Letters to the Editor, June 1, 2014
Update policy on fighting drug abuse
Juvenile drug abuse has been a big problem in Hong Kong for a long time.
The government has implemented a voluntary drug-testing scheme, but I think this policy can only help teenagers who already have drug problems.
Television adverts are used to highlight the dangers of taking drugs, but I don't think they really have any positive influence on teenagers. I hope the government can find new ways to tackle juvenile drug abuse.
Many teenagers are aware of the dangers of taking drugs, but they still persist. The most likely explanation for this is the huge pressure they are under at school due to heavy workloads. Students who cannot deal with large amounts of homework and quizzes often take drugs to help cope with the pressure and to relax.
According to a recent study, positive thinking amongst teenagers results in a reduction in the numbers taking drugs.
The government should not only tell teenagers about the disadvantages of taking drugs, but should also help ease the pressure that they face.
Chloe Lee, Kwai Chung
New dialogue needed on LGBT rights
It was truly a sad spectacle to see church leaders mobilise parishioners to rally against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) equal rights in Tsim Sha Tsui on May 18.
The rally, "I Love Parents, I Love Family", purported to promote family values; however, according to media reports, anti-LGBT signs and banners were visible in the rally. Families come in different shapes and sizes; sexual orientation has no bearing on the definition of family.
As Equal Opportunities Commission chief Dr York Chow Yat-ngok stated eloquently in the article ("United by love", May 15), "Just because a family looks less typical does not make it any less devoted or unified…Rather than stigmatising and excluding parents and families who do not fit the traditional mould, it would be far more constructive to look at how we can support all families to grow to become the healthiest and strongest they can be."
In addition, it was reprehensible that some groups tried to bully the Family Planning Association and the Boys' and Girls' Clubs Association into submission by spreading misinformation about homosexuality ("NGO under fire over sexuality counselling", May 23).
Homosexuality is not an illness or a disorder.
As a matter of human rights and social justice, LGBT citizens should have equal rights and equal protection under the law. When it comes to transgender persons, a progressive and robust gender recognition policy would not lead to chaos.
If religious leaders are truly interested in making positive contributions to society, they should stop oppressing sexual minorities and LGBT families.
Let us have a respectful and meaningful dialogue with the LGBT community to come up with ideas that respect religious freedom and the equal rights of LGBT citizens.
Jerome Yau, Happy Valley
MTR antics inconvenience passengers
I am writing to express my opinion about the weird behaviour of some passengers on MTR trains.
A recent photograph showing a passenger dozing in a hammock strung up in a compartment in an MTR train has gone viral on the internet and provoked heated discussion. This behaviour raises the question of how the MTR Corporation can tolerate such antics?
This type of behaviour is a nuisance to other passengers. Most commuters want to have a quiet journey in a safe, clean environment. However, antisocial behaviour such as eating, shouting or, even worse, fighting inconveniences passengers and reduces their faith in the MTR's service.
MTR staff should patrol compartments. Rules are in place, but they are seldom enforced and penalties are too lenient. The MTR could increase the frequency of announcements and display adverts in stations, warning against misbehaviour and encouraging passengers to be considerate to fellow travellers.
The MTR must make every effort to provide a service of the highest quality. If the situation deteriorates, the MTR Corporation will pay a heavy price.
Alan Lam, Tuen Mun
Singapore housing policy benefits locals
Some correspondents have argued that Hong Kong has much to learn from Singapore.
I agree that the biggest challenge Hong Kong faces is the uneven distribution of resources, as it causes many domestic problems and conflicts in the city, which in turn makes the city less competitive.
However, I believe many countries and cities are facing the same problem. All over the world, resources are limited and supply cannot satisfy demand.
While this is the case, Hong Kong does seem to compare unfavourably with Singapore and the SAR government could learn from the Lion City, particularly with regard to housing.
The Singapore government offers considerable support to locals who want to own their own homes and has implemented policies that help to keep prices paid by locals lower than those paid by foreigners.
By providing support to locals the government is helping to protect the rights of citizens and improving their living standards. This in turn helps maintain the price of flats and regulates the market supply.
I am not saying that Singapore is a better place than this city, but in some aspects it has undoubtedly done a better job. Hong Kong can learn from this and improve itself.
Cindy Yuen Wing-sze, Kwun Tong
Delay HK Apec visas for Singaporeans
I refer to the letter by Abdul Rahman ("Singapore visa delay requires explanation", May 23).
Given that Singapore appears to be delaying issue of Apec (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum) visas for Hong Kong people, I trust our Immigration Department is assigning Singaporean applications for Hong Kong Apec visas to the wastepaper bin.
Dallas Reid, Wan Chai
Import labour to address shortage
Employers can import foreign labour through the Supplementary Labour Scheme, which commenced in 1996. There are currently about 2,900 workers employed under the scheme.
Initially, some local citizens were worried about its impact on jobs and social welfare.
However, the imported workers cannot access social welfare and many employers provide foreign workers with housing subsidies.
Foreign workers will not take jobs from locals, as the scheme is regulated. It only allows employers to apply for imported labour for jobs that cannot be filled locally.
The government should allow more foreigners to work in Hong Kong to ease the labour shortage and improve the local economy.
Paula To Hiu-man, Tsing Yi