Letters to the Editor, January 24, 2014
Why change a system that works so well?
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and his administration, as with their predecessors, have delivered yet another year when Hong Kong has been awarded the No 1 slot on the Index of Economic Freedom - for the 20th year in a row - by the prestigious Heritage Foundation, in partnership with The Wall Street Journal.
The United States has dropped out of the first 10 to 12th position.
One has to wonder then why the opposition in Hong Kong seeks to adopt a system of government which leads to failure.
Unlike China, which has raised millions of its people out of poverty, the US and other countries in the West, in Europe, are driving their citizens into poverty. A record 47 million people in the US rely on food stamps for their daily meals and 50 per cent are relying on government for some sort of welfare support.
Our government has a surplus of funds, which the opposition wants to spend. The US and other Western European countries are heavily in debt and in the case of the US, the majority of that debt is due to China.
So one must question the motives of the opposition in Hong Kong in seeking to burden us with a failed system. Could it be that, rather than economic logic, it is political logic - a grab for power similar to Venezuela which has impoverished that nation notwithstanding its immense oil reserves?
Some members of the opposition have stated that universal suffrage is necessary to protect our freedoms but they fail to state who is the oppressor who may take them away and they fail to recognise that freedoms in the US and Western Europe have in fact declined since 9/11. For example, the US is collecting telephone and e-mail data not only of the people of Hong Kong and elsewhere, but also its own citizens.
Rather than a consultation as to how to introduce universal suffrage, should we not be considering the ways in which we can govern ourselves to achieve the best outcomes for Hong Kong people to preserve what we have?
Alan Johnson, Mid-Levels
Lawmakers should speak more English
During the Legislative Council's question-and-answer session for the chief executive's policy address on January 16, lawmaker Abraham Razack asked the chief executive questions about ethnic minorities and the chief executive answered - both in English.
I applaud Mr Razack's attempt to involve the many English speakers in Hong Kong in the political discourse. Legco not only serves the interests of the Chinese-speaking population but also non-Chinese-speaking residents.
It is disappointing that few legislators question officials and discuss issues in English, although some, such as Claudia Mo Man-ching, do regularly use it in council meetings.
More Legco proceedings should be conducted in English for two reasons.
First, non-Chinese residents can hear what legislators have to say without listening through an interpreter. As English is also an official language, residents have the right to receive information in its original form in English.
Second, local students can benefit from a more English-friendly environment, especially amid falling English standards among youngsters. Legislators can demonstrate to students the importance of the English language in a society like Hong Kong.
Therefore, I suggest legislators who are competent in English take turns speaking in English in the Legco chamber.
There are roughly 5 per cent of non-Chinese residents in our population, so why can we not have 5 per cent of legislators speaking in English in every meeting?
With many professionals and university graduates among our lawmakers, this voluntary scheme would not be difficult to put into practice.
Sunny Hor Tsz-ching, Siu Lam
No chance of the money running out
I refer to the report ("Money will run out, Tsang warns", January 20).
I was wondering if Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah is actually talking about Hong Kong.
The money will run out - is he serious? What figures is he looking at?
Hong Kong is flat-out wealthy and from the reports of the continuing (and large) budget surpluses, it seems we are getting richer.
Its reserves and regular budget surpluses make it a travesty that we aren't putting more money into the education of children at all levels, support for the poor, and continued infrastructure development among other pressing public issues.
Stuart McCarthy, Western district
Airport body still late with the news
There has been overspending by the Airport Authority and its Corporate Communications Department, which I and other correspondents have commented on before.
In spite of its generous budget and staffing levels, the department continues to bring out its issues of HKIA News late. The latest issue came out on the afternoon of December 31, when it should have been ready early in the month.
I am sure the public would like to know why Legco members of the board remain silent when the issue of overspending is raised.
F. Wong, Mong Kok
Smartphone users put own safety at risk
I refer to the letter by Kelly Lee On-ting ("MTR's mobile phone plea is now ignored", January 20).
She talked of the MTR Corporation's announcement asking people to hold the handrail and not just keep their eyes on their mobile phones. She said that for a brief period people obeyed it, but now many were back to their old habits of looking intently at their mobile phone screens and not holding the handrail.
You see people all over Hong Kong constantly looking at these devices.
Smartphones are very convenient, but it is not good to spend too much time on them. For one thing, it can damage your eyesight.
People need to exercise greater self-control especially when they are on moving escalators where, if they are not paying attention, they could get easily hurt. It is not asking too much for them to simply keep hold of the handrail.
People need to be aware of their personal safety and they must also learn to exercise greater self-control when it comes to their smartphones.
Lau Wing-man, Tseung Kwan O
Missile carrier test a worrying development
The news that China had flight- tested a hypersonic missile delivery system vehicle with nuclear warhead capability was described as a breakthrough by Chinese military experts ("China hails test of hypersonic missile carrier", January 15).
However, for everyone else, this should be extremely bad news, as it indicates a breakdown of trust and the advent of a new arms race, centred in Asia.
Besides the US, we can also expect Russia, India and Japan to gain the ability to respond, essentially by ensuring the possibility of mutual destruction.
While China wishes to limit America's sphere of influence in northeast and Southeast Asia, claiming sovereign rights to the huge swathes of sea on tenuous pretexts is not the act of a friendly neighbour and conflicts others' genuine interests.
China's newfound assertiveness may easily lead to a gung-ho belligerence.
It may sound alarmist but this could lead to a polarisation against China and a disengagement in economic relations. That would not be in the interests of anyone.
Having lived through the cold war in Europe, when outright nuclear war was avoided more by luck than judgment, I would not wish that again. However, history does have a nasty habit of repeating itself, and no one could look forward to that.
J. F. Kay, Lai Chi Kok
Importance of Chinese literature
I have noticed greater importance being attached to science and business in schools, but less to language subjects, in particular Chinese literature.
Some schools are actually considering abandoning it as a separate subject.
As an international financial centre, Hong Kong desperately needs professionals with sound knowledge of economics and business. Also, it has made headway in the field of scientific research.
However, Hong Kong people are neglecting the importance of Chinese language. Even in junior forms, I have heard students complaining that studying Chinese literature will not help them do well in exams or in their future careers.
Chinese is a beautiful language and there are important moral lessons to be found in many ancient works.
By studying, for example, The Story of the Stone, by Cao Xueqin, we can learn a great deal about ancient Chinese cultures.
Chinese literature is a great treasure handed down by our ancestors. It should be cherished and loved.
Students should not only concentrate on studying finance and science, but also learn to appreciate the beauty of their literature.
Michelle Yeung, Tsing Yi