Letters to the Editor, June 15, 2015
Government's logic is puzzling
I find it difficult to understand the logic behind the contentions made by the government and the pro-Beijing camp in connection with the political reform package.
The central theme of the government's propaganda is to ask the general public to "pocket" the package, which supposedly implies that the government acknowledges that the package is not satisfactory.
If this is the case, why should we accept such a flawed electoral system which will have a far-reaching effect on the city's political landscape?
On the one hand, it has been stated by the government to reassure the public that, once the proposed method of selection of the chief executive in 2017 is approved, it is possible to revise the electoral system in the future. On the other hand, the establishment has emphasised that if the current proposal cannot be passed, the prospect of universal suffrage in Hong Kong will be dim.
It is easy to see the absurdity in such arguments. If the electoral system can be revised, why can't the government improve it now to make it in line with the international standard of universal suffrage?
Why do we have to accept a flawed electoral system with a small-circle nominating committee which will only shortlist Beijing loyalists as chief executive candidates, and wait for an indefinite period of time for improving the system?
Michael Ko, Tsing Yi
'Pocket it first' and then progress
With only a few days to go before the voting on the government's proposed political reforms in the Legislative Council, the people of Hong Kong are not really left with much of a choice.
The reality is that passing the reforms is the only way to give citizens some kind of choice.
For those who would accept the "pocket it first" proposal, they will be able to cast their vote and choose their chief executive among the choices pre-approved by the central government.
Those who do not accept the proposals refuse to "legitimise false universal suffrage" because the chosen chief executive will not be their real choice and cannot claim to represent Hong Kong people. They can simply abstain from voting in the 2017 election or return a blank ballot paper.
With a very low turnout, I don't think the so-called winner can feel any sense of pride or legitimately claim to be a true representative of Hong Kong people. Hopefully, over time, the low turnout will lead to discussions between Beijing and Hong Kong for further changes in the electoral system. "Pocket it first" may not mean "pocket it forever".
The true Hong Kong spirit is to remain positive.
Juanna Yin Wai-yin, Mong Kok
Squabbling leaves many confused
The so-called dialogue between the government and the pan-democrats, after all these months, has not resolved differences, which is probably due to the lack of understanding on both sides.
For the democrats, their baseline is they want "real universal suffrage", that is, no screening of chief executive candidates.
The government, on behalf of Beijing, wants to ensure the nominated candidates are not troublemakers.
The two sides repeat the same demands and make the same points. They meet behind closed doors and spend a lot of money pushing their respective agendas. They both feel they are taking the moral high ground without considering political reality in Hong Kong. As a result many innocent Hong Kong people are left confused.
Here, I would venture to give my opinion for the consideration of the newly formed Path for Democracy group.
The pan-democrats could agree to support the government's political reform package motion put before Legco this week on one condition. If the nominated candidates all turned out to be pro-establishment nominees, then they would justifiably boycott the election and resort to more radical means than those adopted by the Occupy Central movement.
Patsy Leung, Mid-Levels
Levy leads to steep rise in paper bag use
There is no doubt the plastic bag levy nurtures good habits, with more people bringing their own shopping bags.
When it was first introduced, it applied to the supermarket chains, but was extended to all retail outlets in April.
However, while there is support for this move, some public concerns have been expressed about the implementation of the charge system.
With a view to promoting their brands and tempting customers some companies are handing out their own recyclable bags to people. This leads to people accumulating a lot of these bags.
However, the material of some of these bags is not always as environmentally friendly as people think, less so, for example, than plastic bags, which are biodegradable.
Also, with the expanded levy in April, plastic bags are often being replaced by paper bags. Of course, they are biodegradable, but if a lot more of them are in use in Hong Kong, then more trees are being cut down.
The government has to think about fine-tuning the legislation and restricting the issuing of recyclable and paper bags. Officials must also ensure the levy is being enforced.
Fion Sy, Yau Yat Chuen
Mainland trips good for students
I agree with those teachers who say that Hong Kong students can benefit from making trips to the mainland.
Some opponents of these trips point to the potential risk of brainwashing, but I do not think that need be an issue.
Students in Hong Kong are generally mature enough to be able to think independently.
Rather than looking at adverse effects, we should see how beneficial these trips can be.
China has made great progress economically, and in the fields of technology and industry.
Young Hongkongers can broaden their horizons and learn more about the advances achieved by the nation.
Also, there have been tensions and confrontations between some locals and mainland visitors, with derogatory comments sometimes being made about the tourists.
Teenagers who go north of the border can help to nurture mutual understanding and respect.
We need to recognise that under "one country, two systems", Hong Kong is still a part of China.
Chan Ka-wing, Sha Tin
Flexible hours system will benefit staff
I support calls for more workplaces to introduce a flexible working hours scheme.
When I travel on the MTR to college every day during the rush hour, the platforms and carriages are so crowded. Sometimes I feel really uncomfortable.
If parents are able to coordinate flexible hours, they will probably find they can spend more time with their children.
With staff able to work out their own timetable in conjunction with the employer, that suits them better, and they are likely to be more productive.
Having to work the same time every day and travel on the same overcrowded public transport puts people under a lot of pressure.
However, I do appreciate that some jobs are not conducive to flexible working hours, such as being a teacher and some professions in the business sector. But the system should be implemented where possible.
Chau Pui-yan, Kowloon Tong
Disputed areas not China's territory
Your editorial regarding the South China Sea disputes is fundamentally flawed ("Aquino's rhetoric is just provocative", June 6).
The waters in which Beijing is constructing the new island are not in "sovereign waters".
They have never been owned or administered by China except in the very recent past. Beijing's nine-dash (or is it 11?) line has no historical or legal validity and it is not accepted by any other country or institution.
I wonder on what you base your assertion that these disputed areas are China's sovereign territory?
Ashley Steinhausen, North Point
Such a simple immigration solution
A lot of concern has been expressed over what immigration procedure to use at the West Kowloon terminus for the express rail link to Guangzhou, if and when it becomes operational.
At Hung Hom, passengers boarding the direct rail link to Guangzhou simply go through immigration, board the train and go through mainland immigration when they arrive.
I do not see how passengers going through immigration at West Kowloon, then queuing up a few minutes later to go through mainland immigration can speed things up.
Instead of going through the process of deciding who has what jurisdiction and getting approval from Beijing, just simply use the same method as Hung Hom.
John Fleming, Mong Kok