Letters to the Editor, February 7, 2013
Zero-tolerance approach to doping
I refer to Alvin Sallay's article on cyclist Steven Wong's doping case ("Wong makes us all look like dopes", January 27).
On behalf of the Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China and the Hong Kong Anti-Doping Committee (HKADC), I would like to make clarifications regarding his comments about the disclosure of Wong's case.
The HKADC, which operates under the auspices of the federation, is in charge of the anti-doping programme in Hong Kong.
As was mentioned in the article, the International Cycling Union (UCI), which executed the sanction on Wong, is the testing authority for this case. It notified the relevant organisations, including the Hong Kong Cycling Association and HKADC on May 31, 2012 about the adverse analytical findings from a sample collected from Wong.
On November 22, the HKADC received the UCI's notification on Wong's formal acceptance of the sanction being imposed. The HKADC, in its letter of November 30, formally reminded the cycling association of the need to execute the sanction, that is, to observe his two-year period of ineligibility.
According to the World Anti-Doping Code, it is the primary responsibility of the testing authority that is directly involved to publicly make known the violation case after the alleged offender has conceded his violation.
The UCI published Wong's violation on its website in late December. The HKADC immediately acted and publicly disclosed the case on its website on December 29.
The HKADC observed the standard protocol to publicly disclose this doping case only after the primary testing authority has done so.
Both the federation and the HKADC adopt zero tolerance with regard to doping and are committed to operating a world- standard anti-doping programme in Hong Kong.
There should never be any intention of covering up any doping case.
All previous doping cases that have been handled by the HKADC have been publicly disclosed on its website shortly after completion of the result management process. Details of all doping cases being handled by HKADC have also been publicly reported to the local sport community at the federation's routine council meetings on a bimonthly basis.
As stated in the "HKADC Statement on Steven Wong's doping case", published on the HKADC's official website on January 23, the federation and HKADC will continue fighting against doping and promoting fair play in Hong Kong.
Pang Chung, honorary secretary general, Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China
Loving family environment is what matters
While not denying the heartache and prejudice experienced by Hong Kong orphans adopted by British families in the 1960s ("HK orphans 'subjected to racism in Britain'", February 4), the reality is that perfect racial matches between a child and his/her adoptive parents are not always possible.
Does that mean a child should remain in institutional care even though he/she can find a loving family home with parents of a different race? At PathFinders, a charity that helps pregnant migrant women in Hong Kong who are primarily foreign domestic helpers, the children born are often of mixed race.
For a mother who makes the difficult decision to place her mixed-race child up for adoption, her hope is that her baby will be adopted by a loving family who would be able to offer her child opportunities that she could never give, regardless of the race of the adoptive parents.
Yes, race is important to identity and prejudice may be encountered by these children growing up if they are adopted by parents of a different race.
However, our aim as a society should be to protect children of all races by placing them in a loving family environment where they can blossom, rather than languish in institutional care.
Kylie Uebergang, executive director and co-founder, PathFinders
Lighten up on draconian park rules
I was walking along the Central and Western district promenade when I noticed a sign saying no cycling was allowed and no dogs. If I go into a park in Hong Kong, I see more signs imposing restrictions on users.
It is time for us to rethink the purposes of parks and public promenades.
The hoardings on the Central and Western district promenade say in large letters that it is a waterfront promenade for public enjoyment, and rightly so.
Parks are also designed for people to enjoy.
They are there for individuals to do things that they otherwise cannot do in their cramped apartments in Hong Kong.
If we obey all the restrictions, we can only stroll, sit on a bench twitching our fingers (for we cannot feed the pigeons), and very few other activities. But these are supposed to be places where you can relax.
We should be able to cycle, walk our pets, exercise on roller blades, and do other things such as singing Cantonese opera and practising Chinese martial arts. Times have changed. We have to jettison the old mindset of developing the rules and restrictions for the convenience of those who are managing the parks.
Instead, we have to embrace a new mindset to facilitate the use of public space for all potential users to enjoy during park opening hours.
Dennis Li, Mid-Levels
Kennedy Town parking spaces in short supply
I think I'm correct in stating that you cannot park in Hong Kong unless it says you can.
I live in Kennedy Town where, five years ago, we had at least four open-air car parks. Sadly, all have gone. There are precious few private roadside vehicle parking meters, so parking really is a problem.
In the last five years, Kennedy Town has changed. Bars and restaurants are opening up, attracting many more visitors to the area, so the parking need is more acute.
There are many streets in Kennedy Town which are perfectly suitable for parking without causing an obstruction, and many people do park illegally. Every so often, traffic police issue parking tickets.
So why doesn't the local council do a survey of suitable streets and allow parking? Install parking meters or, better still, adopt the pay-and-display system that is widely used in European countries.
The council would benefit from the income and the driver would know where he or she stands. If anyone sees a flaw in this idea, I would be interested to hear from them.
Howard Cowley, Kennedy Town
US dominance hurting local film industry
Going to the cinema is a good way for people to relax.
However, in Hong Kong, the strongest cinema influence is now from the US. I would estimate that more than 80 per cent of the films being shown in our cinemas are from America.
Also, many of the programmes we watch on television, such as The Simpsons, are also from there. Locally made films, which were very popular among Hong Kong cinema audiences in the 1980s, appear to be in decline.
You might see a few local productions being advertised, but most now come from Hollywood.
I do not think this is a good thing for us. While we can say that we are being exposed to a different culture apart from our own, there is a downside.
These films have adversely affected Hong Kong's homegrown film industry. The really good productions made here in the 1980s were action films, crime dramas and martial-arts- themed films.
The martial arts films influenced directors in the West, who incorporated fight scenes in their films.
However, the Hong Kong output became repetitious and local movie-goers started switching to Hollywood films.
The problem with the dominance of Hollywood is that its cultural influence is global. It seems most cities import films from the US and I don't think it is a good thing if we are all watching the same entertainment.
I would like to see Hong Kong citizens showing more support for local films as they reflect life in our city.
I do hope that the US dominance will end and that we will eventually see a revival of the film industry here.
Marcus Man Pui-hei, Mong Kok
School heads should ban smartphones
Smartphones are becoming increasingly popular in our society and virtually everyone seems to have one.
They are certainly convenient, but it appears as though some people are almost inseparable from their smartphone.
I do not think they should be allowed in our schools.
Although they bring obvious benefits, there are also disadvantages which cannot be ignored. Youngsters who go into a classroom and do not switch off their device will disrupt other pupils if it starts to ring.
There is also the peer pressure issue. Richer students may flaunt the newest model and young people from low-income families will feel inferior because they have an older mobile.
Parents should tell students to stick with an older model if it does the job required and schools should impose a total ban so that they cannot be used within the school campus.
Carl Man, Yuen Long