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Letters to the Editor, August 17, 2013

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 17 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 17 August, 2013, 2:52am

All parties bear responsibility in July protest

Primary-school teacher Alpais Lam Wai-sze has been heavily criticised in some quarters following a video which showed her swearing at police officers during a protest in July.

A rally was held earlier this month condemning her behaviour.

In the original video, Lam was seen openly criticising the way the police were handling a confrontation between the Falun Gong and the Youth Care Association. From my point of view, the government, police and the teacher should all take some responsibility.

There is no doubt that Lam's behaviour was not acceptable. As a teacher she is expected to be a role model for her pupils. If she is seen shouting profanities at police officers, it creates a bad image and some children might think it is therefore OK for them to express their views in this way. Although there is freedom of speech in Hong Kong, Lam violated an unwritten rule regarding the behaviour of teachers. No one is perfect and surely there are police officers who have lost their cool and used inappropriate language.

People can be oversensitive and we must be able to forgive people when they have gone too far.

Finally, the government cannot escape criticism for its involvement.

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has called for a report on Alpais Lam's behaviour.

This incident happened last month and Ms Lam has since apologised to her school for her behaviour.

Why is he trying to make matters worse and revive discussion of something that appeared to have been resolved?

Kalena Chan, Kwun Tong


Time for sun to really set on British empire

After the Spanish government fully compensates ethnic-Anglo and British-national residents of Gibraltar for their property if they wish to relocate, Britain should completely relinquish its imperialist history.

It should return those lands it took as part of its empire, which are not part of the UK, including the Falklands, thousands of miles away from the country.

As for the referendums favouring British ownership (others would call it a derelict occupation), it's all too easy to populate mostly desolate, foreign lands. Then, over very many years of procreation, Whitehall can have the British nationalist descendants vote in favour of the status quo.

How many bloody wars will have to be fought over British ownership of populated lands so very far from home?

Frank G. Sterle Jnr, White Rock, British Columbia, Canada


Multifaceted approach to business visas

I refer to the letter by Lee Faulkner ("Investment visa rules don't reflect reality", August 2) concerning his comments on the Immigration Department's assessment of his investment visa application submitted under the General Employment Policy.

The Immigration Department is committed to facilitating the entry of talented people, professionals and entrepreneurs to enhance Hong Kong's competitiveness.

In general, entrepreneurs who are in a position to make a substantial contribution to the economy of Hong Kong through establishing or joining in a business may apply for entry for investment. There is no quota or sector restriction.

Applicants are normally required to provide a detailed investment plan which contains details of sustainable business activities, including, for example, the amount of investment, creation of local job posts, office set-up, whether the business will bring about innovative technology and business ideas.

Mr Faulkner was right that in assessing applications for investment visas, immigration officers should not only adopt a "tick-box" approach.

In fact, the department has been adopting a multifaceted approach to take into account all relevant factors and examine individual merits in evaluating the contributions that the investment may bring to the local economy, rather than imposing requirements of "rent business premises" and "hire full-time staff" in a strict sense.

For cases where the applicants might not be able to meet these requirements but could provide information and documents which indicate that the investment would bring about substantial contribution to the local economy, the department would favourably consider the applications.

This notwithstanding, applicants will be required to provide information to show that the proposed investment has been implemented in the subsequent application for extension of stay.

I hope this information will help clear up Mr Faulkner's doubts as to our policy.

Au Ka-wang, for director of immigration


Is safe custody fee another stealth charge?

Last month I reviewed my HSBC business account statement, which showed a HK$120 withdrawal for "safe custody charge".

I phoned the bank and was told that starting this year all account holders get an investment account and are charged HK$120 every six months for the service even if they don't use it.

Surely 95 per cent of business accounts in Hong Kong do not trade stocks.

Is this a badly thought-out measure or just another stealth charge?

Ali Reid, Lamma


Pastor Lamb's death leaves 'hole' in church

Chinese pastor, the Reverend Samuel Lamb (also known as Lin Xiangao), passed away on August 3 in Guangzhou at the age of 88.

A prominent figure in the Chinese church for decades, he had suffered more than 20 years in captivity following the communist revolution under Mao Zedong in 1949.

Despite the Chinese Communist Party's crackdown on dissent, he refused to join the state-sanctioned church, the Three-Self Patriotic Movement.

Lamb was born in a mountainous area overlooking Macau. The son of a Baptist minister, he was sentenced to two prison terms (1955-1957 and 1958-1978).

However, in spite of this, he remained true to his faith.

Sadly, the media ignored the passing of this well-known Guangzhou pastor, whose life inspired millions in China.

According to the Christian pressure group Open Doors, his death leaves "a hole" in the Chinese church. I agree with this comment and believe the church will not be the same without him.

