Letters to the Editor, May 19, 2013

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 19 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 19 May, 2013, 3:55am


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Urgent action needed to stop destruction

The future belongs to our children, and every loving parent should want that future to include the biodiversity that we take for granted.

How sad if, due to our own apathy, we leave them nothing. Economic progress will become meaningless if there is nothing of beauty left to enjoy.

Our world is dying. We're on the brink of losing everything wonderful about it and yet self-interest continues to override common sense.

By 2050 there may be no fish left in our oceans. It's time to stop overfishing and start preserving, but we eat today and don't think about tomorrow.

So many creatures are becoming extinct due to our insistence on consuming them, whether in soups or traditional medicine, some purely to enhance virility.

It's time to stop the killing and save the species, but we don't. Forests are being cleared in the pursuit of profit, wiping out species and the tree cover needed to combat global warming. It's time to put nature first and ourselves last, but cash is king and we forget we cannot eat money.

The pandas will be soon be gone, their habitat becoming vineyards.

The pink dolphins will be suffocated by reclamation projects and the pollution we've poured into our sea. The endangered seahorses at Tai Mei Tuk will be replaced by artificial sand. The bad news goes on and on, yet still we don't clean up our act.

There is a glimmer of hope. We all have a voice and, maybe, for those of us who care, it's time to use it. When green groups have an online petition, sign it. Support their efforts.

If we are the reason the world is in dire straits, then at least we should try to reverse the damage we have done before we reach the point of no return. Greed and selfishness should not be allowed to stifle our survival.

With damning evidence of loss and destruction in the news every day, ignorance is no longer an excuse. Start to care because, although we're OK, our children and grandchildren will be the losers if we wipe out everything before they get to see it. All of us will be judged guilty should we fail them.

Joan Miyaoka, Sha Tin


Time to ban shark's fin trade in HK

Hawaii became the first US state to ban the sale, distribution or possession of shark fins in 2010. Basketball icon Yao Ming has joined forces with a green group in a worldwide publicity campaign calling for a stop to the killing of sharks for their fins. Many Canadian municipalities have passed bylaws banning the sale of shark fins, while the Ottawa government has received a petition seeking a national ban.

Some people think that eating shark's fin soup, an expensive delicacy, is desirable because it draws attention to their wealth and social status. I think the sale and consumption of shark fins should be banned.

Because the price of shark fins is high, this encourages fishermen to catch sharks for their fins only, decreasing shark numbers. If fin sales were banned, fishermen would stop catching the sharks.

Shark's fin makes tasty soup and has a good texture, but it can be replaced by other food, such as egg whites. If the world used egg white instead, sharks would not be killed.

Shark's fin is a symbol of wealth and power only. I strongly believe its sale should be stopped, and hope the government brings in a ban.

Sun Man-ching, Tseung Kwan O


HSBC switch cost time and money

Your story about HSBC's ATM cards no longer working in some significant overseas markets matched my own experience ("HSBC ATM cards less usable overseas", May 12).

Earlier this year, in Paris, my HSBC card was of no use at all. This was problematic for me and ended up costing me time and money.

The Paris branch of HSBC I contacted offered zero help on the basis that they were a separate entity to the Hong Kong one. When I subsequently complained to HSBC in Hong Kong, their response - that they had switched [from Plus and Link] to UnionPay and had become aware that the network might not work in all countries - was fairly shoddy to say the least.

The bank tediously trumpets itself as the world's local bank. Perhaps by local it instead means parochial.

Christopher Ruane, Lamma


Bizarre ATM move bad for business

I wonder if someone at HSBC could explain the bizarre recent decision to switch customers' ATM cards onto the China-based UnionPay ATM network, at a stroke rendering them as good as useless in many parts of the world.

On the face of it this looks like business suicide, as clients will doubtless switch to banks that do allow them to withdraw their cash.

Mark Regan, Lamma


Tactic speaks volumes for people power

I am writing about the recent filibuster in the Legislative Council, in which the debate on the budget was drawn out for three weeks. The issue of whether to stop or allow this debate provoked much controversy.

Advocates say the filibuster is a necessary tactic in the fight for a universal pension. However, the critics say it is a waste of taxpayers' money.

I am strongly convinced that the filibuster is the sole means by which Hongkongers can express their views.

In this so-called partially democratic government, we lack a group of representatives standing squarely on the people's side.

Legco is supposed to enact, amend or repeal laws, examine and approve budgets, approve taxation and public expenditure, and monitor the work of the government, yet it is the last place Hongkongers can expect to find their voice being heard.

Although the filibuster delayed the budget, it is high time the government dealt with the issue of a universal pension.

So I am inclined to support the action of People Power in the filibuster.

I think the government should not ban the filibuster and I hope the administration displays a pragmatic, positive attitude to this issue, and takes the interests of the community and people as its first priority.

Melody Yip, Tung Chung


Filibuster is childish and destructive

I write regarding the filibuster over the budget which was halted by the president of the Legislative Council.

Despite various comments on filibustering in principle, we can be sure of certain points.

The filibuster consumed large amounts of valuable Legco time, adding to the ever growing backlog of essential legislation on issues of critical importance to the successful future of Hong Kong.

Those conducting the filibuster were playing Russian roulette with the best interests of the poor and those in need in Hong Kong, who would have been the first to suffer if the passing of the budget legislation was further delayed. The filibuster sent out entirely the wrong message to the international community, who could well start to prefer other jurisdictions.

The filibuster highlighted what appears to be a reality, namely that many of those appointed to Legco cannot take the trouble or be bothered to attend Legco hearings to perform the legislative duties for which they were elected, leading to frequent quorum challenges. Also, the filibuster undermines further the already tarnished image of Legco as an effective legislative body.

One must be concerned also at how this childish conduct in Legco is viewed by our masters in Beijing, who, with considerable justification, will be tempted to resist further moves towards universal suffrage.

N. B. Bentley, Central


Shame of city where patients opt to die

It was upsetting to read of people choosing to die as they cannot afford medical life-support equipment in the struggle they face ("Priced out of life: the patients who chose to die", May 13).

We are not talking about some far-off land, but Hong Kong.

Their need compares with millions of dollars our government has granted, without checks and balances, to the district councils, with substantial sums being spent on hideous statues and perhaps other unreported frivolities.

We hear of provincial officials on the mainland spending thousands of yuan on themselves, be it for inappropriately luxurious offices or other personal pursuits, while the poor are uncared for and dying, selling their blood or children to make ends meet.

We shake our heads in dismay and contempt, and some justify the lack of control by the central government by saying China is simply too big to enforce good governance down to the provincial level.

Are there not parallels to be drawn, and what excuse do we have?

Kelly Lam, Central