Letters to the Editor, April 15, 2015
Pan-dems may alienate moderates
I refer to the article by Tony Kwok Man-wai ("Lee's vision", April 9).
I agree with him that the pan-democrats should learn from Lee Kuan Yew.
As a moderate pan-dem, I must admit I feel very disappointed with the way that the pan-democrats have been behaving of late. I also feel that we have been hijacked by the more vocal radicals.
The present state of affairs is far from satisfactory. The government does not have a strong mandate and hence is vulnerable to opposition. Every decision has its own winners and losers. At present, people score points just for government bashing. Politically, we seem to be at a standstill.
Our pan-democratic legislators just seem to be opposing everything that the government puts forward. Then, for their part, the pro-establishment lawmakers back everything the administration proposes. This is unhealthy.
In the US, you know what each party stands for. The Republicans, for example, are anti-abortion, and pro-gun. But they do not, as a matter of course, try to block anything put forward by the Democrats and ruling Democratic president, because that would lead them nowhere. They have a platform based on which they make their voices known.
Here in Hong Kong, we need a platform, from the pan-democrats and the pro-establishment camps, on where they will stand on each issue for the next five years. They should present their platform and let voters decide at elections.
I don't like the decision on political reforms in Hong Kong announced in August by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress. But we have to be pragmatic. If we cannot change it in one go, we take two steps instead of one. That is better than standing still.
I feel so sad that we no longer have moderate voices. Any efforts to silence the likes of Ronny Tong Ka-wah and Nelson Wong Sing-chi will only alienate moderates like me from the current herd of pan-dems.
Dennis Li, Mid-Levels
Pros and cons of new visa restrictions
There are arguments for and against the decision by the Shenzhen authorities to limit their permanent residents to one visit a week to Hong Kong.
It should help with the crackdown on parallel traders, who are buying products in Hong Kong to resell at a profit on the mainland.
They were the main focus of the rallies which have taken place over the past two months in Yuen Long, Tuen Mun, Sheung Shui and Sha Tin.
The demonstrations reflected the discontent felt by many residents about the effect these traders were having on their lives, with shortages and rising prices of daily necessities.
It is estimated that this new restriction will cut the number of Shenzhen visitors by about 4.5 million. Given that tourism is so important to the SAR, this could hurt the economy.
However, because of the deep resentment felt against the parallel traders, we could see a more harmonious society.
It has to be recognised that the effect on smuggling operations may be limited as many cross-border smugglers and parallel traders are Hongkongers and so the new once-a-week rule will not apply to them. Therefore, parallel trading will continue.
Tensions between locals and mainland visitors have been heightened in the past few weeks and they may be eased with this policy.
It is obviously a good thing if there is less friction and the two sets of citizens can eventually get on with each other.
Although, as I said, there will be drawbacks, I think that overall the advantages of this new cross-border restriction will outweigh the disadvantages.
Tse Yan-ue, Kowloon Tong
Upgrade nuke contingency strategy
I have safety concerns about the new nuclear reactor that is being constructed in Taishan, Guangdong ("French warning on nuclear reactors", April 10).
France's nuclear safety authority warned of weaknesses found in steel supplied to a French reactor by the same manufacturer which has supplied "steel parts" to the Taishan plant.
I am worried that unexpected cracks could lead to leaks of radioactive substances and what the implications would be for Hong Kong.
Your report ("Nuclear reactors 'did not receive latest safety tests'", April 11) illustrates the need for the Hong Kong government to pay close attention to these latest revelations.
Since it began operations, the Daya Bay nuclear plant has dealt efficiently with any problems once they have been detected.
It is difficult to imagine what the consequences would be if there was an accident at one of the Taishan reactors as it has been constructed on a much larger scale than Daya Bay.
It is time for the Hong Kong government to upgrade the emergency protocols it has drafted to deal with any possible nuclear accidents.
Currently, there is only information about planned measures to deal with an emergency at the Daya Bay and Lingao nuclear plants on government websites.
Felix Liu Lekai, Shek Tong Tsui
Punish firms which bring out false ads
I am concerned that so many companies nowadays exaggerate when promoting their products. Customers want to know the facts about products. They do not want information which makes claims that may be inaccurate and are sometimes downright dishonest.
These adverts that you see on television or in posters on the streets and in shopping malls tend to exaggerate and therefore mislead customers.
If the wrong information is being provided then this is tantamount to cheating.
For example, so many slimming adverts equate being slim with being beautiful. Firms, including brand names selling clothes, want to use the thinnest models and celebrities in adverts.
Also, firms selling slimming products make unrealistic claims, for example, that you can lose weight with little effort and just by taking their products. But any sensible weight loss programme must involve adjusting your daily diet and exercising regularly. This is not a trivial matter. Promotions which exaggerate make it more difficult for consumers to make informed choices.
I understand that companies use ad campaigns to sell as much of their product as possible and so make a profit. However, they need to act responsibly and recognise they have a duty to customers to provide accurate information.
The government should have strict regulations governing what can and cannot be included in an advert with tougher punishments for advertisers who break the rules.
Chung Miu-shan, Kowloon Tong
It is possible to cut reflections from buildings
The daily lives of residents in some built-up areas such as Yau Tsim Mong are seriously affected by sunlight which is reflected from the glass curtain walls of nearby offices.
At different times of the day, the reflection can also distract motorists.
Developers should have some kind of filter system on buildings to reduce reflections and the resultant glare. Also, in areas with a high density of buildings, glass with less of a reflection should be used. This would reduce road safety risks.
Solar panels could be used to reduce reflections and also provide more energy.
We need to learn to utilise sunlight in the correct way in this city and reduce problems like powerful reflections.
Tiffany Wong, Kowloon Tong