Letters to the Editor, January 22, 2013
C.Y. is much better than predecessor
Albert Cheng King-hon writes an entertaining column, but in his latest offering ("Uninspired address should disappoint even the chief executive's supporters" January 18) he appears to have tripped over the line into fantasy and farce when he writes that with "regard to Leung, the pan-democratic lawmakers had no choice but to respond to widespread public outrage".
Who is Cheng trying to kid? The public outrage is virtually non-existent, and despite the concerted efforts of the democratic parties to whip up support for their protest march, the turn-up was anaemic.
An entrenched supporter of former chief executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, Cheng must find it galling that the new chief executive, Leung Chun-ying, is encouragingly active. This compares positively with the Tsang administration's timid inertia, where nothing appeared to get done without the full backing of the property tycoons.
For example, it was risible that in two terms of office Tsang was unable to get to grips with the Cross-Harbour Tunnel congestion and the New Territories' small-house policy.
Charlie Chan, Mid-Levels
Scare tactics are distorting proposed law
By the sound of your report, the "Inclusive Love Praying Concert" held on Sunday, January 13, was anything but inclusive and loving ("Christians in prayer rally to fight gay law proposal", January 14).
The attendees of that event, who I assume identify themselves as Christian and consider themselves well-versed with the Bible, appear to have forgotten Jesus' words in Matthew 22:39: "Love your neighbour as yourself." He didn't say "straight neighbour" or "Christian neighbour", he said "your neighbour", which means that all should love all.
Unfortunately, events like the Inclusive Love Praying Concert and the people who organise and attend them are a common, worldwide problem. It seems that in nearly every country which has recognised or is working to recognise the rights of sexual minorities, a small but loud group of people who say they are Christians appears and attempts to scare with accusations that recognising rights would somehow curtail religious freedom or otherwise force religious institutions to acknowledge same-sex relationships.
Fortunately, we now have a record from those same countries that in fact the sky doesn't fall when the rights of sexual minorities are recognised, and, when the dust settles, it becomes clear that those opposed to such rights were using religion only to disguise what they were really preaching: hate and intolerance.
Will Yip, Sheung Wan
Abe diverting attention from financial woes
The Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has announced that there is no room for negotiation on the issue of the sovereignty of the Diaoyu Islands.
Are the bare islands in the middle of nowhere really so important for Abe to antagonise Japan's most important trading partner worth US$340 billion a year, or does he have an ulterior motive?
Abe's real objective is to revive the ailing Japanese economy, which has been struggling between stagnation and recession for over two lost decades. His shock therapy is to print money and to step up government spending.
Whether such an unconventional policy will work, in a peaked-out economy with a shrinking population, is questionable. So the veteran prime minister needs to divert his electorate's attention to China, Japan's arch rival for centuries, so that they do not complain about the economic pain when his economic policy fails.
Meanwhile, by stoking nationalistic sentiment, Abe was able to win back his position as prime minister. Remember why Argentina waged war with Britain on the Falklands.
Abe's smokescreen strategy fits well into US President Barack Obama's Pacific strategy. After defeating the Soviet Union in the cold war, the US has no equal, except perhaps China. The 2008 Olympic gold medal count sent an alarming signal. Americans are concerned that what happened in sports may also happen in economic and other areas.
At the present growth rate, it looks likely that the Chinese economy will surpass the US before 2020. That is, unless Chinese high-speed growth, which is still driven by exports to the West, is derailed by a war with Japan, a Western ally.
But Deng Xiaoping , the architect of modern China, has already prescribed the solution: keep the head down and build strength.
Guy Lam, honorary chairman, the Association of Experts for Modernisation
Young people learning from our mistakes
I refer to Violet Chong's letter ("Shark fin trade helps poor fishermen", January 15) and wonder what is her background.
Any educated person understands the need to ban this ancient tradition. Has she not done a Google search, read newspapers, watched the news and kept up to date with current events to see there is no one campaigning for the positives of shark finning?
And are the shark finning advertisements really targeting the young?
The recent front-page news about the shark fins drying on a Hong Kong rooftop was aimed at the whole population - worldwide.
This is a global concern and one that is about an industry decimating shark populations. Surely, we should be pleased that the younger generation is learning from our mistakes?
T. M. Mason, North Point
No need for more halls of residence
The government should not give out more land to private universities nor, as Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee suggested, improve the infrastructure in public tertiary institutions, for example, building more halls of residence.
There is no doubt that there are not enough halls of residence at our universities.
However, Hong Kong is a small city and it has a convenient public transport system.
It is not necessary for all Hong Kong students to stay in these halls as they easily get to the university from their homes.
I think it would be better to use any spare land near tertiary institutions to provide more housing.
These areas are capable of having larger populations and building more flats would help to ease the housing problems which Hong Kong has.
Chow Yik-ming, Sha Tin
Students do deserve better facilities
I agree with those who argue that the government should improve infrastructure at public tertiary institutions, instead of giving out land to private universities.
First, in order to provide a better learning environment for the next generation, improving infrastructure is of fundamental importance.
The number of students who study at these public institutions is much greater than those studying at private universities.
Improving infrastructure at the former will help more students.
Also, many students are struggling financially. They study hard in order to get a place at a public university which is more affordable because of government subsidies.
There is high demand for places at these public colleges, therefore the government should consider improving the infrastructure as a priority.
The aim should always be to provide a pleasant studying environment for young people at all these colleges.
Angel Cheung Kin-yi, Sha Tin
Ensure that mainlanders stick to rules
There has been some discussion over an upcoming TV drama that will focus on the conflicts that break out between Hongkongers and mainlanders in the city.
I think that you often see conflicts breaking out at MTR stations.
There are two main reasons for these disagreements. First, either mainland visitors are not familiar with MTR regulations of they know them but choose to ignore them.
For example, they will often use escalators if they have heavy suitcases when they are supposed to use lifts. This makes Hong Kong citizens angry because if the visitors lose their grip of the case and it slips down the escalator, people could get injured.
And then there are the parallel traders from the mainland who try to get round the rules banning overloaded luggage from stations and trains, for example at Sheung Shui and Tai Po Market stations where I see very few MTR staff deal with the problem.
These traders can be aggressive, which angers Hong Kong people.
I believe the MTR Corporation should hire more employees to ensure that all passengers are following the regulations at stations.
If mainlanders were made to stick to the rules that they are ignoring, there would be fewer altercations between them and Hong Kong residents.
The MTR Corp is a very profitable company, so it could easily afford to recruit more people for this role to ensure everyone is following the rules.
Ho Tsz-sum, Tai Wai