Letters to the Editor, May 20, 2013
China can help to kick-start peace process
I disagree with Dr John Lee's comment that "China currently has no clear strategy for what it wants to achieve, with whom, or how" ("The peacemaker", May 14).
I think President Xi Jinping's move to involve China in the Middle East is a clever strategic move that will play well with countries worldwide that are outside the immediate sphere of the US.
The money politics in Washington has continually turned the peace process into a game of football, where the playing field is severely sloped towards Jewish interests, and the Israelis constantly move the goalposts without sanctions.
The US has trumpeted several road maps to peace but they only ever lead to cul-de-sacs in East Jerusalem and the West Bank settlements.
Any move by China to act as an honest broker in the intractable dispute between the Israelis and the Palestinians will highlight the inadequacies and biases of the long-standing American positions. Accordingly it will have the effect of diminishing respect for the US while enhancing China's world standing. Beijing's approach will definitely be more even with both parties as the usual Israeli cards of democracy and the Holocaust will not have the same impact on China as they continually have on the West.
China's involvement must be welcomed as the peace process sorely needs to be kick-started and finally resolved.
P. C. Law, Quarry Bay
Extend bag tax as soon as possible
The proposed extension of the plastic bag levy should be implemented as soon as possible.
Hong Kong is a wealthy city and it is not surprising that since 2010 HK$94.6 million has been collected from consumers paying the 50 cent charge for a bag. Obviously, 50 cents is not a sufficient deterrent to stop people from overusing plastic bags. There is still room to raise people's environmental awareness through adopting stricter measures.
I am pleased that under the new proposals there will no longer be an exemption for the flat-topped bags currently offered free to customers to carry frozen food and fruits which are being overused by some customers.
This is a first step towards developing a sustainable city and cultivating a higher level of awareness about the environment.
More must be done to safeguard our next generation's future and rights.
Leung Kit-yan, Diamond Hill
Nomination process not negotiable
I refer to Anson Chan Fang On-sang's article regarding her group Hong Kong 2020 ("The key step", May 8).
If the article was meant to persuade the government to get rid of the nomination of candidates in the election of the chief executive, it is flogging a dead horse, with or without the Occupy Central campaign.
As I have said in these columns before, the nomination process is non-negotiable, a view echoed by Alex Woo in his letter ("Pan-democrats should accept screening for the 2017 election", May 8).
We don't need to be reminded about Articles 26, 39, 45 and 68 of the Basic Law.
It is precisely because Article 26 gives carte blanche that Article 45 reins it in by specifically providing for the nomination of candidates before voting by universal suffrage takes place, so Beijing will not end up having to consider appointing a "Hong Kong Chen Shui-bian".
If the result of the latest Malaysian general election is anything to go by, the unfettered universal suffrage advocated by the pan-democrats does not necessarily produce a candidate for good governance or one who commands the support of more than half the voting population.
Article 39 of the Basic Law only refers to Article 25(b) of the International Covenant On Civil and Political Rights "as applied to Hong Kong".
However, the British government made an exception to it with regard to Hong Kong, and so it does not apply.
Even it could be argued that it did, the fact that it separately refers to the right to be elected and to vote on the one hand and the voting which must be by universal and equal suffrage on the other hand, must mean that the right to be elected is not inherent in universal and equal suffrage. The 2012 "nomination followed one-man, two-votes" election into the five new functional constituency super-seats was by universal and equal suffrage.
If Hong Kong 2020 chooses to look away from these facts, then its supporters should not be surprised if their views fall on deaf ears again.
Peter Lok, Chai Wan
Discovery Bay bookshop will be missed
I would like to take the opportunity, through these columns, to ask the Hong Kong Resort Co., to explain why it chose not to renew the tenancy agreement for The Bookshop in Discovery Bay.
Did it even take into consideration the views of the Discovery Bay residents in this matter?
The Bookshop has been operating for more than 15 years and has proved to be a very popular venue for book lovers in Discovery Bay.
The decision not to renew the lease for The Bookshop demonstrates, once again, Hong Kong Resort Co.'s cavalier attitude to Discovery Bay entrepreneurs and residents alike.
Pete Morgan, Discovery Bay
Young vets would have poor prospects
I refer to the letter by Can Chan Hoi-yin ("Why HK needs school to train young vets", May 7).
It is a novel idea for creating more job opportunities for the next generation.
Many of those multi-millionaires who made their fortunes from property will be buying dogs, because they are yet another important status symbol, like having the latest smartphone or iPad.
However, I cannot help thinking that some of the graduates from the vet school, faced with skyrocketing rents, will end up as chemical products salesmen or part of a firm's customer services team, unless they get a coveted job as a veterinary surgeon with the Jockey Club.
The problem is that Hong Kong is relatively small with limited job opportunities, but our universities keep churning out science graduates. So, for example, I know of a biochemistry graduate who could only get a job with a credit card company before joining the cabin crew of an airline.
We have lots of talented young people, but we have to match the skills they acquire to the needs of society instead of wasting educational resources.
Pang Chi-ming, Fanling
Inconvenience caused by rude bus driver
On the morning of May 13, I witnessed one of those irritating, but all too common, little incidents where the behaviour of someone in authority defies common sense.
At about 10.30am I boarded a number 27 bus in North Point.
It was crowded and I was trapped just inside the entrance door along with a number of morning shoppers returning from market heavily weighed down by their purchases.
Up near the top of Cloud View Road one of these shoppers wanted to alight and very politely asked the bus driver if she could exit by the entry door rather than push and elbow her way, along with her shopping trolley, through the packed crowd, to the other door half-way down the bus.
The response was a "no" and just to make sure that she didn't make a run for it, the bus captain kept the entry door firmly closed until she had reached the exit, much to the puzzlement of those waiting to board. Now, who benefited from this silliness? Certainly, not the other passengers who had either to make way or wait for her.
Perhaps the bus operator, New World First Bus, could tell us what its training manual says that bus drivers should do in such situations.
Paul Stables, North Point
Most dog owners are responsible
Wing Tang's pet-hating letter is hilarious ("Long stretches of city's promenades should be free of pets", May 9).
Your correspondent asserts that dogs were once wild, so shouldn't live with humans, then says families with dogs are at greater risk of worms, that fleas and ticks are infectious, and that dogs cause nasal allergies.
Then the writer concedes it's OK for people to have pets for the benefits they offer, then complains that domestic helpers talk on phones while walking dogs, who are sometimes standing there or following on a leash, then meanders, saying dog poop abounds, and that poop is as much litter as any other litter but it's actually worse because it's organic.
Wing Tang then says the government should designate long stretches that are human friendly or baby friendly, so people can happily enjoy the facilities they paid for without having to suffer pets, dander, droppings, flies and fleas.
The vast majority of pet owners are responsible and do not allow them to become a nuisance.
Dogs are banned from almost all public parks, public housing estates and beaches, and from the vast majority of buildings.
Your correspondent would get on well with your columnist Michael Chugani who also hates dogs.
Bernard Lo, Mid-Levels