Letters to the Editor, May 15, 2013
No truth in report of deal
Referring to your Lai See column entitled "Henry Tang buys historic property in Australia" (May 14), I want to clarify that there is not a shred of truth in the story.
It is totally incorrect to say that I have recently bought Lyndsay Park in Barossa Valley in South Australia. Any alleged claims in the story are wrong.
This column is written without verification from me or at least my media consultant.
Turn food waste into fertiliser
More than 3,500 tonnes of food waste is generated in Hong Kong every day.
The government is failing to deal with this problem. And it is becoming more urgent given that the city's landfills are nearing capacity.
The situation is becoming serious and we must come up with measures which deal with this problem.
With proper waste disposal procedures, food waste can be turned into fertiliser. The kind of technology that makes this possible is advanced and could be done in Hong Kong.
What is needed to make this possible is to establish better management of recycling procedures. There are already food waste recycling programmes in place in some schools and private firms. This needs to be extended so that it covers public and private estates throughout the SAR.
Recycling of food waste should be made compulsory so that none of it ends up in our already overstretched landfills. The government could also provide subsidies to charities and environmental groups so they could get actively involved in the collection and recycling process.
At present with limited agricultural activity in Hong Kong there is no great demand for fertiliser, but this could change. I think it is feasible to ensure the expansion of the farming sector, including in urban areas.
There are many small plots of land which are not in use and are scattered throughout Hong Kong. They have the potential to be developed for small-scale farming projects. To get them started would require the co-operation of district councils, environmental organisations and the government.
If these cottage industries were successful then demand for fertiliser would increase. Also, they would offer more job opportunities.
Most of the vegetables we now buy in the market are brought in from the mainland. If more locally grown products entered the market, this would be particularly useful when there was a natural disaster over the border which disrupted supply and in the past would lead to price fluctuations.
The government will soon issue a blueprint on waste management. I hope it will come up with an effective strategy to deal with the problem successfully.
John Leung Yat-ming, Tuen Mun
Learn to get on with mainland visitors
Hong Kong accommodates different races of people with different languages, faiths, perceptions, beliefs and even sexual orientations.
In this vast world we will often encounter people who lead entirely different lifestyles from our own. But that is no excuse for showing prejudice.
For example, we see all too frequent instances of Hongkongers expressing very derogatory views of their mainland compatriots.
These visitors are often accused of buying up flats and inflating prices, frequenting designer shops and creating other problems for locals.
But is it right or fair to stereotype a whole group of people in this way?
People are always striving for better lives.
It is the reason so many Hong Kong people have migrated abroad and it is for the same reason that some mainland citizens seek migrant status here.
Surely, we should not reproach them for that.
We should be willing to recognise that each person is unique and respect that.
After all, we all have to live together in this world and residents here have to learn to make concessions and to be willing to compromise.
Harmony in a society comes from people showing mutual respect for one another no matter how different they may be.
Surely it is better to greet someone with a smile and surely showing respect is a form of behaviour that all of us can follow?
I really believe there is no excuse in our society for not treating everyone we meet with respect and without showing any bias.
There have been misunderstandings with mainland citizens when they have been visiting Hong Kong.
All Hongkongers have a duty to clear up any of these misunderstandings with our mainland neighbours and with other people who live here or visit, of whatever race.
Jesse Ng, Yau Ma Tei
Worried about vote problems in Pakistan
I went to my designated polling station in Lahore, Pakistan, on Saturday afternoon to vote in the national election.
I presented my computerised national identity card to the polling officer in attendance and was shocked to be told that I had already voted.
I insisted that I had just arrived to vote and had not been there earlier in the day. There was no ink mark on my thumb which was proof that I hadn't voted.
However, the polling official insisted that he had a list, as had all the political parties' observers, which showed I had voted. He did not suggest any remedy for the situation.
He appeared to take the matter very lightly as if nothing serious had happened.
He suggested I just go home and relax.
I knew my rights, that I was entitled to vote and that by doing so it would cancel out the other vote. I repeated my request to be allowed to vote and told him if he refused I would go to the media.
Only then did he relent, but I have doubts about whether it was actually counted.
How was someone able to vote without my identity card?
If a fake national identity card was used, then how many other fakes were out there being used to cast bogus votes and in effect undermine the election process?
Also, how many other voters suffered this misfortune and how many were willing to take a stand as I did?
Many people are still poorly educated in Pakistan. They might not have known that they could assert their rights and might just have accepted what the polling official had told them.
I am particularly concerned about this possibly happening with women in polling stations. So much for fair elections in Pakistan, in 2013.
Shahzad Khalid, Lahore, Pakistan
Donation should have had conditions
I was concerned about the way in which the Hong Kong government donated HK$100 million to help with the Sichuan earthquake relief work.
Corruption is a most serious problem on the mainland and many people in Hong Kong feared that the money would not reach the people who needed it and instead go to organisations with a dubious track record.
I also doubted if the mainland needed the money, given how much Beijing has spent, for example, constructing railways in Africa thanks to its substantial financial reserves.
I wanted to see any money donated go to reputable charities with conditions attached, so that it directly helped the victims of the quake.
Had I been sure this was going to happen I would have been willing to make a donation to show my support for the people who have suffered.
Catherine Chan, Kwai Chung