• Fri
  • Dec 19, 2014
  • Updated: 2:38am
CommentLetters

Letters to the Editor, July 30, 2013

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 30 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 30 July, 2013, 2:56am

Mainland's top official very reasonable

I was happy when I learned that Zhang Xiaoming, director of the central government's liaison office in Hong Kong, had met lawmakers in the Legco building.

It is only through discussions that people can understand one another. A few members did not attend, in some cases apparently because they did not want to hear views other than their own. I have met Mr Zhang, and am greatly impressed by his reasonable attitude.

I am in favour of full democracy, but one of the obstacles we face is the fact that Hong Kong politicians cannot unite, either with Chinese representatives, or even with other Hong Kong democratic parties. One thing seems clear, namely, that they all want to be the "top dogs" in their parties. If they don't succeed in that, they just start another party. Surely that is one reason why China cannot rush into full democracy: the local parties are too disunited.

I have lived through two generations in Hong Kong, one from the 1950s to the 1980s and one from the 1980s to now. It took years of hard work to get the colonials to recognise Chinese as senior government servants.

Consequently gaining high positions in the early days required paying corruption for promotion and leaving Hong Kong with many corrupt senior civil servants. Many of the corrupt were British, and when the Independent Commission Against Corruption reached the upper ranks in its investigations, these senior people threatened mutiny, with the help of triads. Consequently the governor had to compromise with those senior corrupt officials, to prevent mutiny. Many remained in the government at senior level.

In those early days, the people blamed the British - quite rightly.

Some British were making themselves wealthy by corrupt means. The ICAC certainly did great work, as far as it could.

Eventually the governor Murray MacLehose had to declare an amnesty, thus freeing many corrupt senior civil servants. Do we want the same thing to happen today? Is it not essential that care should be taken to ensure that selection of the future Legislative Council will be honest and capable?

Hoping to win a point by breaking the law would be a bad beginning to electoral progress. It would split the electorate and confuse voters.

Elsie Tu, Kwun Tong

 

Housing more important than Chan saga

Secretary for Development Paul Chan Mo-po is the centre of attention in Hong Kong - being under pressure by some radical lawmakers to resign for failure to declare a piece of land owned by his family.

Now that the case has been brought to the attention of the Independent Commission Against Corruption, it would be a waste of time and resources for the media and lawmakers to harass him on the subject any more.

There are more important issues - in particular, the never-ending housing problem in Hong Kong.

The best solution would be for Mr Chan to allow the government to requisition the land and pay a reasonable price. This would be in the public interest and if the development minister is dedicated to his mission, as he claims he is, he should raise no objection to such a move.

Peter Wei, Kwun Tong

 

School work is not meant to be easy

Kendra Ip in her letter ("Plagiarism cases found in school are just tip of the iceberg", July 22), seems to imply that plagiarism is on the rise due to the difficulty of the tasks given to students.

I'm sorry, but schoolwork is not supposed to be a walk in the park; effort has to be put in by students in order to get results. I'm not sure what she is suggesting.

There should be a combination of assessment and exams - this is the usual case in most parts of the world.

From my personal observation and conversations with others, students seem to want so many hints about what is in exams and how to do assignments that you are practically doing the assignments for them.

Of course, students should be instructed how to carry out tasks and prepare for exams, but they need to think for themselves as well.

Jennifer Eagleton, Tai Po

 

Government must preserve historic course

I found Ronald Wong's letter on Hong Kong Golf Club at Fanling interesting in criticising the government's ham-fisted handling of this issue.

The letter starts off wonderfully well telling us Secretary for Development Paul Chan Mo-po sent the wrong messages to developers that the Fanling site might be up for grabs and housing development.

Your correspondent identifies the golf course as an historic monument with a lot of ancillary public benefits like ancient trees, although he does not mention that it is a resplendent oasis of excellently husbanded greenery.

But then going on to plead the public good on the basis of what's in it or not in it for the poor (or not so rich), and offering financial concessions, is in my view erroneous thinking.

If you start doing that you might as well make sweeping reforms that can seriously prejudice any minorities - and let's face it, the rich are a minority.

You could go to London and, say, look at Trafalgar Square or Leicester Square in the city's West End and say - think of the residential property development we could erect here to generate cash for the public good. In the meantime let's knock down Covent Garden opera house and too bad for lovers of grand opera, but they are only a minority privileged with money, or knock down the Tate Gallery for who is interested in abstract art, only a highbrow few with money.

You open the door to philistine bureaucrats when you try negotiations based on concessions to the "public good" using money as the sole criterion.

Hong Kong's only international-standard golf course plus all the trimmings of historical monuments and a beautifully maintained green oasis is under threat, and that should be all that is needed to tell the government's secretary for development "hands off". However, we shouldn't have to tell him this.

I have no vested interest in this issue, not being a Fanling member, and neither am I a golfer.

But I have a keen interest in the principles involved and in the government not making a fool of itself as with the destruction of the Repulse Bay Hotel and numerous other treasures of antiquity over the years through pressure and influence of developers and temptations to the government regarding the money that these projects generate.

When the Fanling course goes, it will be gone forever.

Mike Ashton, Sha Tin

 

World-class facilities are important

I can't quite believe ideas including the development of Fanling and Happy Valley which have been bandied about lately in our constant quest for more housing.

