Letters to the Editor, October 20, 2013

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 20 October, 2013, 6:31am
UPDATED : Sunday, 20 October, 2013, 6:31am

Children from mainland have right to learn

I refer to the report ("Kindergartens prepare for huge mainland influx", October 11) about parents flocking to kindergartens, especially in North District, for application forms.

I found it hard to understand why local parents should vent their anger at those from the mainland over this matter.

Granted, the increase in cross-boundary kindergarteners will pose a threat to local people and add to the workload of the kindergartens. But we should take account of the rights of those mainland children.

Born in Hong Kong, these children have the same entitlement to study, no matter where their parents come from. So for locals to show bias against children from the mainland is unfair.

Hong Kong is a cosmopolitan city. Mandarin and English are necessary languages spoken all over the world, so using Cantonese as the sole language to ask questions during interviews for places seems preposterous. Iam sceptical about how truly "international" Hong Kong is.

People should remember that Hong Kong has a fair system under which everyone is equal. Don't discriminate against mainlanders. We all have a role to play in building a harmonious society.

Leo Tsang Cheuk-lung, Tseung Kwan O


Call for maid ban amounts to racism

The People Power party's call ("People Power calls for maid ban", October 10) to amend the Immigration Ordinance so that Filipino foreign domestic workers will be banned from working in Hong Kong until Manila apologises for the bungled rescue attempt in the bus hostage crisis of 2010 speaks volumes about the overtly embedded discrimination in Hong Kong.

Since this proposal came to light last week, newspaper articles have stated that Filipino foreign domestic workers should not be banned from Hong Kong because: the impact on Hong Kong families will be too great; the loss of remittances will hurt the country; it undermines the interest of Hongkongers; and they should not be used as political leverage - just to name a few. Overall, what these articles speak of is the impact such a ban would have on others.

Nowhere do these articles talk of such a ban being yet another direct racist denigration of an already marginalised group of people in Hong Kong. Filipino domestic workers are not property to be traded or set in an embargo between nations on the back of some political whim. Filipino foreign domestic workers are people with dignity and human worth.

The People Power Party's proposed ban only incites further discrimination in Hong Kong society - a society which seems, for the most part, to belittle, bemoan and decry the very presence of Filipino foreign domestic workers despite depending heavily on them.

Shan Charlesworth, Wan Chai


Pok Fu Lam's haphazard heritage

According to the article by Ada Lee and Jennifer Ngo ("Pok Fu Lam Village on global watch list", October 10), the village has the potential to become a world heritage site. Somewhat surprisingly, this would rank it alongside such places as Venice in Italy. There are said to be 67 such sites under threat in 41 countries.

Pok Fu Lam consists largely of small, single-storey, stone or timber structures erected in haphazard fashion, on narrow lanes around the single row of old village houses that constituted the original village. It is listed in the Chinese district gazetteer of San On (1819 edition).

Of course, the village has some redeeming features. These include the Red Brick Pagoda, built in 1916 to counteract epidemics and evil influences. Any significant structures left from the former Dairy Farm, such as the octagonal cowshed and office buildings, must of course be preserved. A walk through the village will reveal structures that may be worth protecting.

The name, Pok Fu Lam, actually means "mallard (the duck species) in the forest". But because it may be mixed up with another name with a similar pronunciation, which has a derogatory meaning, the characters were changed.

Dan Waters, Mid-Levels


Families of ferry victims kept waiting

I think the government should be blamed for its "idle" attitude towards the Lamma ferry disaster issue.

Right after the disaster in October last year, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying set up an independent investigation committee to look into the case.

According to the investigation report released in August, the vessel Lamma No4 had a structural weakness: a watertight door was missing ever since it started operations.

This means the Marine Department, which is responsible for the safety of all vessels, should bear some liability. However, the Transport and Housing Bureau only carried out an internal investigation into the Marine Department without a clear timetable. No wonder bereaved families feel like the authorities have been fudging the issue all along.

If the government wants to rebuild public confidence, a clear timetable for the investigative process should be announced. Additionally, internal reform of the department 's administration should be implemented as soon as possible.

Guaranteeing those families' voices will be heard is a concrete step to getting things done. Cancelling the fireworks on National Day is not.

Iris Yu Sze-lok, Kwai Chung


Don't stand for lack of bus manners

It was appalling to read about Lorraine Kennedy's long bus journey ("Let's look first at our own bad manners", October 13) with passengers letting an 86-year-old lady stand next to them.

I had the same experience when I took the 373 bus from Central to Fanling just after office hours, when almost all the young passengers had fallen asleep after a hectic business day, without noticing the elderly people aboard the bus.

In future I suggest Ms Kennedy or the elderly lady seek help from the bus driver, who could show some organisational skill by asking ladies of smaller build to share space with the elderly lady, so that everybody can be seated. I am sure Hongkongers would always welcome a win-win solution.

Pang Chi-ming, Fanling


Organ donor awarenesscan save lives

Having conducted my independent inquiry studies (IES) for liberal studies, I found that most Hong Kong citizens have poor knowledge about organ donation, such as not knowing there is no age limit in general or the meaning of brain death, which could make them less inclined to become donors.

Even among those more accepting of organ donation, many still do not become a registered donor as they are not familiar with the registration procedures or face disagreement from their families.

The government should find better ways to disseminate information, such as making television commercials as it did for drug abuse, and making programmes to help increase citizens' awareness.

I hope more people will become registered donors so that more patients can be gifted a new life.

Catherine Fung, Tai Wai