Letters to the Editor, October 16, 2013
Waste charge a form of double taxation
I agree that waste reduction should be a priority, and that incentives are required.
However, why should we pay twice for something? Government rates or rent include payments for waste disposal.
If a charging scheme is brought in, then rates and rent should be reduced accordingly, to avoid double taxation.
Secondly, Hong Kong has worked long and hard to make the city one of the cleanest in the world.
We have fines for litterers, and rubbish bins are strategically placed in the streets, leading to a clean environment. In Taipei, where a waste levy has been introduced and people have to purchase bin bags, all the rubbish bins have been removed from the streets to stop people depositing their household waste in public bins to avoid the levy.
Surely, the best way to reduce waste is to hit those who cause the most waste, that is, the manufacturers of products. Regulate to get rid of unnecessary packaging; fine those who blatantly flout the regulations.
Andy Boulton, Yuen Long
HK parents should not be made to queue
There are good reasons for putting local children first in kindergarten applications. It is a burning issue that the government should not shy away from.
First, mainlanders studying in Hong Kong bring no advantages to the city. Some people say that mainlanders receiving an education here will increase Hong Kong's competitive edge later on, but the reality is that they will take their knowledge back to the mainland and contribute nothing to Hong Kong after they finish their tertiary education here. The resources are being devoted to the wrong people.
Second, local children have the right to receive an education in Hong Kong. It is unreasonable for local parents to have to queue overnight to get an application form. Local children should have the right to study in their own city and compete with other local children for places.
The lack of pre-school places is not the only issue; later on, the same problem will occur for primary, secondary and even tertiary education places. This will lead to fierce competition unless the problem is solved now.
Huen Tsz-wing, Sha Tin
Priority for local kids is discrimination
I strongly oppose any suggestion that the government should intervene in the kindergarten issue and guarantee that local kids get places in their own district.
I want to ask parents in North District, on what grounds do you think your children should have a higher priority? Is it because you have paid Hong Kong taxes but mainland parents have not? If so, should people who pay more tax have a higher priority than your kids?
And is it because you are Hong Kong residents while their parents are not? If this is the case, should your kids be the last ones to choose their subjects when they study abroad?
If the government does intervene, this is discrimination and it should not be done in a civilised city like Hong Kong.
Chow Yik-ming, Sha Tin
Cross-border babies gave birth to crisis
The crisis over kindergarten places in North District is the sequel to the government's policy of allowing pregnant mainlanders to give birth in Hong Kong. The policy damaged the rights of local people, given that the mainland babies can share the welfare benefits of Hong Kong.
To solve this dilemma, the government should safeguard Hongkongers' rights by ensuring all local children get a place to study in their own district.
Although Eddie Ng Hak-kim, the secretary for education, has reiterated that school places are still available, the root cause of the crisis will not be addressed if the government does not put itself in the shoes of local parents and treat local children as a priority.
The chance to study in North District should not go to mainland children whose parents have not contributed to Hong Kong society.
Cherry Yau Wing-yan, Sha Tin
Mainland road victim needs compassion
Some people have lost their sympathy for innocent people. The young mainland woman killed in a road accident ("Ugly outbreak of Hong Kong bigotry," October 11) was a victim. People should show their compassion instead of blaming her for taking Hong Kong's resources. Showing sympathy to victims shows our humanity. It should not be affected by others' attitudes, or our own, to specific events.
The policy of allowing mainlanders with an outstanding academic record to study in Hong Kong has been in place for a long time. Why are people now criticising participants of this scheme for sharing society's resources, but not when the policy was first released?
Chan Tak-yung, Ma On Shan
Insurers must pay out for Manila tragedy
The families of the Manila bus tragedy deserve full sympathy from the public, but it is a lost cause to expect that an apology from the Philippines government will open the way for financial compensation. We had tourists who died in the balloon accident in Egypt. No apologies were given nor any money received from any government.
I blame this sorry state of affairs on politicians egging on the families to do something that serves no purpose other than to make them look good among the voting public.
So, instead of coming up with hare-brained ideas like stopping domestic helpers from the Philippines, which hurt Hong Kong as well, the families should go after the people who sold the insurance.
Those who sell this insurance are only interested in making commission. The hostage tragedy is a good case for the government to start cleaning up the mess.
Galen Dempsey, Kowloon Tong
Apology for boorish attack on HKU chief
I wish to express shame for the truly boorish behaviour of those who attacked newly appointed HKU vice chancellor Professor Peter Mathieson.
To conclude that Dr Mathieson is "ignorant and incompetent", even before he reported for duty, is rash and unscientific. Furthermore, it is a scathing insult to every member of the selection committee.
Being conversant in Chinese cannot be a job prerequisite. After all, how many of us are fully conversant in Putonghua?
I would like to convey, on behalf of many, an apology to Dr Mathieson for the uncouth behaviour of some HKU faculty members.
Peter Fung Yiu-fai, Central
Beijing can act to cut seriousair pollution
Fog and pollution in northern China caused flight cancellations and road closures ("Smog leaves travellers in disarray", October 7). Many holidaymakers struggled to return home. The major cause of this is the serious air pollution.
I have some suggestions for the Chinese government to improve air quality. Electric cars have been a general trend for the automotive market. By using electric cars, we can help reduce exhaust emissions.
Banning smoking is also an effective way to combat the problem of air pollution.
Other sources of air pollution are factories and power plants. They produce a lot of carbon dioxide, which harms our environment. To solve this problem, the government should restrict the emissions of factories and power plants.
Life will be better if the government does its part to improve air quality.
Raymond Chan, Tseung Kwan O