Letters to the Editor, July 09, 2015
Lawmakers also met chief executive
I refer to Alex Lo’s column 8(“Reform debacle shifting the base of power”, June 29). He drew the conclusion that power was shifting from the Hong Kong government to the 8central government because some Legislative Council members went to the central government’s liaison office after the vote on the universal suffrage proposal.
I can assure Lo that many more Legco members came to government headquarters to meet or called the chief executive and his colleagues on the afternoon after the votes were counted. The fact that such meetings were not reported did not mean that they did not take place.
Further, changing the method of selecting the chief executive requires the approval of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee. This is in the Basic Law. It is entirely legitimate for the central government to be concerned.
Many pan-democrat lawmakers refused to acknowledge this constitutional reality.
While they went to tea in the official residence of foreign 8diplomats, they refused to go to meet central government officials in their offices.
Is there any surprise that we missed the opportunity of reaching an agreement with Beijing?
Andrew Fung, information coordinator, Chief Executive’s Office
Why best and brightest avoid local politics
I refer to the report on comments made by former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa (“HK lacking political talent: Tung”, July 3).
Tung’s argument displays the consistent pro-Beijing denial of the real climate in Hong Kong.
Many, if not most, of the people in Hong Kong who have the education, skills and wit to enter the political arena have no desire to waste their lives on a losing venture.
Beijing has set, and changed the rules, and has made it clear that we are part of a communist system, full stop. Why enter a political discussion towards representative leadership, when it is a sham? The best and the brightest are wiser than that.
Peter Barrett, Tung Chung
Sport possible even with busy timetable
With so much emphasis being placed on making money in Hong Kong, too often people spend little or no time thinking about their health.
In schools, not enough attention is paid in the syllabus to sports and, as a consequence, students are suffering.
They spend all their teenage years studying and ignore the importance of participating in sport.
It is not just a health issue. Getting involved in sport can help relieve some of the academic pressure they feel. And I appreciate that pressure is intense. With so much homework, revision and tests, teenagers have little spare time. But if they managed their time better, they could find enough spare time to do regular exercise.
They can work out their own timetable and have a schedule which they stick to.
I have started doing this and have all the dates of tests I will have to do and prepare for. I can then work out the nights when I have time to do some sports after school. Having this schedule book is very convenient.
The education system in Hong Kong is too exam-oriented. Sport is not seen as an 8important part of schooling.
And students avoid exercises as they are already so stressed from their academic studies. For most of them, going for a workout in a gym is a luxury.
Also, some parents discourage their children from getting involved in sports, because they are worried it will take them away from their studies and they will fall behind at school.
Regular workouts and other sporting activities teach valuable social skills such as team-building, which cannot be learned in the classroom.
Youngsters who never exercise and eat a lot of junk food face serious health problems associated with being overweight or obese. But it is never too late for them to change.
By putting more stress on physical education in the curriculum, the Education Bureau could help change parents’ perceptions towards sports.
Jasmine Chan, Tseung Kwan O
Ultimate aim must be zero waste policy
Our landfills are nearing capacity because of the growing volumes of waste in Hong Kong.
The government has introduced a number of measures to try and deal with the problem. For example, in April, it extended the plastic bag levy to cover all retailers.
They must charge customers for bags unless they are being used to ensure food hygiene.
However, there are some flaws to the policy.
Some retailers have switched to paper bags, but if a lot more paper bags are used, then this raises other environmental issues, such as the felling of more trees.
The policy certainly cannot solve the enormous waste problem that Hong Kong faces.
I agree with those people who say that we must ultimately aim for a zero waste policy in Hong Kong.
In this way, we can guide our citizens towards fundamentally changing their lifestyles towards sustainable living.
Of course, this is not something that can happen overnight.
It will need the cooperation of all the different groups in the community, such as shop owners and their 8customers and schools.
Kitty Fung, Shek Kip Mei
Careless attitude to deadly virus
Middle East respiratory syndrome has spread rapidly since a deadly outbreak of the virus hit South Korea.
I think one reason it has spread in the region is because travellers have been careless.
They have not paid attention to warnings about places they should avoid visiting and other precautions that should be taken to try and avoid infection.
The government must get the message across to citizens that this is a serious outbreak of what can be a deadly 8disease. Too many citizens do not pay attention to personal or public hygiene.
During the flu season, I would see some people coughing without covering their mouths and not wearing masks in hospitals and clinics.
When we are in an area where there is a risk of contracting a virus, we should take sensible precautions.
Carly Fung, Tseung Kwan O
Defiant Greece should be ashamed
Greece was the cradle of democracy. It boasted thinkers with minds of such astounding perspicuity two millennia ago, their influence has never faded and can still be felt today.
These days, the contrast could not be more grave or any more humiliating. What happened to the promise that had been so evident in Plato, Archimedes, Pericles, and countless others of their time?
Enticed by easy living on the strength of borrowed funds, the modern Greeks chose prodigality, with great indifference to the consequences.
At least they did so until their debt grew massive to a grunting weight of unsustainable dimensions. They then responded by whining, expecting sympathy, understanding and forgiveness, rather than being presented with a bill.
When that didn’t work, they reacted with defiance towards their creditors, as if they stood on righteous ground, as if they were the ones who had been wronged rather than their 8lenders. They declined to pay the price for years of heedless squandering.
What happened to integrity and pride in self and history? Has moral turpitude replaced the richness of their former character we looked upon with awe and veneration?
Has Spartan strength succumbed to irresponsibility?
If this is what has happened, then I’m ashamed on behalf of the Greek nation and its people.
Michael E. White, Oxford, Massachusetts, US
HK can assist with food safety checks
Revised visa rules for mainlanders visiting Hong Kong have helped to reduce the number of parallel traders.
However, we have to also look at how these traders came about in the first place. Their numbers grew because so many mainlanders were coming here to buy essentials such as milk formula. They continue to do this because they have no confidence in the products manufactured on the mainland, given the food scandals that have dogged China.
The Hong Kong government could offer to help the mainland establish an efficient and effective nationwide food safety monitoring system.
If citizens north of the border have confidence in local products, they will not come here to purchase them.
I also support those who have called for the building of shopping malls at the border, specifically selling goods that mainlanders want.
These measures would 8together help to reduce the number of parallel traders.
For most Hongkongers, mainland people are welcome, but a densely populated city like Hong Kong cannot cater to too many visitors.
Kiky Tsui Ka-ki, Sai Kung