children the drawbacks of sexual intercourse. Yet teen pregnancies persist. I don't think anything more can be done.

Cheung Yuet-ching, Tseung Kwan O

Defection shines light on N Korea plight

I was interested to read the article "N Korean soldier defects to South" (October 7).

Things must be really desperate in North Korea for a soldier to kill his superiors and know that his entire family will be interrogated, imprisoned and most likely tortured because of his defection.

The fact that he was able to escape across the most heavily guarded border in the world is remarkable. How many more defections are actually taking place and not being reported?

In the modern world, and with a new leader, surely North Korea should be considering relaxing its border controls and allowing its citizens to live a more normal existence.

Andre Chiang, North Point

Time to curb worst excesses of HK media

I am writing about Alice Wu's comment on the mass media's inappropriate questions and abuse of power ("Hong Kong TV media should be ashamed of its insensitive ferry disaster reporting", October 9).

I totally agree with Ms Wu. Too much of what the media reports is just trying to attract a larger audience, and they take advantage of their privileged status. As Ms Wu stated, they kept blocking the way of the rescuers and ambulances which could have impeded the rescue effort. They also use freedom of press as an excuse to infringe on others' privacy.

As a reader, I don't need information about others' privacy, and I do not want information gained at the expense of others. It is high time the government took action to regulate the media in Hong Kong - not to restrict its rights, but to improve its quality.

Zoe Ngai Suet-yi, Tsuen Wan

Bad case of longing for colonial past

Perhaps Ray Peacock was trying to be humorous when he said "Ms Sze, if you believe so strongly in your motherland's approach to re-educating Hong Kong's politically disorientated youngsters, why on earth are you living in Hong Kong, and not on the mainland, where your love affair with national education might actually have some resonance" ("Values would find resonance across border", October 8).

If I remember correctly, Hong Kong reverted to Chinese sovereignty on July 1, 1997, and was renamed a special administrative region of China.

Therefore, whether Ms Sze is living in Hong Kong or on the mainland makes no difference.

My guess is that Mr Peacock is still suffering from nostalgia for the colonial era.

K.C. Wong, Sha Tin


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Does the SCMP have guidelines regarding the publishing of offensive language used in its letters column? I would like to think that under “One Country, Two Systems” Hong Kong’s citizens can express their opinions without being called “morons” in a highly respected newspaper – letter from Lu Ping, 12 October 2012.
I am pained to see the now frequent diatribes appearing on the Letters page, which display intolerance of, and disrespect for, the views of others, and which often descend to the level of personal insults. These writers are falling short of commonly recognised boundaries of acceptable behaviour.
With the recent record breaking high price of real estate in Hongkong, and all the blames on mainland buyers, hoarding of land by the developes. .Realistically, there is no real solution to tackle this problem. One of the main reasons is the low interest rate the world has never faced before as far as we can remember. My humble opinion is, price of properties will fall when interest goes up, and this increase will bound to come sooner or later. Just imagine if the prime rate goes up by 2%, a monthly payment of a $5million mortgage will go up by almost $8500 a month. Is it going to happen, I bet it will. There are uncertainties also clouding Hong Kong. The foreseeable future is world economy slow down will not help the economy in China, I doubt it if the number of mianlanders will snap up properties as crazy as now. What about the South China sea problem, once military conflicts encountered in these regions, property price will fall like buckets.The C.Y. adminstration is trying to hard to start building these so called low cost housing nowadays. Can the Hongkong government afford to do it, I doubt it very much with the high land cost the way it is now and Hongkong's reserves depend heavily on land auctions. What are we expecting to stop price increase now? It is a pipe dream that it is going to come anytime soon.
William Loo, Calgary, Canada
Being a Hongkonger born in late 30s and educated in Hong Kong, I would like to tell Mr. Lu that we do not want to be an independent state. We uphold the principle of One Country Two System. Let the HK government run HK according to the need and wishes of it residents The ones who are breaking it are those who court favour from the Central Government. Please advise your comrades in western district to keep the hands off our local affairs.
One country two systems Mr Wong
Did the former director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office really just threaten to kill everyone in HK if the city were to opt for independence?
@ Lu Ping
Nice to hear from you Mr. Lu.
I do so hope you're enjoying your well-earned retirement after so-ably and rationally handling those difficult and protracted hand-over negotiations between 1990 and 1997. Many young people in Hong Kong just don't realize and appreciate what a positive contribution you made to those talks.
I just love your use of the word "morons" and that's exactly what many of these demonstrators and "democracy" politicians are.
@SCMP, do you really believe it necessary to censor the word " s e x " ?!
and also "t i t" as in "t it for tat" and "s c r e w" as in what engineers use with nuts!
This is like in the Little Britain comedy sketch.... "computer says no !"
The on-line Guardian newspaper in UK allows any profanity you like. including the 'F' word
@ Lu Ping - Singapore seceded from Malaysia and I understand the two are still able to agree on drinking water. Contrary to blinkered, absolutist views such as yours, in the real world, cooperation does not require integration.
@ Cheung Yuet-ching, your naivety is staggering. What do you think is more harmful to a teenage girl's future - resort to emergency contraception or bearing a child that she has no means to support? Preaching abstinence simply does not work, regardless of how good a place's sex education is (and HK's is not that good).


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