Letters to the Editor, December 21, 2013
Hongkongers should be more tolerant
I felt very disappointed by the response of Hongkongers to the power failure on the Tseung Kwan O Line on Monday which halted some MTR services for nearly five hours. They showed a very low level of tolerance when reacting to what was happening.
I understand that it was very inconvenient for them but they should put things in perspective. The MTR Corporation undertakes thorough inspections of trains on a daily basis. It provides a good service, serving millions of passengers with frequent trains that are punctual. But it cannot guarantee a 100 per cent smooth operation.
When there is an incident, such as a train breaking down, it has to deal with a huge number of passengers. It takes time to sort out the problem. People should try to co-operate and stop complaining.
When I was in London, I would sometimes have to wait for late trains and buses. On Sundays if you missed a bus you might have to wait for up to an hour for the next one, but I did not see people getting angry about this.
Why can't Hongkongers be more tolerant?
Why do they condemn a train being a few minutes late or a minor failure of the system? Are those few minutes really that important?
Because of this low level of tolerance, Hongkongers are too negative with officials.
But if they read news stories about some other parts of the world, they would soon realise how fortunate they are to be living in this beautiful city. Please stop tearing the city apart. Try to do your part towards making Hong Kong a better place.
M. L. Fong, Wong Tai Sin
Passengers were let down by MTR Corp
Passengers felt very confused by the power failure that led to the shutdown of the Tseung Kwan O Line on Monday.
They were instructed to leave those MTR stations which were forced to close and many were left confused by the announcement.
To deal with the problem, the MTR Corporation had arranged for free shuttle buses to take people to stations which were open, but some people felt the instructions they were being given were not clear and passengers at some stations did not get offered a shuttle bus.
I think there was a lack of contingency planning on the part of the MTR. Many passengers complained about finding it difficult to make out what was being said, as some announcements were neither clear nor loud enough.
Rachel Lam, Hung Hom
Choose leader from a pool of elites
Alan Johnson's letter ("Democracy can have shortcomings", December 17) was timely, published on the same day Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying was in Beijing briefing the leaders, who read Hong Kong newspapers unfiltered by their assistants.
The word "legitimacy" to which he refers in Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor's quote is an imprecise translation from the Chinese meaning "acceptability" or "identifiability with" (to the people). The assertion is an old fallacy started by the late Szeto Wah, who regularly spoke of "being able to live with a blundering leader who nevertheless has been chosen by ourselves".
But who cares if he and his pan-democrats can live with that poor leader? What about the other half of the voters who did not vote for him but are having to live with him?
We stand a far higher chance of netting a competent and conscientious leader, acceptable to all, by selecting candidates from a pool of elites nominated by a committee.
C. Y. Leung is performing far better than his predecessors despite all the obstacles the pan-democrats are throwing in his way.
Who cares what dubious polling says?
Peter Lok, Chai Wan
What could replace democracy?
Alan Johnson's letter ("Democracy can have shortcomings", December 17) is another criticism of democracy based on the belief some of the "rowdy masses" have caused problems.
The issues he refers to are not due to democracy per se, but to certain aspects related to the historical contexts of democratic development (in the case of the US) and the elite's hesitancy to devolve power to the bulk of the population (in Thailand's case).
He seems to be saying, as some Thais suggest, that an elite group who "know better" than the masses should rule. However, he has no specific plan mapped out for such a system. There are many letters criticising democracy, but they don't seem to have a plan about what should be put in its place.
Let's face it, human nature being what it is, there will be no perfect system that will stop dissent and the masses from taking to the streets.
Jennifer Eagleton, Tai Po
Government must support estate agents
I refer to the report ("Cooling measures to cost 10,000 jobs at agencies", December 10).
It is important for the government to introduce an education subsidy that allows real estate agents who have lost their job due to the drop in sales activity to find other work.
Real estate agents should not be left harbouring negative feelings towards the government. They should be able to feel that the government cares for them and is willing to provide an education subsidy for other jobs.
This should be planned and implemented before Chinese New Year.
Rishi Teckchandani, Mid-Levels
Bus fare rises will hit the public hard
I think the present fare tariffs on KMB buses are fair. However, I am opposed to its application, made last month, to raise fares by 4.3 per cent next year.
The company cites competition from the expanding railway network and rising costs for making the application to the government. It also argues this rise is in line with inflation.
I appreciate its arguments, but it has to consider what is fair for its passengers.
There are many Hong Kong citizens who will struggle to pay for these increased fares and it was last allowed to increase them only in March.
KMB should try not to impose increases too frequently.
Before calling for further hikes, the company should seek the views of the public on this matter.
Gloria Lau Lim-chi, Tsuen Wan
Thailand trafficking inexcusable
I refer to the report on the ongoing plight of Rohingya asylum seekers ("Thailand's secret refugee camps", December 5).
I call for an end to the abusive treatment Rohingya Muslims face in their Myanmar homeland and as asylum seekers in Thailand.
The secret camps uncovered by a special correspondent of the South China Morning Post reveal a shocking state of affairs.
Rohingya asylum seekers are allegedly removed from Thailand's formal detention centres by officials and sold into the hands of human traffickers, who hold them for ransom in a series of jungle camps hidden close to Thailand's border with Malaysia.
The humanity of the local Thai people who provided help to your source, a former detainee who managed to escape from one of the secret camps, stands in stark contrast to the inexcusable actions of the Thai officials who are allegedly involved and the neglect of agencies mandated to protect refugees and asylum seekers.
The Thai government should immediately and permanently close these secret camps and, together with civil society groups, arrange for the safe shelter of those currently held.
In co-ordination with the United Nations, they should also carry out a thorough and impartial investigation and ensure that Thai officials found colluding with traffickers are brought to justice.
Reiko Harima, managing director, Asian Migrant Centre
Peter O'Toole was so entertaining
Like many people, I was saddened to hear about the death of Peter O'Toole.
He was flamboyant, eccentric and at times a wonderful actor.
Around 30 years ago, I was in the UK and played cricket for a team in Harrow, Middlesex.
On one occasion O'Toole, who loved the game, was playing for the opposition. It was just a delight. I can't remember what he did with the bat but late into the game he came on to bowl.
It was like a Shakespearean production. "Rupert darling, could you possibly go into the slips; Freddie be a sweetheart and go to third man; Johnny, mid on luvvie" - and so on in this rich Old Vic accent.
After being slammed to all parts of the ground by the opposing batsmen, Peter contrived to get a wicket.
Up in the air went the ball from a mistimed pull and there was Johnny catching the ball.
The delight on Peter's face was something to behold. "Thank you Johnny. Thank you Lord!" he yelled.
It was so entertaining and so much fun.
Thank you Peter.
Peter Olsen, Discovery Bay