Letters to the Editor, December 23, 2012
Deng's aim to bring Taiwan back into fold
I refer to Rupert Li's letter ("HK can help mainland create a more enhanced rule of law system", December 16) commenting on Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee's column ("Hong Kong's place in a family of 1.3 billion", December 9).
While I agree with Mr Li's view that maintenance of Hong Kong's separate systems is instrumental to the next stage of China's reform, I disagree that the chief motivation for Deng Xiaoping's "one country, two systems" concept was to replicate Hong Kong's system on the mainland.
As is well documented, the "one country, two systems" concept was put forward with a view to bringing Taiwan back into the fold.
The concept precedes Sino-British negotiations on the return of Hong Kong to China.
It shows that China is willing to negotiate and allow varying degrees of flexibility within the country in order to accommodate territories which have been under foreign or non-socialist administration and have developed separate values and systems. But the prime objective remains national unity. I agree also that Hong Kong has a special role to play as the catalyst for China's legal reform.
The Qianhai special region for the acceleration of the development of financial services on the mainland is a case in point. In Qianhai, special arrangements will supposedly be made for disputes to be settled in accordance with the common law system. But such an experiment is a double-edged sword.
If it fails, it will dampen enthusiasm for Hong Kong's usefulness. If it succeeds, it could spell more breakneck competition for Hong Kong in the long term and a greater threat of marginalisation.
Francis Li, Wan Chai
Surprised by 'respect' for judicial system
In Regina Ip's article ("HK's place in a family of 1.3b", December 9) extolling the virtues of greater mutual "understanding" between the mainland and ourselves one line make one's hair stand on end.
As such, it deserves to be quoted in full, "Hong Kong should also respect the socialist system practised on the mainland, especially its administrative and judicial systems."
I invite Mrs Ip to restate loud and clear that she believes the judicial system as practised on the mainland (that's the one where verdicts are decided before the trial takes place) should be an object for our admiration.
David Konn, Kwai Chung
Politicians - be careful what you wish for
The politicians and protesters calling for Leung Chun-ying to quit as chief executive singularly fail to say who should replace him - Henry Tang Ying-yen, perhaps?
However, they should be careful what they ask for; it may well be direct rule from Beijing.
David Chappell, Lamma
Intelligent people should know better
The list of the Chinese cities which consume the most wildlife has Guangzhou leading the pack, with Beijing and Shanghai reportedly eating fewer endangered animals ("In the market for a taste of the wild", December 16).
It is ironic that "well-educated men with high incomes are the major consumers of wildlife".
This may indicate that Guangzhou has a large, well-educated population which is depleting its wildlife for its meals when intelligent people should know better.
The generally poor regard which this part of the world has for animals is truly tragic. It bodes poorly for our planet.
L.M.S. Valerio, Tin Hau
E-books do more good than harm
Those in favour of having more electronic books in schools argue that they are eco-friendly and will bring financial savings to pupils.
Opponents argue that they can damage students' health and that people who spend too long looking at the screen are at risk of developing eye-related problems.
Under a government-funded scheme, only 88 schools will be involved in a trial paperless learning scheme.
I believe the use of e-textbooks should be promoted in more Hong Kong schools as soon as possible because they do more good than harm.
One of the strongest reasons for using them is cost. The price of printed textbooks has been rising steadily over the past 10 years, putting a lot of financial pressure on families.
Some parents face a bill of thousands of dollars each academic year even at elementary grade level.
Of course, to read an e-book you need some kind of device, which can cost thousands, but this is a one-off payment.
From an environmental point of view, with reduced demand for printed books, there will be less waste of natural resources. So much paper, and therefore wood, will be saved. There will also be less in the way of carbon emissions, created during the production of textbooks.
On the health issue, I agree it is not good for the eyes to look at a screen throughout the day without any kind of break. But young people are looking at computer screens all the time, on their smartphones, electronic tablets and computers. Using e-books is just an extension of an inevitable trend.
Many students and parents have been waiting for e-textbooks to be introduced in the classroom.
I hope that more schools will be able to can join the Education Bureau's e-book scheme given the benefits that it brings.
Kellia Wan, Tseung Kwan O
Schools better off sticking with textbooks
I refer to the letter by Kasey Lee ("E-books will result in much lighter load", December 16).
Although I think using e-books can help save a lot of paper, they are not necessarily the best medium for textbooks. The students will have to bring along electronic devices to read the e-books. Though they are lighter to carry than textbooks, laptops and tablets are not cheap. If the school provides computers for students, this will have to come out of its budget and if the government does not help, the financial burden could be passed on to parents. Also, it is not healthy for young people to spend too much time looking at computer screens. They already spend a lot of time on smartphones and computers. If young people are using a computer to read an e-book there is always the danger they will be distracted and look at Facebook or play computer games. It will be difficult for teachers to monitor this.
Young people can read e-books during their leisure time, but textbooks should prevail in the classroom.
Kenneth Ng, Kwun Tong
Waste levy can help raise awareness
Hong Kong is a beautiful city, but the ugly truth is that we generate an enormous amount of rubbish.
Because of this the government intends to introduce "municipal solid waste charges by 2016" ("Government launches war on food waste", December 4).
Opponents argue it will be inconvenient and create financial problems for people on low incomes who will struggle to pay the charge. They also say it will lead to some individuals dumping their household rubbish on the street rather paying the levy and this will create hygiene and health problems.
However, I think the government can deal with this problem by employing more refuse collection staff. This will keep the streets clean and lower the unemployment rate.
In order to avoid having to pay the levy people will do their best to generate less waste and there will be less pressure on our landfills.
The proposed waste levy can be seen as another way of protecting the environment and will bring revenue to the government.
Marco Chan, Tseung Kwan O
Recycling efforts are undermined
With the emphasis on recycling, I am extremely disappointed to note that having carefully sorted my rubbish and placed things in the appropriate bins, the person who then collects the rubbish just empties the bins together with all the general refuse.
Having spoken to friends I have found that this practice happens in other apartment buildings as well.
Could someone in authority explain just exactly how recycling of domestic waste works in Hong Kong?
Judith Ritchie, Central
We can all save more energy in our homes
Hong Kong is an international city but with so many high-rise buildings.
They use a lot of electricity and a great deal of energy is being wasted in these buildings and by individual citizens.
People need to become more aware of this and try to prevent waste, not just when it comes to electricity but also with food.
We can all play our part to protect the earth's resources. People should only buy the food they intend to eat. At home, they should unplug all electrical equipment not in use and switch off all lights when they leave a room.
Wan Chung-yee, Tseung Kwan O