Letters to the Editor, May 17, 2013
Blame tycoons, not dockers, for social ills
Joyce Hung says that the logistics sector has been hurt by the dockers' strike and says we all have a responsibility to try to create a harmonious community ("'Success' for strikers has hurt society", May 10).
I agree with her closing statement about harmony but it is not the dockers who are hurting this sector, but employers who are outsourcing to get cheaper labour. This practice is also followed by the Hong Kong government.
The parent company of the port operator is chaired by Li Ka-shing, one of the richest men in Asia.
Hong Kong employers have protested against an increase in the minimum wage, saying it would hurt their businesses.
Instead, they should protest against Mr Li and the other property tycoons and the landlords who raise rents to ridiculous levels with a take-it-or-leave-it attitude. They are the people who are damaging Hong Kong and its citizens. We pride ourselves on being Asia's world city. And yet this is a city where it has been proposed people live in containers under flyovers and where people already live in cage homes.
This is thanks to unaffordable property prices which are manipulated by tycoons like Mr Li. A harmonious community can be created only if there is a bit more equality and a better chance of living a decent life. This is difficult if you work 60-plus hours per week.
No one should have to live in cages or container homes.
I would suggest that your correspondent should be criticising Mr Li rather than the dockers.
Jeffry Kuperus, Clear Water Bay
Be humble to and tolerant of mainlanders
Former top mainland official Lu Ping has asked Hongkongers to "consider the feelings" of mainland citizens ("Lu Ping sounds a warning on influx of mainlanders", May 10). We should remember that mainlanders helped Hong Kong's economy recover following the Sars outbreak in 2003 with the individual visit scheme.
He is right to say that we should be sensitive to the feelings of people who visit from north of the border. There is no need to lose our temper and shout at them.
I think sometimes we forget our humble beginnings as a small village, now that Hong Kong has become an international financial centre.
I am not a fan of the pro-establishment camp. Also, I am not a supporter of the Beijing government, but we have to accept we are all Chinese.
Therefore, we should always try and get on with mainland visitors and ensure that we have a peaceful society. I am sure we can find ways to overcome our differences.
Christine Yiu Kwan-ching, Tai Wai
Formal Legco dress code gets cold shoulder
I couldn't disagree more with Daniel Wettling ("Legco dress code must ban 'Che' T-shirts and colourful jackets", May 13).
Who decides what is a "proper dress code"?
I'd much rather have a legislator in a T-shirt showing up for work, than one in a jacket and tie being absent.
Besides, if all of them accepted a more casual dress code, the Legco chamber would use less air-conditioning.
Ken Chan, Tai Po
Angry over bus route faulty data
I felt angry after reading the report about the proposed changes to bus routes in North District ("Councillors put brakes on plan to rejig bus routes", May 14).
I can understand KMB, as a commercial body, wanting to run profit-making routes only, but why does the Transport Department help them misrepresent the facts?
In the discussion on the 70X route, Vivian Kwan Kok-yan, a senior transport officer said, "Even during peak hours, the usage rate is less than 50 per cent."
I have been using this route for more than three years during rush hours and every day it is packed, with standing room only.
I would like to know exactly what data Ms Kwok uses when making such a comment in public.
Mikie Au Shui-ha, San Po Kong
US presents aggression as self-defence
I refer to the letter by Carlton Cash ("US is acting against aggressors", May 9), replying to the letter by Eric Comino ("US 'war on terror' lacks legitimacy", April 25).
It was ironic that Mr Cash cited Vietnam as an example of American "defence against aggressors".
The bombings in Boston were undoubtedly atrocious and I write not to trivialise the deaths of the three victims but rather to confer due respect to those who died as a result of American actions. Let us take the statement that "North Vietnam invaded South Vietnam".
Before this "invasion", the French, then the US, installed and actively maintained authoritarian regimes (Bao Dai, Ngo Dinh Diem) that were oppressive and responsible for the deaths of thousands of peasants.
During the years of direct American involvement, a potent combination of countless B-52 bombing raids and indiscriminate use of chemical warfare (the effects of which are still being suffered by those who survived) led, according to former secretary of defence Robert McNamara, to 3.4 million Vietnamese dead.
To say that this is morally superior in any way to the Boston bombing (detestable as it was) is proof of how ingrained and effective Western propaganda is.
Perhaps one of the most comprehensive and probing investigations was done by philosopher Bertrand Russell, when he set up an independent tribunal (the Russell Tribunal) between 1966 and 1967 to investigate acts of aggression in Vietnam. The tribunal concluded the US government was guilty of genocide in Vietnam.
It was scantly reported, if not distorted, by the Western media and its historical imprints have now faded into oblivion. It was accused of bias, a charge that philosopher Noam Chomsky acknowledged, saying there was no effort to conceal its "profound hatred of murder and wanton destruction".
I have limited myself to Vietnam, but there is also the American invasion of Iraq, since when a study in collaboration with the World Health Organisation puts civilian deaths at up to 150,000; and in Iran (forceful instalment of the Shah by the US). Also, of course, there is Nicaragua v United States in 1984, when the International Court of Justice ruled that, through direct support for the Contras carrying out acts of terror and guerilla warfare against the civilian population, America had violated international law.
Kenn Lau, Mid-Levels
Schools failing to nurture creativity
I agree with those who argue that the education system is failing to train young people to develop critical thinking and analytical skills.
Too often they are encouraged to memorise material from books and then regurgitate it in order to get high marks in exams and tests.
With language lessons the problem is that students adopt a "cocktail" approach, mixing Chinese and English words in oral exams.
They should be taught to become proficient in both languages.
If they struggle with their native tongue, because of a flawed education system, then how can they be expected to become proficient in another language?
Young Hongkongers have, and seek to have, their own opinions about things. They do not want to blindly follow the rote-learning system that persists in our schools.
They want to achieve their potential and learn to observe what is going on around them, analyse it, listen to different points of view and acquire critical thinking skills so they can form their own opinions.
The government should look at the education culture in Western countries, where students are encouraged to take the initiative and think independently.
Hong Kong pupils cannot get what they need from a system that encourages them to rote learn and then recite this material.
Our schools must provide society with the problem solvers it needs, people who as young people and then adults have the ability and confidence to think for themselves.
Kristan Lam, Tseung Kwan O
China can play important Mideast role
Regarding Alex Lo's column ("How China can help in the Middle East", May 8), he suggests the same stale arguments which promote no forward movement.
Of course Israel is not returning to 1967 borders when there is no recognition by a significant number of Palestinians and other Arabs that Israel, a non-Muslim country, has any right to exist in that part of the world, and too many rockets are being fired at Israel.
Beijing now has an opportunity to play a constructive role in the Middle East by seeking out and supporting the type of leadership that is strong enough to negotiate with Israel and retain power within the Arab/Palestinian community by deterring violent opposition.
Beijing can begin by offering counsel, aid and development, not weaponry, and insisting that this help must be a bridge to recognise Israel's right to coexist. Until this happens, no Israeli government in its right mind should budge an inch.
Ray Cooper, Hung Hom