Letters to the Editor, March 23, 2014
Hong Kong flourished as a British colony
In his letter ("Agitators hope for Western intervention" March 15), in response to Evan Fowler's letter ("In many ways, HK is treated like a colony", March 10) Peter Lok said, "If it was Beijing doing the alienating, it would have started before Hong Kong's reversion to Chinese sovereignty in 1997, but it didn't."
Wasn't there a 150-year treaty that would expire on June 30, 1997?
It was this treaty that left Hong Kong a British colony. It was this British colony that the mass of entrepreneurs from Shanghai chose over Taiwan as a refuge in 1949 and helped make Hong Kong an economic success.
It was this colonial system that "suppressed" me into having a Western education, enabling me to earn a comfortable living and write to these columns. While I was growing up my relatives north of the border had to endure hunger and malnutrition during the Great Leap Forward and were later sent to villages hundred miles away for "re-education" during the Cultural Revolution.
These are facts that I have seen with my own eyes. Therefore I sympathise with these so-called colonial flag-wavers, especially the young ones. They were just fighting for the better lives their ancestors enjoyed under the colonial system.
Today I see those Hong Kong elitists who were genuine products of the British colonial system masking themselves as patriots because they have to move on.
I don't know if I would do the same if I were in their shoes. But to deny the fact of the betterment of the livelihood of the people of Hong Kong under the colonial system would render me disingenuous.
Tony Yuen, Mid-Levels
Anti-mainland protests hit our economy
I wish to express my great concern about the recent fierce demonstration against mainlanders who were intimidated while shopping in Tsim Sha Tsui.
I totally disagree with their action.
First, it has tarnished Hong Kong's hospitable image. The protesters' behaviour sent out the message that Hongkongers will no longer welcome mainland tourists. And tourists who witnessed the march must have felt annoyed and embarrassed.
Inevitably, they would not have had a good experience of Hong Kong since they were not treated respectfully and would not want to come back.
Therefore this kind of protest would have a bad impact on our tourism industry. Tour guides may lose their jobs. Since tourism is one of the main industries in Hong Kong, this could lead to a rise in unemployment and affect our economy in the long term.
Other related industries such as catering and retail businesses would also be affected since customer numbers would drop.
Protesters should express their opinions without feeling the need to be offensive. Although we have freedom of speech, we should always be careful about what we are doing and saying.
Joyce Chung Nga-lok, Kowloon Tong
Both the UN and HK need to be reformed
The main purposes of the United Nations include keeping the peace, conquering hunger, disease and illiteracy, and encouraging respect for each other's rights and freedoms. However, objectively, is it really working? I doubt it.
At the centre of the UN is the Security Council consisting of 15 members. The great powers that were victors of the second world war - China, France, Russia, the UK, and the US - serve as the body's five permanent members. They can veto any substantive Security Council resolution. If only one country votes against, a resolution will be blocked.
It is similar to the election of the chief executive in Hong Kong. Hongkongers have been protesting for universal suffrage as the present chief executive was elected solely by a 1,200-member election committee which is not neutral. It cannot represent the choice of all Hongkongers. In the same way, the five permanent members of the Security Council have too much power and influence over the United Nations.
Christobel Hui, Sha Tin
Air con bad for schools, health and the planet
Schools turn on the air conditioners in summer all day. Nonetheless, always turning on air-conditioners has its drawbacks
Learning in an air-conditioned environment may lead to health problems. It triggers occasional major outbreaks of airborne illnesses such as Sars as the there is inadequate ventilation. Students and teachers go to school in blistering heat, but then they go into classrooms which are very cool.
Sudden change in temperature affects the respiratory system. It has a drying effect on mucous membranes, which leaves you more vulnerable to contracting colds and flu. Air conditioning is associated with throat irritation too.
A study published in 2004 in the International Journal of Epidemiology found people who worked in air-conditioned offices in Paris saw doctors about colds and flu more often, and also had more skin problems.
Moreover, using air-conditioners exacerbates the economic burden on schools and students. In addition, we have to burn fossil fuels to run air-conditioners, which leads to the greenhouse effect. Shouldn't we protect the environment? We can use fans and open windows to substitute for air conditioners.
Carmen Wong Siu-kwan, Sha Tin
Back local tech talent to make city prosper
I am writing in response to Cyrus Ng Kai-cheung's letter ("Invest more in research and development", March 17).
Nowadays, although technology has brought Hongkongers convenience, and technology is completely integrated into our lives, Hong Kong is far behind compared to other more developed societies.
Take Japan as an example. Gaming apps and devices are popular technology that originated in Japan. By selling and inventing such technologies, Japan has developed a lot.
The Hong Kong government should consider putting more investment into and paying more attention to the development of technology. Local developers could be encouraged, and talented inventors should be given support.
This could allow Hong Kong to become a truly international city.
Kenneth Chan Yu-hin, Clear Water Bay
Let people see street art and don't remove it
I refer to the removal of the mosaic art in Hong Kong.
These artworks were created by a famous French artist called Invader and all have different meanings and characteristics. Some are about kung fu, as Hong Kong is the hometown of Bruce Lee. I think these art works are unique and represent Hong Kong. They could surely become another tourist attraction. We should be happy that a famous artist worked in the city and we should let all Hongkongers have an opportunity to see them.
The government is putting a lot of effort into making Hong Kong a cultural city. Why not keep this street art?
Amy Yim Pik-yu, Ma On Shan