Letters to the Editor, October 23, 2013
Calls to ban helpers border on racism
The Manila bus incident was truly a tragedy; lives were lost and that may not have happened if the police had done a better job. But, in such volatile situations, bad things do happen. Even with the best trained police forces, things do not always go well.
I am quite certain that, if this happened in America, the same amount of hate would not be displayed nor would there be calls for the president to apologise. If eight Filipinos had been killed here or on the mainland, would these same voices call for Premier Li Keqiang to apologise? I think we know the answer to that.
I find the call to ban domestic helpers from the Philippines laughable.
Does anyone think Hong Kong families can do without their helpers?
Many do not even care for their own children when out or at home. How often do you see a helper carrying or minding a child while the parents are there?
This is simply a case of racism and prejudice. We saw similar hate with the young mainlander who died earlier this month following a traffic accident in Hong Kong. No compassion, just hate. It is sad, but it seems this is a growing trend.
Terry Scott, Sha Tin
Beijing should try to help resolve dispute
Many citizens have been angered by the decision of Philippine President Benigno Aquino not to apologise for the Manila hostage crisis in 2010.
Some have even suggested that the Hong Kong government should stop allowing new contracts for domestic helpers from the Philippines.
I think it is essential for the central government to get involved in this matter, especially given Mr Aquino's attitude during his recent meeting with the chief executive. If Beijing were to get involved, then negotiations with officials from the Philippines would be smoother. It is painful for families of the victims to have to keep asking for an apology.
I do not support calls to refuse new contracts for helpers from the country.
They make up more than 50 per cent of the foreign domestics in the SAR. A decision of this kind would have a huge impact on the Philippines.
I do not think it would be worthwhile.
First of all, these domestic helpers are innocent. They should not be made victims of an ongoing dispute between Manila and Hong Kong.
Secondly, it would increase the workload of those families in Hong Kong who employ domestic helpers.
I really hope that the governments of the Philippines and Hong Kong can resolve their differences in the spirit of mutual respect.
Issac Lee Ka-kiu, Kwai Chung
Enhancing campsite management
I refer to the letter from Peter Reid offering his views on the booking arrangements being put in place at Pui O campsite during the National Day holiday ("Camp lottery discriminated against all", October 17).
To enhance campsite management and help local campers to better plan their activities during the three popular mainland holidays, namely the Labour Day, National Day and Lunar New Year, the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, with support from the Islands District Council, launched a trial scheme in April. It offered Hong Kong residents the opportunity to make advance booking of the camp bays at Pui O campsite.
According to our record, the occupancy rate of the 52 designated camp bays from October 1 to 5 was 100 per cent, while that for the whole period from September 28 to October 7 was around 85 per cent.
To avoid wastage due to no-shows, camp staff would call up the successful hirers to ascertain whether they would take up their booked camp bays.
If there are unclaimed camp bays, they would be reallocated to walk-in campers, regardless of their nationality, on a first-come, first-served basis.
For campers who choose to camp on the lawn area, our staff monitor closely the situation to ensure that no overcrowding occurs.
Based on our observations, campers were in general very co-operative and the order at Pui O campsite during the two long holidays was satisfactory.
On completion of the trial after the coming Lunar New Year holiday, we will conduct a review of the booking arrangements and report the findings to the Islands District Council to determine the way forward.
Horman Chan, chief leisure manager (New Territories West), acting, Leisure and Cultural Services Department
Exco must come clean on TV licences
The saga over the granting of new free-to-air television licences and the refusal of a licence for Hong Kong Television Network (HKTV) is shrouded in mystery.
Some observers have expressed concern about the possibility of political influence from the mainland having something to do with the final choices.
Some also lambasted the way this was dealt with by the Executive Council under the cloak of confidentiality.
It is outrageous that Exco has not publicly disclosed its reasons, given that this is a matter of public interest.
I was very impressed that "tens of thousands" of people rallied at the government's headquarters on Sunday to demand an explanation ("Mass rally to 'defend HK's core values'", October 21).
We need an answer from Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying on this matter.
Gravis Cheng, Yuen Long
Not asking for kid-glove treatment
Charlie Chan misunderstands my position when he says I "appear to think that technology firms need special, less rigorous treatment" ("Not deserving preferential treatment", October 22).
The South China Morning Post's coverage was accurate in quoting me as asking the government "if new policies were being considered to attract technology firms to list in the city" ("SFC gets official backing over Alibaba IPO row", October 10). I was not implying that technology firms particularly, and including Alibaba, should demand any "less rigorous treatment". In fact, I have always supported the Securities and Futures Commission's stance on the Alibaba case.
I was talking about attracting more technology companies to list here, given that this is one of the important and high-growth sectors but one where Hong Kong's market is weak.
However, I disagree with Mr Chan that "if anything these [technology] companies need to be regulated more tightly as they operate in a high-risk environment". All firms from any sector must be treated equally, and it is also unfounded to believe that the technology business environment must be any "higher risk" than others.
Charles Mok, legislative councillor, IT
Doctor cannot practise in Hong Kong
It is quite sad reading your editorial on the shortage of doctors in Hong Kong ("Solving the city's doctor dilemma", October 17).
My wife was born and raised in Hong Kong, but qualified as a medical doctor in Australia. She is a specialist in anaesthesia for neurosurgery with many years of experience, but is unable to work in the city of her birth because of these impossible hurdles.
So, to continue her medical career, she has to seek employment overseas where there is a huge demand for her qualifications and experience, when her preference is clearly Hong Kong.
Colvin M. Brown, Mid-Levels