Letters to the Editor, July 14, 2014
Give insurers clear 'best interests' rule
Enoch Yiu's column ("Insurers should always act in clients' best interests", July 8) misses the point at issue.
As insurers, our business is built upon taking good care of consumers' interest and we always support the principle of acting in the best interests of policyholders. However, if this principle is to be made into a law, it is important we are told clearly what we are required to do to comply with it.
The requirements should not be left vague and uncertain. When we make traffic rules, for example, we tell people what the speed limit is - we do not simply say everyone should drive in the "best interests" of others and leave it to motorists to guess what that means.
Over the years, we have served millions of customers by providing them with the necessary insurance coverage.
We actively support good market conduct, which requires an effective and clearly defined regulatory framework.
There are close to 70,000 insurance agents in Hong Kong. It is important to ensure they understand and comply with their legal obligations, as the pecuniary penalty involved under the proposed legislation can be as high as HK$10 million.
Thus the "best interests" requirement needs to be properly addressed and we will continue to seek constructive dialogue with the government to try to find a practical solution for the benefit of all, including policyholders.
Peter C. H. Tam, chief executive, Hong Kong Federation of Insurers
Very fragile ecosystem under threat
As a resident based in the Kei Ling Ha wetland area, I wish to point out the unabated destruction of the ecosystems which I have witnessed over the last two years.
This has been caused by hundreds of outsiders coming onto the mudflats on hot summer weekends to dig up the natural habitat of shellfish and crabs of all shapes and sizes, but in particular the blue and grey soldier crabs, which are soft-shelled and are apparently good to eat.
These crabs provide part of the food chain for birds in the area, which include egrets.
On one public holiday, I counted only two of these magnificent white birds with their long beaks wading across the mud for food.
Some days I see none, and it was very noticeable that few migrating birds appeared during the winter. This natural habitat is being destroyed by outsiders who are only concerned about their stomachs.
In 1994, Kei Ling Ha was designated a site of special scientific interest and I am surprised no measures are in place to protect the environment here. Does the government care?
At the end of May, along Sai Sha Road, Baguio [Waste Management and Recycling Ltd] vehicles were cutting down young trees and saplings, the understory layer of the tree canopy layer, which will reduce the leaf area index and slope stability.
I hope that the government department responsible will replace and replant the trees felled to restore the environment to what it should be.
Andrew Service, Sai Kung
Contradiction exists at heart of China
The continuing tightening of the screws on the mainland ("Information gag on journalists", July 9) brings back to me memories of watching the film Gandhi, directed by Richard Attenborough, which portrayed the declining years of the British empire.
Perhaps it is therefore not surprising that Mohandas Gandhi's written works are currently popular among some mainland academics, being translated there now at Sun Yat-sen (Zhongshan) University, and apparently to be published there - if of course the authorities will, in the end, allow it.
There is one scene I recall early on in Gandhi's use of civil disobedience; this was the burning of the passbooks required by the British authorities to be carried by all non-whites in South Africa.
It showed courage and determination in the face of tyranny and oppression, and how such selfless acts can, indeed, ignite fires.
This led me to the following thoughts.
If I were to burn a copy of the constitution of the People's Republic of China in Tiananmen Square, I would no doubt be arrested.
If I were to stand up in Tiananmen Square and say that freedoms guaranteed under the constitution must be respected, I would no doubt be arrested.
This is a vivid illustration of the contradiction at the heart of the People's Republic under the Chinese Communist Party, and until this is resolved there can be no real stability.
Dr Jon Fearon-Jones, Macau
Stop knocking hard-working government
Since moving back from England to Hong Kong in 2003, I have heard endless complaints from various sectors against the Hong Kong government.
These complaints have covered issues such as housing, health, education and universal suffrage, but I have hardly heard any praise or encouragement on its achievements.
This is very disappointing and must be disheartening to the government.
Having lived overseas for nearly 10 years and returned, I have come to appreciate and enjoy the freedom, the efficiency and the safety of this place I call home.
Why anyone would want to ruin and destroy this free, safe and efficient place by putting down the government indiscriminately and paralysing our business district is beyond my comprehension.
I am strongly opposed to any kind of civil disobedience. The Occupy Central movement, in my opinion, will not solve any problems related to livelihood or universal suffrage, but will create division in our society and breed a culture of violence.
I urge like-minded people to come out and support the Alliance for Peace and Democracy group, which is opposed to violence and Occupy Central.
Cecilia Ng, Mid-Levels
Asia's finest make HK liveable
I have never loved my mother country more than I do now. And, as always, I admire and value the professionalism of our police.
Hong Kong would not be a liveable city without them.
All law-abiding people should express their disgust towards those who choose to break the law and regulations in the Legislative Council chamber, such as some of our radical lawmakers.
Those many citizens who appear to be unhappy with the government can always leave and seek greener pastures.
G. Chan, Mid-Levels
Not grasping strategy of pan-democrats
I refer to the report quoting Legco president Jasper Tsang Yok-sing ("Tsang to Beijing: HK faith is on the line", July 8) and the article by Sonny Lo ("How opinion polls could break 2017 election deadlock", July 8).
They have mistaken the pan-democrats' end for their means and their means for their end.
They rather generously think the pan-democrats' end is universal suffrage without the nomination committee, what they call genuine democracy. Their silly games like the walkout during the Legco question-and-answer session and filibustering are the means.
No, the opposite is the case. Their end has always been to unseat a Beijing-favoured administration in Hong Kong, and next to topple the communist central government in Beijing.
Their means is to use the quest for "genuine democracy" to stir up so much unrest that a "Hong Kong Tiananmen" ensues, resulting in boots-on-the-ground intervention by the world policeman and the secession of Hong Kong, thereby fulfilling their dream of becoming a foreign national without having to leave Hong Kong.
It won't happen, but if Beijing does concede what they want, they will make new demands to have the excuse to refuse to cooperate and to stir up more unrest, that is, taking another foot for the inch given.
So, Mr Tsang, Hong Kong will not become ungovernable only because the so-called genuine universal suffrage falls through. It is already ungovernable and so cannot be made worse. And Mr Lo, though beside the point now, successive opinion polls have to be held by secret ballot to be regarded as credible.
Beijing knows this, and pan-democrats know Beijing knows.
This is the reason for issuing the white paper - to tell them enough is enough, don't say you haven't been warned.
Peter Lok, Chai Wan
MTR must now promise better service
Many passengers disagreed with the decision by the MTR Corporation to raise fares in June.
They objected because of the breakdowns on the network, which caused delays and made them late for work, and the overcrowding problems at some stations that were not being dealt with.
Also, they felt that there were no reparations when they were held up by these problems.
I accept that the average fare rise is lower than the rate of inflation and it won't cost passengers that much more.
However, now that the fare hike is in force, the MTR Corp must make a pledge to passengers that it will improve its services. Otherwise it will face more dissatisfaction from its customers.
Mok Sze-lam, Kowloon Tong