Letters to the Editor, November 10, 2013
Naysayers on suffrage not voice of people
Both Anson Chan Fang On-sang in her letter ("Election task force must avoid exercise in window dressing", October 26) and Benny Tai Yiu-ting in the report ("'Blame Beijing for Occupy Central'", November 4), call upon the government for an outcome in relation to the universal suffrage debate that "the majority of Hong Kong people can accept" and not, as Mrs Chan says, "platitudes and generalisations".
Don't tell me Mrs Chan's and Mr Tai's followers constitute that majority, however. They do not. And there is no reason for people's patience to "wear thin", as Mrs Chan suggests. So far, these leaders have come up only with proposals that do not meet the requirements of the relevant provisions in the Basic Law and the 2007 decision of the National People's Congress.
In reality, the way forward is quite clear, which is why the government thinks there is ample time to produce the proposals proper. Just stop making the false accusation that the universal suffrage envisaged in the Basic Law is not genuine universal suffrage and we're nearly there, barring a few details. The 2012 election with the five new functional constituency seats in Legco was by universal suffrage as agreed in 2010 by a Legco majority. The same model can and should be employed for the 2017 chief executive election, in which case there is ample time.
I'll put down a marker now that there will be no electoral model for universal suffrage that Mr Tai will find acceptable. Otherwise he will not have justification to reach his holy grail, Occupy Central. When he goes through with the Occupy Central plan, which I think he will, come hell or high water, I hope he will be severely dealt with.
Peter Lok, Chai Wan
Burqa is a symbol of suppression
Sehba Kahn ("Wearing burqa no big deal in tolerant city", November 3) presents the burqa as an expression of culture and tradition, and see questioning its meaning as Western interference.
The burqa is not an innocent way of dressing. We can all see in our tolerant streets males dressed in fashion-branded sports apparel followed by a shadow some yards behind that conceals a silent, obedient wife. The burqa has been designed with specific purposes: domination and suppression. In other words, inequality. We are not talking about a cheongsam or sari. Clitoris ablation or the honour killings of daughters, sisters or wives are also ancient traditions. So are arranged marriages of young girls to men four times their age.
To stone people - mostly women - who have had sex outside marriage is part of the culture in some countries. In my country many say that brutally killing bulls in the arena, or throwing a live donkey from a tower, is an expression of culture.
Since their first declaration in France in 1789, human rights have been a growing aspiration and inspiration on our planet.
The concept was born in what Ms Khan wrongly calls the "West" but its latest legal corpus has been signed by governments the world over. I find it difficult, considering the UN Human Rights Charter, to put the burqa into the picture.
The burqa has a purpose and is a symbol. Objection to it is not, as Ms Khan says, like forcing others to eat pita bread, or use a fork instead of chopsticks. In the end we have to ask what it is we are being tolerant of.
José Manuel Sevilla Pacho, Pok Fu Lam
No reason was given for Color Run snub
I was dismayed not only by the government's short-sighted decision to reject an application by organisers of the Color Run, a new charity event sweeping the world ("Color Run organiser hits a red light in HK", November 1), but also by the way it went about it.
I was hoping to take part in the event here next year, and was deeply disappointed when the plan was turned down.
Our supposedly progressive, dynamic city seemed less so than some on the mainland, which welcomed the event.
Hongkongers took to Facebook and Twitter to voice their objection. What really rankled was the government giving no reason for refusing permission.
Indeed, there are drawbacks to the race. Doctors have raised the possibility of respiratory tract infections in runners who might inhale the coloured cornstarch powder they are covered in. Environmentalists fear the polluting effect of the powder in the air and its getting into the water supply. But it is unacceptable that the government did not offer an explanation to the public for its rejection.
Its administration and decision making are not transparent enough. This kind of thing arouses the indignation of the public and further hurts the credibility of the government.
In my view it would have been much better to either permit the hosting of the Color Run, or provide a full justification for the decision to reject it.
Yeung Chin-yung, Tai Wai
Priestly case for forgiving unoriginal sin
As an atheist I am often astonished by the steps some Christians will take to shoot themselves in the foot and undo all the good work their many excellent pastors and congregations do.
The Bible has been around for 2,000 years, and there are a finite number of excerpts that can usefully be quoted and interpreted in a sermon, so it is hardly surprising that the copying of other priests' work happens ("Fresh call to curb plagiarist priests", November 3).
But even if one priest's inspirational words were plagiarised verbatim by another, what on earth is the problem with that?
If the sermon worked, and galvanised a congregation into action and reflection, then isn't copying or quoting from it an efficient use of time and something to be applauded?
If you want to spread the word of your God, then why wouldn't you choose to do it in a way that someone else had tried, tested and, therefore, that you knew would be guaranteed to work?
Do some people really have nothing better to do than to record sermons, transcribe them, run them through plagiarism software and complain to journalists? Wouldn't their time be better spent spreading the word of their God and carrying out His works?
If they don't like a priest's sermons then why don't they go to another church?
Or, if they can't find one, then why don't they set up their own with an "Originality Guaranteed" seal on the pulpit?
Lee Faulkner, Kennedy Town
Children being harmed in rush to achieve
Children are under increasing pressure to achieve academic results in Hong Kong.
Their vitally important development as children is being neglected. They need more leisure time to help them grow.
Parents are too competitive, worrying too soon about their children getting the best results and going to the best school, filling every bit of their free time with extra tutorials or revision.
Children have rights. They should have a happy, stress-free childhood, but instead are being buried in piles of books.
Leisure time helps children relax and find enjoyment and perspective. It recharges their batteries and refreshes their minds to return to study.
Maybe some parents think children's leisure time is wasted time, but it is essential to a sense of balance.
Joyce Yeung Shuk-yee, Ma On Shan