Letters to the Editor, November 30, 2013
Beijing must seek peaceful solution
I think the decision by Beijing to set up an air defence identification zone in the East China Sea may lead to increased tensions between China and Japan.
Relations have been strained for some time and the countries share a troubled past.
This latest move must be seen by Japan's government as a challenge and it will probably lead to worsening relations. It also increases the prospect of a military conflict where the victims would be innocent citizens.
Instead of acting without warning, it would have been better for Beijing to have entered discussions with Tokyo. This is certainly what needs to be done with regard to the territorial disputes.
If it seeks a peaceful resolution to this dispute, China will enhance its image on the international stage. Leaders of the two nations should be doing their best to co-operate.
They are very close geographically and do a great deal of business with each other.
Increased tensions do not help those business interests and could harm future economic development.
The central government wants the country to keep moving forward with its various programmes so that China's citizens can enjoy better standards of living.
These aspirations could be undermined by a threat of conflict.
Surely, no one wants to see innocent civilians becoming casualties in a war that must be avoided.
Our leaders must think carefully before taking any action that could lead to an escalation of tensions.
Yeung Kam, Tsuen Wan
Excellent role model for young people
It was not surprising that actor and singer Andy Lau Tak-wah topped a list of the people local children most want to model their lives on, as revealed by a survey released on Tuesday ("Andy Lau's new role: inspiring the kids", November 27).
As well as making numerous donations over the years, Andy Lau serves as a dedicated ambassador for several charities, making use of his influence and popularity to help promote them and encourage others to participate in charitable activities.
Andy has served as the health ambassador of Life Education Activity Programme (LEAP) since 1996 to promote its preventive drug education programmes that help to equip young people with the skills to handle life's many challenges, to lead a healthy lifestyle and to say "no" to drugs.
Over the last 17 years, Andy has actively supported LEAP's programme in many ways. Both in 1996 and 2012, through his charity foundation, he sponsored the specially-equipped static classroom at LEAP's offices with a total of up to HK$2 million. In addition, he has appeared in many of LEAP's activities and promotional materials, professional and friendly as always, to help LEAP spread its drug prevention message.
Andy is an excellent role model who gives his best in both his profession and philanthropy. He makes the best of his status as an influential celebrity to help spread positive messages and build a harmonious community.
Although he is widely acclaimed as the greatest megastar in Asia, he still shows that he has many plans and aspirations in life, while striving to achieve his goals. Being one of the most respected celebrities in Hong Kong and Asia, he could be the role model of many celebrities too in how he pays back the community.
As the leading drug prevention education organisation in Hong Kong, LEAP, founded in 1994, is proud to have Andy as our health ambassador just as we are also proud to have renowned fashion designer Vivienne Tam Yin-yok as our life buddy.
Heidi Lau, executive director, Life Education Activity Programme
Local parents need officials to solve crisis
I understand why there is a shortage of preschool places in North District, with so many children born in Hong Kong whose parents are mainlanders.
The influx of these children is a cause of concern for local parents who fear their children will not get a place at a kindergarten in the district. They must join long queues with mainland citizens in the hope of winning a place and this is not right.
The government has done nothing to help these local citizens. It needs to recognise that what is happening is unfair and resolve the problem.
Ngun Ka-wing, Tsuen Wan
Children lose out on crucial services
Special-needs children are losing out on the chance to rehabilitate, because of long queues for services.
Because demand exceeds supply, these children lose out at the most crucial stage, known as the "golden period", from birth to the age of three.
There are schools for special- needs children in Hong Kong, but they lack the resources needed to facilitate rehabilitation.
The government must do something to rectify this problem. It has a surplus and therefore it can surely provide more in the way of subsidies.
It makes welfare payments to the poor and the elderly, but special-needs children and their families seem to lose out.
Also the administrative procedures for parents who want to use the rehabilitation services are complicated and must be simplified.
They often have to go to different government departments and this process should be streamlined.
The problems these parents are experiencing need to be rectified as soon as possible so that the children can get the rehabilitation services they need within the crucial golden period.
Cheung Yau-ling, Ma On Shan
Market forces determine who will survive
Some people have argued that Hong Kong Television Network (HKTV) would have struggled to survive if it had been awarded a free-to-air licence.
However, whether or not it would make it is something that should have been determined by market forces, not by the Hong Kong government.
This is how it works with any other industry in this city, where different companies have to compete for a share of the market.
After all, it clearly had a lot of support from many citizens.
At the very least they are entitled to a detailed explanation from the government as to why the Executive Council rejected the station's bid.
Lily Cheng Tin-lai, Sha Tin
Immigration officers on HK side inflexible
As I am a regular traveller between Hong Kong and Shekou (where I have an office), I often make use of the Shenzhen Bay immigration point.
I would like to commend the mainland immigration officers. They are flexible, courteous, friendly, helpful, proactive and most of the time still have a smile on their face despite the heavy flow of people.
This is in stark contrast with their Hong Kong colleagues, who quite often are rude, inflexible and arrogant.
Fortunately I do not have to face them, as I have a Hong Kong permanent resident identity card.
Unfortunately some of my mainland staff do have to face them, and whereas on the mainland side we have an express lane (in case of emergencies or the need to catch a flight) you can forget that on the other side. This was even the case when we once got caught in an unexpectedly huge crowd during a normal working day.
With waiting time at Hong Kong immigration of more then an hour I asked the immigration officer if my member of staff could join me in the line for Hong Kong residents (where there was no one waiting) as we needed to catch a flight.
However, she was sent back to the queue she had come from and was informed by the officer that it was not his problem if we missed the flight (we showed our e-tickets).
Luckily, her fellow mainland citizens allowed her to jump the queue when she showed them her e-ticket and some were shouting to the front to let her pass.
Hats off to mainland immigration and to those mainlanders in the queue that day who ensured we made it to the airport in time for our flight.
Jeffry Kuperus, Clear Water Bay
Tighter rules will boost tourism sector
I support regulations aimed at banning the notorious budget tours which led to abuses such as forced selling.
This was putting some mainland citizens off coming to Hong Kong for a holiday and undermining the tourism sector which is so important to the city.
I think the regulations will lead to tour agencies providing better travel services.
Agencies will not be able to make up the loss incurred by charging low prices through forcing tour groups to shop at designated outlets in order to earn a commission.
If mainland tourists coming here are able to shop where they choose, this will obviously help our economy.
Some people were concerned tour agencies might struggle financially, but this is a short-term concern and the regulations will help with the healthy development of the sector in the long term.
Choki Chung Cho-kiu, Hung Hom