Letters to the Editor, August 12, 2015

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 August, 2015, 3:46pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 August, 2015, 3:46pm

Jail sentence for breast attack harsh

There have been complaints from the public over the prison sentence of the three-and-a-half months for the woman convicted of assaulting a police chief inspector with her breast during an anti-parallel trader protest in Yuen Long.

Over 200 people joined a protest saying that a breast is not a weapon.

I agree with them that the decision of the court to impose a custodial sentence was unfair. I also think that the judgment is not just.

In 2010, Amina Mariam Bokhary escaped a custodial sentence after being found guilty of assaulting a police officer. She later received a six-week prison sentence for breaching five of the seven conditions of a probation order.

I do not see how a court can consider that it is possible for a woman to attack a man with her breast.

In recent years, we have seen more confrontations between police and the public. What happened here is a cause for concern and raises issues about what limits will be placed on protesters in Hong Kong who are simply voicing their opinion.

I accept that it is important to maintain discipline in our society. Police need to be given protection under the law and people should not be rude to officers. People who are rude should be punished. During demonstrations, protesters should try to cooperate with police.

If there are displays of aggression towards officers, then judges and magistrates should punish people accordingly. However, in this case the punishment was frankly far too harsh.

Ashley Cheng, Shek Kip Mei

Action on tainted water is inadequate

I refer to the report, "Fetching water daily, Hong Kong resident slams government for slow response to excessive lead water finding at her estate" (August 8).

More public housing estates have been found to have high levels of lead in their water. This has raised concerns about the lead content in some children being high. This problem is still a long way from being solved.

Many residents are still having to walk with empty bottles and buckets to temporary taps in the street that have been installed by the Water Supplies Department.

I think the water pipes in the affected estates should be replaced as soon as possible. Also, if any residents have health concerns, they should be able to get swift medical treatment. This is especially important for elderly residents and people with chronic conditions.

I think the government needs to look at the whole water supply network in the city and determine what changes are required.

It needs to act swiftly. Any further delays in dealing with the tainted water problem could adversely affect the future development of Hong Kong.

William Wan Wai-man,Clear Water Bay

Reform city's unfair form of capitalism

After the failure of the government to implement universal suffrage, a lot of people are saying the right things about the need to repair the schism in society that this issue has caused.

However, with so many think tanks and so few fresh ideas, it's difficult not to be cynical about how genuine those comments are.

To make any kind of progress with this repair, attention must be focused on Hong Kong's feudal economic system. It is often lauded as "a great place to do business" but the recent Jetstar bid shows that it's not that easy if the "already-successful" don't want you to join their club.

This kind of incestuous state of affairs economically doesn't just manifest itself in the business-to-business dealings of Hong Kong's brand of capitalism, but also in business-to-customer issues. The bigger and more powerful the company, the more it resembles feudal lords throwing crumbs at the revolting serfs.

A recent dispute I have had with a telecommunications company made me study their microscopically printed terms and conditions. They were littered with "we won't do this", "we're not responsible for that" clauses without one single clause setting out what they actually would do or were responsible for.

Any regulatory system in a well-managed capitalist economy would throw that out as an abuse of unfair contract terms, so why doesn't Hong Kong?

Getting the company to address its appalling customer service has been like pulling teeth - why does it have to be like that? Corporate arrogance like this causes nothing but resentment of big corporations and the "elite" that owns them - hardly propitious for a society that needs to heal itself.

If we really want to address Hong Kong's ills then we need a proper capitalist system, not one where the existing elite alone can choose the very government that will design the regulatory framework applicable to them.

We also need a seriously beefed up consumer protection system, one that gives customers real clout over the abuses meted out to them by the big and powerful.

Lee Faulkner, Lamma

Teenagers seldom read English books

Most students in Hong Kong have been learning English since kindergarten. But many are still reluctant to try and speak the language.

We cannot underestimate its importance as we need it to communicate with other people in most of the countries we do business with.

Many parents send children to tutorial classes in an effort to improve their English. But not all these colleges are effective and some make exaggerated claims about what they can achieve. Also, they are often geared to giving youngsters exam tips, but there is more to learning English than that.

I am not convinced youngsters are wholeheartedly embracing the language-learning process.

I seldom see them reading English-language newspapers or books except when they are forced to do so at school. Also, they face so many distractions such as smartphones, which takes away the time available for improving their standard of English.

I think the English standards of Hong Kong students are deteriorating. Parents should be trying to expose their children to English from an early age, such as having them listen to English nursery rhymes.

The government should reexamine the necessity of mother-tongue teaching in schools. It has weakened Hong Kong students' English ability which could damage their career prospects.

Kolia Chong Chun-ping, Yau Yat Chuen

Leave legacy of sustainable development

I refer to the letter by G. Bailey ("World leaders ignoring the evidence", August 7).

The fact that your correspondent decides to ignore the findings of the respected scientific community and deny climate change is missing the point.

Surely future generations will not forgive us if this generation leaves behind a planet that has been stripped of its non-renewable resources and natural areas.

They will thank us, if, instead, we leave a legacy of sustainable agriculture, energy and biodiversity through investment in new technology and implementation of responsible long- term policies in our own lifetimes.

Will Douglas, Hung Hom