Letters to the Editor, December 13, 2012
Leung acted like normal homeowner
It would be hilarious if Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying had to step down because apparently he failed to declare some minor structures that are called "illegal".
Any homeowner around the world would find it hard to understand why you cannot make changes to your garage or trellis as you please, if you are the legitimate owner of your property and if the structures are not obstructing others and would not cause a danger to the overall structure.
The so-called illegal structures are only illegal due to some administrative rules in Hong Kong, the enforcement of which was extremely lax in the past.
If politicians want to bring Leung down, I think they need to dig harder at issues that they feel have a direct bearing on his integrity.
I do not see why some lawmakers are pressing so hard on Leung. If we took a closer look, I wonder if we would find any unauthorised structures in the homes or offices of some of these legislators.
If this is not called hypocrisy, I don't know what is.
Agnes Liu, Siu Sai Wan
Stop this petty bickering over minor issue
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying was elected by a legal and accepted committee to represent all the people of Hong Kong.
Granted, a lot of the people would have preferred him to have been elected by universal suffrage.
However, what if all this petty fuss and bickering continues about illegal structures and prevents him from performing the duties he was duly elected to carry out? How much credence will Beijing give universal suffrage when the time is right if Hong Kong cannot agree on such minor issues as illegal structures under the current system?
It is time to get over it and let the man do his job. If people think universal suffrage is going to be any better, or easier, remember the attempts to get rid of a US president who admitted he had oral sex in the Oval Office with one of his female subordinates and refused to step down.
I, too, believe in universal suffrage, but we are going to have to be a lot stronger and tougher to earn it.
People should stop being cry babies. Let C.Y. lead under the system to which he was elected. Work with him, not against him.
The US and England did not get universal suffrage overnight. They fought hard for it over many years and many lives were lost.
Anti-C.Y. protests are reminiscent of the former Red Guards.
Daniel R. O'Connor, Happy Valley
Doubts about C.Y.'s integrity will remain
The long-awaited question and answer session at the Legislative Council, where Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying spoke about his unauthorised structures, once again highlighted his insincerity and obstinacy.
His poker face and repetition of phrases throughout the session gave the impression that he was reluctant to respond.
He added fuel to the flames by saying, "I did not say I had no illegal structure". Leung had been quick to attack his rival in the chief executive race, Henry Tang Ying-yen, over Tang's illegal basement. This was the turning point of the election as it raised doubts about Tang's integrity.
In the question and answer session, Leung only admitted his negligence in addressing the problem of illegal structures, but shirked the major concern of the public - his integrity.
In his 14-page statement last month, Leung admitted that he had sealed a [200 sq ft] space [last year]. This would suggest he knew he was breaking building regulations.
In addition, Leung said that the incident was the "first time he had dealt with illegal structures" ("Buildings probe into C.Y. hits a brick wall", November 28). However, it is now known that "he had demolished an unauthorised glass corridor at his former house in Stanley" 12 years ago. Questions remain unanswered. He is unable to dispel the suspicion that he has not been honest with an angry public.
Leung appears to be teetering on the edge of a cliff. If all we get from him are token gestures and he fails to give further clarification, this will probably be his last Christmas in charge.
Karen Lee, To Kwa Wan
Impartiality is what matters, not nationality
Judges in the city have always been professional and impartial.
The essential quality of a good judge is that quality of impartiality in rulings. It is the ability not to tilt towards either party and to make professional and morally right judgments.
It is not necessary to substitute the judges in our top court with Chinese nationals.
The public would be apprehensive if all Court of Final Appeal judges were Chinese nationals.
Lee Cheuk-ming, Discovery Bay
Smartphones transformed people's lives
I refer to April Zhang's article on smartphones ("Phoney relations", December 6).
Obviously Ms Zhang longs for the return of the "simple life" when every labourer was worth his toil and every community lived in isolated, idyllic bliss, without the stresses and strains associated with modern life.
Nostalgia is fine but most often it is bathed in an amber glow, often by people who have not lived through a period when there were few labour-saving devices and even fewer people who could afford them.
She talks as if brain tumours, damaged eyesight and defective hearing are solely caused by smartphones.
Technology has improved the lives of millions whether it be household appliances, computers, or improvements in medical diagnosis and treatment, amongst many other uses and applications.
Consider the millions in Africa, India and China who until recently had no access to phones because of high infrastructure costs. The mobile phone has enabled millions of people to get connected to others. Ask grandmothers whether they prefer to wash clothes in a washing machine or by hand.
While it is true that many people seem to spend an inordinate amount of time glued to their smartphones, it is also true that they are corresponding more often with more people than ever before.
When I was a child, we used to play with two cocoa tins connected with string and communicate with our friends that way. No doubt the lead content of those tins was detrimental to our health.
The world was forever thus.
Michael Jenkins, Central
Solid waste charge should be last resort
Secretary for the Environment, Wong Kam-sing, speaking about the Food Wise Hong Kong campaign, talked about the implementation of municipal solid waste charging. However, he did not say much about other waste management initiatives.
A charge will bring about a reduction in the amount of waste generated, but the use of a blunt club is not the only way to go.
I would like to see a raft of other measures adopted first, with the government pledging that a waste levy would only be introduced as a last resort.
It is not the "little man" who is causing all the pollution. The problem is that there is a lack of a spirited management policy which, when implemented, would need to be decentralised. People are frustrated that it is very difficult for them to participate in any clean-up policy.
We need sorting-recycling stations in villages and urban street blocks, with bins being of a reasonable size. There should be on-site chipping and composting of residues and cuttings from parks. Also, a return to home chicken and small-scale pig rearing is needed in the countryside.
These initiatives would create employment, not just at lower levels but in research into bio-reduction, design innovation, and technologies appropriate to a green economy. And all of this would stop money from moving outside the Hong Kong economy.
It is time for Mr Wong to put his thinking cap back on.
Tony Henderson, chairman, Humanist Association of Hong Kong
New policy could face stiff resistance
I am concerned about the quantity-based waste disposal charge that the government is planning to introduce.
While I think the policy can improve Hong Kong's environment and image, this charge will be difficult to implement.
Getting property management companies to co-operate will prove difficult.
Some firms may be unwilling to spend the additional sums required to employ staff to process the refuse.
It could also lead to these employees facing an increased workload. Therefore, these firms will oppose the new policy.
When a waste charge is introduced, you tend to see more illegal dumping. The government may decrease the number of rubbish bins on streets to deal with this, but this could lead to hygiene problems and more work for street cleaners.
Given the hurdles it could face, it is important for the government, during the public consultation process, to see how people envisage the actual implementation of the policy.
Karina Chow, Tseung Kwan O