Letters to the Editor, May 06, 2015
'Democrats' should let the people decide
Dr Chan Kin-man, co-founder of Occupy Central, argues "that a chief executive put in power by pseudo-universal suffrage would bring about another imminent threat - enactment of the national security law" ("The price for reform is too high", May 4).
Dr Chan was referring to Article 23 of the Basic Law, which stipulates "The HKSAR shall enact laws on its own to prohibit treason, secession, sedition, subversion against the Central People's Government".
This article is in the Basic Law so that such national laws that apply to the rest of the country are not applicable in Hong Kong.
In the South China Morning Post interview, he went on to say that "enactment of the national security law is a real and imminent threat to Hongkongers" and that "voting down the reform plan could at least put the bill off for a decade".
If the reform proposal is passed, chief executive candidates will have to face the five million voters on the question of national security legislation, and many other issues that are close, or closer, to the hearts of the people. And if the people choose to elect a chief executive who leads Hong Kong to fulfil its Article 23 responsibility, why should Dr Chan and the "democrats" deny the people the right?
Dr Chan and his fellow "democrats", if they are not pseudo democrats, should let the people decide.
Furthermore, laws are made by the Legislative Council.
Any proposal to legislate by a chief executive will have to have the majority support of the council.
Using national security legislation as the reason to delay universal suffrage, Dr Chan has run out of excuses.
Andrew Fung,information coordinator,Office of the Chief Executive
Have free shuttle buses for visitors
Fewer mainlanders have been visiting Hong Kong following the introduction of the once-a-week visa ruling for Shenzhen residents.
However, parallel traders in Hong Kong are still busy because many of them are from the SAR.
I believe that with fewer visitors from north of the border the economy is suffering.
As I said, congestion in certain areas of the northern New Territories is still a problem for local residents. Therefore the Hong Kong government should be providing free shuttle buses which will take visitors from border crossing points to Hong Kong Island.
This will relieve the overcrowding in those parts of the New Territories that have been the worst affected.
However, the central government should be doing more through introducing tougher legislation which can act as an effective deterrent to rogue businesses.
Manufacturers and shop owners on the mainland who try to cheat people with tainted food should face stiff punishments. And those firms which have passed government safety checks should be allowed to carry signs confirming this.
If this happens fewer mainland citizens will come to Hong Kong to buy essential items that they can get at home.
Rainbow Or, Tseung Kwan O
Regulate the use of e-cigarettes
There has been a lot of discussion of the use of electronic cigarettes in Hong Kong and whether their sale should be regulated.
Some people have called for a total ban on e-cigarettes in the SAR. They point to research which shows the possible health risks to lungs.
There are also concerns about their increasing popularity with teenagers who are the future pillars of society.
However, supporters of e-cigarettes argue that they offer an option for smokers who want to quit traditional cigarettes.
I do sympathise with those who argue that some legislation is needed governing the use of e-cigarettes.
The government should introduce laws which regulate their use in order to protect citizens, especially teenagers, who want to use them.
Education is also important so that people are made aware of the possible risks involved if they choose to use e-cigarettes. Schools have a role to play in this regard.
Chung Hoi-ki, Yau Yat Chuen
Students put under too much pressure
Many school students in Hong Kong feel stressed out because we live in an exam-oriented society.
Teenagers suffer a great deal because of the workload they face at school and some have resorted to suicide.
One of the reasons they are under so much pressure is because of the expectations of parents which are sometimes unrealistic.
Many force their sons and daughters to sign up for a lot of extracurricular activities even when they are young.
Does it really make sense to have a five-year-old learning Spanish? Should a little girl be having trombone followed by guzheng lessons? It does not make sense to overload even a talented child with so many activities.
Unfortunately, parents often attach more importance to their children's intellectual development and academic studies, but overlook their emotional needs and personal feelings.
When parents' expectations outstrip their children's abilities, difficulties arise. Too often youngsters are expected to aim for a university place.
There is keen competition and so many teenagers are left feeling frustrated and hopeless if their exam results are not good enough for them to get into a tertiary college.
Too many Hong Kong teens believe that you have failed completely if you have been unable to get accepted at a university. Rigid timetables, complicated instructions and inflexible rules, pile the pressure on students.
They also face stiff competition from their peers. While some may thrive in this kind of atmosphere it can also make other youngsters ill and damage their fragile self-esteem.
Clearly Hong Kong has a flawed education system and we should be helping youngsters explore their real interests and develop their talent so they can prepare for life. Schools and parents should not impose such a heavy workload on students.
Also, students should stop worrying about the expectations of others and have their own goals in life.
Wing Lee, Kwun Tong
Officials must see education as investment
One hardly knows what to make of our financial secretary's sources of information used or his preparation of each year's budget (or his extremely conservative interpretation thereof).
I have an idea. With such a huge continued and sustained budget surplus could we not look at the public education sector at all levels as an investment rather than a cost to be minimised?
Stuart R. McCarthy, Wan Chai
People should not trash country parks
During public holidays a lot of Hongkongers go to country parks for hiking.
They also have picnics at barbecue sites and often leave a lot of refuse behind.
All citizens who use these country parks have a civic responsibility to pick up and dispose of their own rubbish.
Areas in country parks covered in litter leave a bad impression with visitors.
There must be closer monitoring of people who go to country parks by the government.
Also, it should hire more personnel to empty rubbish bins at the parks once they are full. Some people have a habit of discarding refuse if bins are full to overflowing.
I hope the problem of littering in country parks can be dealt with effectively.
Eleanor Lui Lok-ching,Yau Yat Chuen