Letters to the Editor, November 21, 2013
More flexible one-child rule good for China
I support the decision of the Communist Party's central committee to relax the one-child policy.
It will give some couples more flexibility when they are considering their family planning options.
The policy needed to be reformed because it is outdated and no longer suited to the needs of the nation.
It will help to solve many of the social problems China faces.
The old policy has led to many only children in families growing up having been spoiled by their parents.
With living standards improving parents would give their children whatever they wanted.
This is less likely to happen with two babies and a child with a sibling can communicate better, is likely to grow up less self-centred and has a greater capacity to develop problem-solving abilities.
Secondly, the policy was initially designed to stop a population explosion, but current population growth is not as rapid as in previous years.
Also, China has to face problems associated with an ageing population. If there had been no relaxation of the rule, young people in the workforce would have faced the huge financial burden of caring for elderly relatives. The relaxation of the policy may put increased pressure on food and other resources, however, I think it is essential for the long-term development of China.
Vicky Lui, Cheung Sha Wan
Backing views of city's former top judge
Former chief justice Andrew Li Kwok-nang has come under criticism from a mainland legal scholar concerning the National People's Congress Standing Committee's power to override a court judgment of the Court of Final Appeal ("Andrew Li's defence of Basic Law 'an error'", November 15).
I agree with Mr Li that extreme caution is needed if Hong Kong's esteemed rule of law is not to be diluted by interference for short-term political reasons.
Beijing's previous landmark intervention in a key 1999 right of abode case is now exhibiting poor prescience.
In 1999 the Court of Final Appeal ruled that children of parents who have right of abode in Hong Kong also have the same right, irrespective of whether their parents were permanent residents at the time of their birth, but this ruling was overturned.
Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor has been expressing concern about Hong Kong's rapidly ageing population and the low birth rate.
These children would have been a valuable addition to Hong Kong's population in lowering the ageing bias.
To the contrary, the mainland controlled quota of 150 persons that enter Hong Kong daily allows in many elderly people.
Charlie Chan, Mid-Levels
Education in human values is important
I enjoyed reading the article published on your online edition which discussed Hindu parents' efforts in Hong Kong to cultivate the principles of Vedanta in their children ("Hindu parents reflect on how to share tenets of the faith with their children", November 4).
The idea that education should be about more than just achieving academic excellence, but actually about achieving all- round human excellence and developing a strong character, is a very important one.
Education must aim at providing the child with the tools not just to earn a livelihood, but to build a life worth living.
It should raise children with a lively conscience and with the inner resources so that they may fully apply themselves to their various roles in the family, workplace, society and global community of which they are a part.
For this we must nurture both the mind and the heart of the child.
This is a concept that is very underappreciated in Hong Kong, where there is a lot of emphasis on academic excellence only as a measure of success.
I'm very interested to see this topic addressed in this article.
I hope there will be more opportunities to bring this subject of "education in human values" to the forefront, and discuss the perspectives of parents, students and businesses in Hong Kong on this topic, and the impact it has made on their lives.
K. Bharwani, Mid-Levels
Optimistic about friendly long-term ties
The typhoon tragedy in the Philippines has drawn a lot of sympathy and financial support from Filipinos living here and Hongkongers.
I hope this beautiful country with its optimistic people will soon recover.
Although relations between Hong Kong and the Philippines have been poor since the bus hijack in 2010 in Manila, I have no doubt that both sides can put their differences aside and ensure our long-term friendship.
It is important that domestic helpers from the Philippines who work here can do their jobs without being hassled in any way.
They are here to help their families back home. Some of them will have lost loved ones in this devastating natural disaster. At such a time we have to give a helping hand to those in need.
Pun Ka-hung, Kwai Chung
Some things never change in Philippines
I totally agree with W. Scott Thompson who wrote that the Philippine rich live comfortable lives amidst their country's grinding poverty ("Disaster relief for Philippines welcome, but what of others?" November 16).
He asked where Imelda Marcos and her Romualdez clan are in this time of tragedy, and he rightly commented that the Philippine government "has never had the guts" to go after them, because "the family plays poor but lives princely lives, untouchable it seems by the laws of the nation".
Meanwhile President Benigno Aquino is engaged in his own histrionics by declaring he will hunker down in Tacloban to oversee relief efforts and congressman boxer Manny Pacquiao has declared he'll dedicate his Macau fight to his countrymen.
One thing you can say about us Filipinos is: we may be poor but we're great drama performers. It's a national disease called palabas meaning an ostentatious display. It usually surfaces in times of stress and keeps the general populace away from thoughts of revolution.
Renata Lopez, Wan Chai
Law needed to curb light pollution
I recently watched a programme on television which explained that light pollution levels in Hong Kong are much higher than international standards.
Your readers might think it is not possible to see the night sky here. However, recently I went to Cheung Chau to join a stargazing camp.
The light pollution is less serious there. The sky was very clear and dark, I could see so many stars with the naked eye and through a telescope.
Of course, this was possible because of the absence of brightly-lit adverts on the island.
The government has to address this problem. I think it should pass legislation limiting the times when these lights can be switched on.
Most shops in urban areas like Mong Kok and Tsim Sha Tsui keep their external lights for adverts switched on even after they are closed for the night. It is a terrible waste of energy and money.
They should have to turn them off as they are shutting up every evening.
If we do not act now to solve this pollution problem, future generations will suffer.
I would like to see a future where Hongkongers can look up and actually see the stars in the night sky.
We can make a start by taking measures now to curb this form of pollution.
Sion Chan, Kowloon Tong
We must learn to conserve fresh water
I refer to the report ("Project succeeds in lifting Dongjiang water quality'', November 8).
According to the article the water quality of the Dongjiang, which supplies most of Hong Kong's fresh water, has improved.
Officials said it was cleaner now with no evident "industrial waste or pollution".
However, although the river meets national drinking water standards, the Water Supplies Department has said Hong Kong needs to look for alternative water sources because of an increase in the regional population. Also, with climate change, it is possible there will be more droughts.
Without a supply from this river we only have our reservoirs which do not have sufficient capacity to meet the demands of Hong Kong's populace.
While a seawater desalination plant is possible, it is a very expensive option.
I think a public education campaign will be necessary to change people's habits when it comes to water consumption.
If the government can raise levels of awareness, then hopefully citizens will recognise the importance to trying to save water. This could solve the problem of a limited fresh water supply in the future.
Angel Chiu Sum-yu, Tsuen Wan