Letters to the Editor, June 25, 2015
Exco members in walkout should resign
Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, speaking during a radio news report, said she did not need to resign from the Executive Council and take responsibility for the blunder by the 31 lawmakers who walked out of the Legislative Council chamber before the vote on the chief executive election package.
She argued she was following the pro-establishment councillors' joint action, and if three more had walked out, they would have gained an additional 15 minutes to enable Lau Wong-fat to vote.
One can argue until the cows come home whether she is right.
In the real world, it is the voters' views that count.
I voted for her in the last Legco election. I will do so in the next election even though I am frustrated by what happened in that fateful Legco meeting. I am also worried, because, unlike me, many of those who voted for the pro-establishment candidates may, as a result of the blunder, decide not to vote. Worse still, they may vote for the pan-democrats.
As a result, more pan-democrats, including the radical ones, could win seats in the coming district council and Legco elections. It amounts to rewarding them for adopting a confrontational style towards the central government and stalling the work of the Hong Kong SAR government.
Regina Ip should take political responsibility for the blunder by resigning from Exco, as should the two other Exco members who also walked out, Starry Lee Wai-king and Jeffrey Lam Kin-fung. Ip Kwok-him, who led the walkout, should also resign from Legco.
They should be seen by their supporters and the politically neutral to have the courage to do what political morality requires, instead of being forced to do so by public opinion.
The resignation of the three Exco members would give Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying a chance to have more liberals in his cabinet and mend fences with those who oppose him.
Professors Nelson Chow Wing-sun and Johannes Chan Man-mun, with their balanced political stands and respective expertise in social work and constitutional law, are ideal candidates if they are prepared to comply with the rule on collective responsibility.
Their presence in Exco would hopefully enhance public confidence in the present administration's commitment to promote human rights and the interests of the underprivileged.
Ng Hon-wah, Pok Fu Lam
Appalled by lawmakers' ignorance
The sheer embarrassment of the fiasco that was the supposed historic vote for democracy in Hong Kong brings to light the utter incompetence of all Legco members and they must take full responsibility for the humiliation they have brought.
The decision by 31 lawmakers to try and delay procedures to wait for Lau Wong-fat shows ignorance of the rules of the Legco chamber.
Lawmakers need to take a hard look at themselves and realise they are meant to be there for the betterment of Hong Kong and not for their own vanity.
The next step for democracy is for the people of Hong Kong to return to the chamber representatives who serve us.
Mark Peaker, The Peak
The irony of missing chance to vote
"Eighty per cent of success is showing up." Ignore Woody Allen at your peril.
Sadly, it's impossible to ignore the irony of missing the chance to vote for a proposal to give people the chance to vote.
Joe Spitzer, The Peak
Social issues should take centre stage
The debate over political reforms has polarised opinions for the past few years.
Now that the debate and vote are behind us, we need to set aside these political matters and focus on vital social issues. Social welfare is very important.
During these past few years when political disputes have been dominant, the development of Hong Kong has slowed down.
For many, their quality of life has got worse. This is reflected in our drop in the World Happiness Report rankings and rising prices.
Should we not now start focusing on helping the needy and finding solutions to alleviate the social pressures that have dogged us all these years?
There are many social problems which remain unresolved.
I urge the government to resume its programmes and plans to help the underprivileged in our society.
Willis Wan Chun-yu, Sai Kung
Do more to help elderly on low incomes
Lack of retirement protection for many elderly people remains an ongoing problem in Hong Kong.
For that reason, you often see elderly citizens collecting cardboard and other rubbish on the street.
They will sell it to recycling operators in order to earn a few extra dollars.
This is a clear indication that some people of pensionable age are struggling to live in this city.
They have difficulty satisfying their basic daily needs like paying the rent and having enough food to eat.
Even if they are recipients of the Old Age Living Allowance, this is often not enough for them to get by.
And this is why they are forced to go back out to work, scavenging for recyclable refuse.
This proves that the problem of retirement protection is still serious in Hong Kong.
I therefore agree with those who have called for the government to introduce a universal pension scheme so that there is sufficient protection for all Hong Kong's old folk.
However, this is not something that can be implemented straight away.
In the short term, until the administration can draft the relevant legislation for a universal pension and get it passed, it must come up with policies which offer immediate help.
For instance, it should encourage firms to extend the retirement ages of their employees.
The government should also coordinate with those organisations that are willing to help elderly people find jobs so that they can earn a living wage if they want to continue working.
This is another aspect of the issue of Hong Kong having an ageing population and it is nothing new.
However, with more elderly people retiring every year and living longer than previous generations, the problems associated with an ageing population must be addressed.
Vivien Suen, Tseung Kwan O
Overprotective parents can be harmful
Many middle-class families today have only one child. I think some parenting in Hong Kong can do more harm than good.
Parents need to recognise the difference between caring and controlling.
In the 1970s, Hong Kong people believed in what has become known as the Lion Rock Spirit. This emphasised the importance of self-reliance and being self-motivated in order to escape from poverty. Many emerged from poverty and became very rich, such as the city's tycoons.
Unfortunately, today's helicopter parents do not embrace this spirit or pass it on to their children.
Instead, they are overprotective of their children and want to create the best and most comfortable living environment.
In their desire to ensure a bright and successful future, they exert undue influence.
For instance, they want to be heavily involved in the decisions their children make about what subjects to study at school and what career choice they will make. And they will sign them up for a lot of extracurricular activities to supposedly nurture their talents. In effect, by their actions they are smothering their children.
I am not denying that their intentions are good, but in some cases when they go too far, they are harming their children.
Young people must be given a fair degree of freedom when they are planning their future. Parents' primary role should be to offer advice and be supportive, but not to dominate the lives of their sons and daughters.
Children need to acquire the experience that will enable them to overcome the problems they will encounter in society.
Zac Ko Wai-Lok, North Point
Consume local produce and help the planet
The way Hongkongers eat can have an effect on global warming.
We eat so much imported food, which creates more greenhouse gases emission.
This is because it is flown in or brought in by truck from the mainland. Much of the food we eat will travel thousands of kilometres before it is put on our plates.
The longer the distance, the greater the greenhouses gas emissions. And it is not just the distances travelled, but the mode of transport that is also important.
People will tend to choose imported food even if local produce is available.
Hongkongers need to adjust their eating style. Where possible, they should choose to purchase locally produced food and avoid imported products. This is an environmentally friendly choice to make.
Cherrie Wan, Yau Yat Chuen