I don't play golf, nor do I play tennis or kick a ball, but that doesn't mean that I, or most other people of sense, can't see the value in having world-class facilities in Hong Kong.

Take away these facilities and you can take away the "world" in front of our current Hong Kong advertising campaign.

Instead of these new towns, which people are not, actually, too keen to live in, more needs to be done to maximise the potential in other, established areas including Ap Lei Chau and Kennedy Town, among others, which are about to be accessible by MTR.

Our borders are limited and nothing can be done to magically increase our available land.

We can only limit immigration and encourage our neighbours to take up their share of the burden.

It wouldn't hurt to reintroduce lower deposit mortgages for low-end properties either. Wanton destruction of green spaces is not the answer.

Karen Prochazka, Shouson Hill

 

Law needed to curb light pollution

Research has revealed that serious light pollution can affect brain functions and disrupt one's body clock, causing ill health.

Some people have argued that excessive lighting even late at night is needed, because even at midnight you can see tourists shopping.

However, we should not put economic development over people's health.

Lights in commercial buildings and shopping malls which are not needed should be phased out, especially if they create a nuisance to residents living nearby who might have trouble sleeping.

Legislation is going to be needed to combat Hong Kong's light pollution problem.

The government cannot bring in a draconian law forcing buildings to switch off lights, as this would adversely affect Hong Kong's economic development.

There are still commercial activities going on well after midnight.

However, some sort of law is needed rather than a voluntary guideline, as people will not abide by these guidelines.

The administration must go ahead with the drafting of legislation given that the health and well-being of Hong Kong people is being directly affected by this pollution problem.

First there must be an extensive and thorough consultation process involving all stake- holders to try and minimise disagreements within society.

Kristy Chan, Sha Tin

Share

For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
8

This article is now closed to comments

Kailim
honkiepanky,
Mrs. Elsie Tu is 100 years old. Maybe you are too young to understand her.
pslhk
God bless you Ms Tu
You’re a real HK local
more Chinese than Chan Fong Eu Mo Tai Wong …
inept egotists that bred demo crazy, mutants of democracy
with incurable slogan shouting affliction that has impaired their hearing
creatures with the ridiculous title of scholarism and those
too dumb to comprehend reasonable counsels
of kind people like you and Iris Chan
(Think before voicing your thoughts, Jul 29)
honkiepanky
I was going to disagree with Elsie Tu, but after reading her letter three times, I still don't know what point she's trying to make.
pslhk
As you cared to read thrice
before giving up in incomprehension
you’re smarter than most who didn’t even care to read
Let’s hope that you and people like you
would outgrow cognitive blockage
and learn to appreciate clear and reasonable counsels like Ms Tu’s
then look back without regret for having overacted
while purblind about things around you
honkiepanky
I am aware of that. And I respect our elders too much to speculate on the connection between her age and incoherent writing.
pslhk
jve, it'd b very nice
if you may apply your great intelligence
to find and retreive the report about Globat Times
in this morning's scmp (Friday Aug 2)
that you filed comments that showed impressive proofreading skills
The report and its comments have all disappeared
johnyuan
Directing towards the second generation from the 80s on, the population began immersed in get rich as a life goal. Property speculation and anything connected with property, the easiest means to get rich became the king of the city. What comes to light of late, officials and citizens alike all play up the property game in want to get rich. The swapping of properties to cheat government in fact was an acceptable practice until now. In fair assessment, all known movers and shakers and whoever less so, officials or non-officials can’t stand alone outside of the prevailing culture. The political divide circumstance nowadays has compelled to refute the culture. So far since the last CE election, individual’s wrong doing is for public display. Doing so in timely manner, we are actually being even more dishonest. The fallouts of an acrimonious society are that people live in fear and government can’t function with an unpredictable crippling team in the making. It is time that CY Leung should institute an amnesty over law breakers which are connected with property. Set condition(s) and forgive and move on. Hong Kong will survive after the hangover as a modern city with whomever as the CE.
…….
May Elise Tu lives long and healthy and always sees justice.
impala
Agreed.

I admire and respect Ms Tu, but this letter went off track at some point. Here is what I make of it: she is in favour of full democracy, but finds it troublesome that politicians can't seem to agree and wreak havoc. Now, what passes for politicians in Hong Kong is indeed a ramshackle mix of shoe-shiners and protesters-without-a-cause. Yet, pluriformity is the precisely one of the points of full democracy. If we'd all agree on everything all the time, tyranny would work just fine. So I think that what Ms Tu truly laments is the low quality and very fragmented nature of political debate in Hong Kong, in which it is rarely about content, but more often about symbols and people (and their trellises). I agree with her there, but would say that if we want this to improve, we need to begin by implementing an institutional framework in which meaningful parties with meaningful policy platforms can emerge.

The second part of her letter is mainly about corruption and cronyism, which she (partly) sees as a colonial legacy. There is probably a core of truth in that. Yet, she then appears to imply (she doesn't state it, so I might really be wrong here), that a screening of candidates (by the CCP, or a CCP-appointed selection committee I presume) could avoid this and 'keep LegCo honest.' If this is indeed her gist, I am going to have to disagree. What keeps politicians honest is an independent press, independent judiciary and accountability at the polls every 4~5 years.

Login

SCMP.com Account

or