Brian Stuckey, Denver, Colorado, US


Reckless jet ski riders a danger to swimmers

Last Sunday I went out on a boating trip and was greeted on the Sai Kung pier by marine police distributing fliers with warnings about the dangers while in or on the water.

They should have done some checking on the English translation as the flier gave the puzzling advice, "don't swim in the swim".

Anyway, their effort is much appreciated.

But I believe they can be of far greater help by checking the licences of the maniacs on jet skis who go at top speed between anchored boats at the beaches where there are lots of people swimming.

I had to shout to one of the riders to slow down as he almost ran me over.

In return, he gave me a dirty glance.

We all know about the lives lost over the past few years when speedboats ran over divers and swimmers.

The jet ski riders I saw were definitely not capable of handling these machines. They were from a junk and I believe they hired them at the same time they hired the junk.

It would be appreciated if we could see Hong Kong's finest on the water taking action against this dangerous behaviour.

If they want to race, then they can go out to open water, but not near hundreds of swimmers.

Jeffry Kuperus, Clear Water Bay


Teenagers face pressures in everyday life

I am concerned about the heavy workload faced by teenagers nowadays.

All parents hope their children will enjoy a bright future and they have high expectations for them.

But this can lead to youngsters being put under a lot pressure and can prove to be counterproductive, especially if in their exams they fall short of these expectations.

Parents may compare their children's poor performance unfavourably with peers who have excelled academically.

These parents need to imagine how their sons and daughters feel.

They must appreciate that if they exert too much pressure then they could exacerbate problems that already exist.

Adolescents can also help themselves by trying to adopt a positive attitude to the problems that they face. Their health is far more important than exam results.

Their friends should also look out for signs of psychological stress and be there to offer help and advice.

The most important thing is that they have tried their best.

It is essential for parents and their children to keep the lines of communication open.

Youngsters should take the initiative to chat more with their parents and parents should encourage this.

Natasha Szeto, Yau Ma Tei


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This article is now closed to comments

A quick search shows Mr Serle is a serial letter-to-editor writer attempting to solve the world's problems as perceived by him
Perhaps his own letters below explain his situation?
Legislators consider legalization, regulation of marijuana use
Letters Editor
Cannabis consumption can be harmful
As a former frequent cannabis consumer, I — along with many of my former (some still) cannabis-consuming peers who I’ve bumped into these last dozen years or so — can attest to the permanent damage that marijuana can cause to the consumer’s body and mind [“Legalize marijuana,” Opinion, Feb. 20].
Scientific proof of such potential damage? For one, there are the startling facts published in an article last Sept. 17 in London’s Guardian newspaper; it was authored by professor of psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry and hospital consultant, Robin Murray:
Frank G. Sterle, Jr., White Rock, B.C.
"I felt lousy, and to make myself feel better I decided to punish myself by repeatedly stroking the knife-blade's edge across my throat, leaving many cut marks, though without actually causing blood to flow.
When people asked me about the cut marks, I replied that I was holding the blade up against my throat and swaying my head side to side, unknowingly actually cutting. "Really," I'd say, with a smirk, "I'm not suicidal."
Having just returned from the UK and mainland Europe it might interest Mr. Sterle that neither ordinary British nor ordinary Spaniards give a hoot about the latest tiff over Gibraltar. The issues is seen by their own people as a smokescreen to cover up more serious economic problems both countries are facing. They are both EU members and Spain hosts a huge number of British tourists each year, so it is unlikely that any blood will be spilled in any wars. The Falklands is of course a different barrel of oil altogether.
What's your point? He's from CANADA, you prat.
totally correct + he lives in one of the least polluted places on earth so cannot blame the environment for his decisions to engage brain before writing to an SCMP Letters' editor who fails to vet the writer's background
It seems he writes to worldwide newspapers as a source to publicise his authored books on mental problems 'WTFisSerle'
Frank G. Sterle, do you also think that America should give up its overseas Territories, not invade other countries, and withdraw its armed forces from all quarters of the world?
The Falkland Islands Government send message of continued support to Chief Minister Fabian Picardo and the people of Gibraltar
The Honourable Ian Hansen has sent a letter to Chief Minister Fabian Picardo
“On behalf of the people and Government of the Falkland Islands, I would like to say how concerned we are to learn of the rising tensions between yourselves & Spain.
We are pleased to hear the strong messages from the British Government in support of Gibraltar & would like to echo those sentiments. We hope that the situation does not escalate and that a swift resolution to the current crisis can be found.
We send our warm good wishes to our friends in Gibraltar & wish to let them know that we are thinking of them during this difficult time.”


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