Letters to the Editor, June 22, 2015
Pan-dems squandered unique chance
I do not believe that the vetoing of the government's political reform proposals in the Legislative Council last week will bring us any closer to universal suffrage.
In fact, it will move us in the opposite direction, and undermine all previous efforts.
Now that these reforms have been kicked back, future chief executives will continue to be "elected" by the 1,200-member election committee, rather than Hong Kong's five million registered voters.
Though the pan-democrats claimed that they will be able to force open Beijing's tight grip, it is highly unlikely that the central government will offer democracy again, especially after we have been disobedient and have refused its kind offer.
Had the pan-democrats, allowed the reform package for the election of chief executive in 2017 to be passed in the Legislative Council, I believe that this would have paved the way for more democratic electoral reforms in the future.
Accepting the highly restrictive reform package, even though it was not that democratic, was not an acceptance of defeat. It was a rational and understandable way to strike a balance between desire and reality.
Getting into a fuss over small details, and taking an antagonist stance as the pan-democrats did was counterproductive.
Ultimately, they have to realise that the goal of reaching genuine democracy can only be achieved through compromises, patience, understanding and pragmatism.
Everyone wants perfection and of course a more democratic electoral system would be something that I would welcome.
However, as a pragmatist, I felt there was no doubt that although it was highly controversial, this reform package, would have brought us one baby step forward to a freer and more liberal society.
It would also have meant that this was the first city in the People's Republic of China which had universal suffrage, genuine "one man, one vote".
Toby Yeung, Sha Tin ypocritical approach to opinion pollsy Yeung, Sha Ti
Hypocritical approach to opinion polls
For several weeks prior to the Legco debate on the government's political reform package, government officials and pro-government politicians were urging the pan-democrats to support the reform package on the basis that it enjoyed public support.
Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor repeated this plea in the debate itself, even though recent opinion polls indicated that public opinion was turning against the package, with some even reporting a majority opposing it.
If this trend had gone further, would Mrs Lam have been urging pro-government lawmakers to abide by the same principle and vote against the package?
Or was this merely a hypocritical tactic to attempt to gain passage of the bill?
Rod Parkes, Tai Poveryone is the loser with Legco voteRod Parkes, Tai Po
Everyone is the loser with Legco vote
So the pan-democrats have succeeded in blocking the passage of the central government's electoral political reforms for the 2017 chief executive election.
They have done so on the grounds of what they called "false democracy". However, they misled citizens about true democracy by universal suffrage. Have they gained any credit for themselves as a consequence?
Had the reform package been passed by Legco, at least five million eligible Hong Kong citizens would have won the right to elect their chief executive in 2017, under "one person, one vote". But now the election will revert to the Election Committee with only 1,200 votes. Shame on you, radical opposition parties, for your too-smart political intrigues resulting in losses for all concerned.
Had they had any sense of justice, they should all have resigned.
Peter Wei, Kwun Tong
Beijing must ban barbaric canine festival
I found it heartbreaking to read the news reports on the Yulin dog meat festival.
Dogs show trust and unconditional love to humans, and they are able to understand and communicate emotion.
We love dogs because they provide affection and companionship to us in our darkest hours.
This is why people around the world are outraged that this festival continues to take place. Thanks to social media, so many people around the globe are signing petitions in opposition to the Yulin festival.
We are appalled by the pain inflicted on defenceless dogs.
Where is China's humanity and compassion?
Why are there no laws in place against this kind of torture of dogs and other domesticated animals?
I do not understand why Chinese citizens are not expressing outrage.
Until the Chinese government stops allowing dogs to be tortured and eaten, the country's reputation will suffer. I know some people who are so angry with what is happening that they will not purchase products imported from China.
B. Kay Evans, San FranciscoB. Kay Evans, San Francisco, US
McDonald's not alone in being wasteful
I refer to the letter by Mok Sze-lam about McDonald's restaurants ("McDonald's wastes so much paper", June 17).
Your newspaper is just as wasteful.
On many days each week, my newspaper is delivered together with thick glossy supplements to advertise fashion and eateries, such that on many occasions I am minded to cancel my subscription, as my contribution to saving the earth's resources.
Maldivesa Lee, Sai KungMMaldivesa Lee, Sai Kung
Low opinion of foreign helpers persists
It would be wonderful if Philip Bowring's column ("A 'world city' in name only", June 14) could be reprinted in the Chinese-language newspapers so that Hongkongers who don't read your paper could also see it.
Or would that make no difference at all in the mindsets of most local employers?
Their main rationale has always been that their Southeast Asian servants who come from impoverished countries should be grateful to have employment, no matter how onerous the conditions.
The hope is that the Hong Kong authorities will finally be enlightened on the issue and join the rest of the civilised world where migrant workers' rights are concerned.
Isabel Escoda, LantauIsabel Escoda, Lantau
Flexible hours policy can tempt mothers
Many professional women, despite being well educated and having a high level of expertise, will often leave the workforce for good after they have married and started a family.
This leads to shortages of skilled employees in the labour force in Hong Kong.
There should be more opportunities in society for these women to adopt flexible working hours so they can return to offices and make a vital contribution to the economy.
A flexible hours system will enable them to juggle their home life with their working lives.
Such systems exist in a number of countries and, sometimes, it is even possible, depending on the job, for the woman to work for some or all of the time at home.
This enables her to get the right balance between the job and family.
If some of these mothers have been out of the workplace for a long time, they could come back to full-time employment in stages.
Companies could offer them part-time posts initially to help with the transition to a full-time appointment.
The government could encourage employers to rehire women workers through offering financial benefits.
This would lead to more Hong Kong women being productive in the labour force during their working years.
Yeung Sze-nga, Kowloon Tongeung Sze-nga, Kowloon Ton
Organic food need not be so expensive
More people are choosing to eat organic food on a daily basis.
In markets, they often look for products that are marked organic. They are more expensive than food not grown organically, but often people choose them because they are seen as a healthier option.
However, if people buy a lot of organic produce regularly, the cost can be quite heavy if you look at it over weeks or months. This could change with further development of the local agricultural sector.
Many local farmers rely on the centralised wholesale system run by the Vegetable Marketing Organisation. They obviously have to pay for that service, so some of the farmers have chosen to offer their produce for sale online.
I would like to see a fair-trade platform being developed that would bring farmers and customers together.
This could be done through the setting up of websites, cooperative shops and markets.
If this was done, farmers and suppliers could make reasonable profits and customers would not be paying such high prices.
The government needs to pay more attention to the agricultural sector.
Chang Wing, Yau Yat Chuen
Chang Wing, Yau Yat Chuen