Letters to the Editor, January 8, 2013

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 January, 2013, 12:43am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 January, 2013, 2:58am


Drying fins is sensible use of available space

I do not accept the claim that rooftop drying of shark fins or any other animal or plant product is a “dirty trade” (“Shark fin blanketing roof proves dirty trade thrives”, January 4).

A more plausible explanation is that it is wise and industrious use of available space where land is inordinately expensive. That Alex Hofford, of the Hong Kong Shark Foundation, considers Chinese people “greedy” for eating shark fins, while allegedly ignoring animal rights issues, is insulting.

Claims that sharks are “finned alive” during commercial shark fishing operations are editing fabrications or the result of deliberate, staged acts undertaken specifically by shark campaigners and underwater camera operators to get the film footage they need to shock people. Failing to respond to such hype is hardly an index of greed.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) provides no evidence sharks are threatened with biological extinction. It assembles data on the extent of population decline due to commercial fishing for tuna, sharks and other species. If excessive, the appropriate management action is to reduce fishing pressure, not to stop eating seafood.

Similarly, the French should not stop eating frogs’ legs because the IUCN considers 34 species have become extinct.

Charlie Lim, chairman, conservation and management committee, Marine Products Association


Tuna being wiped out through greed

To deplete the oceans of sharks and bluefin tuna cannot be blamed on ignorance of their endangered status.

It’s mainly the educated and wealthy who, through their gluttony, are devouring the species to the brink of extinction. Only when the so-called connoisseurs, who value food based on its scarcity, discover that its disappearance deprives them of their culinary pleasure will they lament too late its demise.

For the rest of us, regret will be a worthless emotion as the diversity of the ocean crumbles due to human greed.

As long as there is money to be made, the killing will not stop. Only overwhelming support for a ban on the harvesting of endangered sea life will allow a glimmer of hope that stocks may one day recover.

In the meantime, it’s up to the individual to make a lone stand by refusing to eat bluefin tuna and shark’s fin soup, for when the buying stops, the killing will too.

Joan Miyaoka, Sha Tin


Allow chief executive to get on with job

Hong Kong is a serious city with serious problems. It is time to cease this schoolyard bullying and focus on the issues that affect the daily lives of people who do not own numerous homes on The Peak or Kowloon Tong, but reside in subsidised housing that is smaller then the illegal structures in question.

Yes, Leung Chun-ying has gravely erred in his management of this but he was elected to do a job; let’s allow him to continue with the good deeds he has achieved thus far.

His illegal structures are not acceptable, but neither is Henry Tang ying-yen now adding fuel to the fire as he sows the seeds for his eventual re-run for the chief executive position in 2017.

Hong Kong’s leaders are the victims of their own vanity. It is time for the bickering to stop, and get on with the serious business of making Hong Kong the city it should be and not the city we presently have.

Mark Peaker, The Peak


CY’s political actions show a lack of wisdom

We all know that politics, by nature, is dirty.

Leung Chun-ying won the chief executive election by exploiting his opponent’s weakness (an unauthorised structure). But he didn’t realise that people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

He published a long statement to defend a wrong issue, which I think was really stupid.

He then appeared in the Legislative Council chamber and did not take the opportunity to clear himself, which was even more unwise.

I don’t think honesty and integrity are prerequisites for a good politician, but political wisdom is. The way he handled his problem with illegal structures shows that he doesn’t have that kind of wisdom.

Felix Shin, Kowloon City


Law on ‘illegal’ structures is out of date

I refer to Michael Chugani’s Public Eye column (“CY’s double-talking outshines his good deeds”, January 2).

Surely a first step would be to have a public inquiry into Hong Kong’s building codes – they currently seem to date back to archaic colonial requirements?

I have previously installed “trellises” and similar structures in a London house without any permission being required. Indeed, I understand Britain’s planning and building regulations have recently been so relaxed that none of this mess would have occurred and many “illegal” structures in the New Territories would be similarly covered.

Surely this would defuse much of this row? I exclude the basement of Henry Tang Ying-yen, which is in an entirely different league.

O. Wingate-Gray, Kwun Tong


Wedding cash gift giving now excessive

I think it is a shame that guests at wedding banquets in Hong Kong feel the need to give so much in their gift envelopes.

There seems to be an unspoken rule with sums ranging from HK$500 to HK$1,000. These sums are expected in order for the couple getting married to cover the cost of the food and drink at the banquet.

These sums keep increasing and if guests do not pay up, the couple could lose a lot of money.

This money should be seen as a gift which represents the blessing of the couples and it should not matter how much a guest gives.

The couple should just be happy that friends have come to share this special day with them.

I would like to see a change of attitude. Perhaps in future, people could give a gift rather than giving money and the happy couple will not consider its value.

We seem to be getting away from the purpose of the wedding, which is to for everyone involved to share in this happy occasion.

William Lam, Ma On Shan


Migrants must be offered more help

Many mainlanders have come to live in Hong Kong.

Some of these migrants have had difficulty adapting to the busy way of life in this city.

Research has shown that even after living here for up to 10 years, mainland people still experience discrimination.

This can take a number of forms, but often it comes down to Hongkongers giving verbal abuse to the mainland migrants.

I do not understand why some Hong Kong citizens will not accept mainlanders who have been issued visas to stay here. After all, we are all Chinese and we come from the same country.

There should be no discrimination against mainlanders who come to live here.

It is perfectly understandable that they would want to migrate to the SAR.

They believe they have the prospect of a better and more stable life in the city and better education for their children.

I think new migrants must be offered more help, especially if they have difficulty finding work and adapting to the different lifestyle in this city.

I believe we can all play our part in trying to get along with migrants and ensuring that we can all coexist in a harmonious society.

Yeung Wai-ki, Tai Wai


Women-only carriages are impractical

I agree with correspondents who have argued against having women-only MTR carriages.

With regard to sexual harassment, I recognise the importance of self-defence and taking precautions, such as, for instance, wearing jeans or trousers, instead of shorts or skirts, wearing T-shirts, rather than deep V-neck shirts.

Some women have called for women-only MTR carriages, however, this is hardly fair to men. It is as if all men are being stigmatised. The fact is that men are sometimes falsely accused of sexual assault.

I think any plan to have segregated carriages could prove hugely controversial.

The MTR is a public transport system and all people have the right to use it on an equal basis.

Apart from the issue of sexual equality, questions would have to be raised about how it could be supervised.

Supervision on such a large network could prove to be difficult and what if a man boarded a women-only carriage by mistake? Should he be arrested?

There would have to be extra compartments for each train. Having separate coaches could prove very costly for the MTR Corporation.

Presumably, the additional costs would be passed on to MTR passengers through higher fares.

Milly Wong, Lamma