Letters to the Editor, August 15, 2015
Modi deserves praise, but has long way to go
Some commentators have compared India with China unfavourably.
They have criticised India for the complex methods faced by its citizens and foreigners when doing business in the country. In doing so, they conveniently omit mention of China's own difficult business-related regulations.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his business-friendly government, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party, are trying to attract foreign investment and encourage more Indians to invest.
Outdated commercial legislation dating to colonial times is being amended. New regulations are being put in place to get rid of red tape where possible. India has gone digital, and hi-tech foreign firms are investing billions in the country.
Modi is a beacon of hope and, since coming to power in May of last year, has helped India enjoy the status it deserves on the world stage. Consequently, there has been a substantial increase in foreign investment. By his actions, I think Modi has answered India's critics.
However, apart from the economy, Modi faces other challenges that his government must address. They include poverty, terrorism, ensuring clean water for all citizens, good health care, cracking down on scams, protecting girls and raising the status of women in Indian society. The police force must also be reformed, farmers must get financial help, improvements must be made in free education, and mining and tourism must be developed.
Those expecting quick results will be disappointed because Modi does not have a magic wand. He cannot turn India into a world-class country overnight. I wish the leaders India has had since its independence in 1947 had possessed his vision and creativity.
He has to be given time. It will take many years and trillions of dollars before India can enjoy the status of a developed country.
We also need some of the "black money" that unscrupulous rich Indians hold in overseas bank accounts to aid the country's development. The economic and social reforms are possible if all political parties stop their blame-game tactics.
India will need a peaceful world and the support of financial institutions such as banks within the BRICS nations and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
Ranjit Bhawnani, Tsim Sha Tsui
Environmental protection is everyone's job
Not enough people seem to recognise that global warming is a serious problem globally.
Here in Hong Kong, with an insufficient supply of land and a need for more housing in this densely populated city, we see many trees being felled to make way for residential and commercial development projects.
Now there are more calls for further reclamation projects to be implemented on Hong Kong's coastline.
However, human activities of this kind generate a lot of pollution, which damages our environment.
For example, reclamation destroys marine ecosystems.
Elsewhere, global warming and pollution destroy some animals' habitats, such as melting ice, which affects polar bears.
Some species face extinction, and their disappearance could also be harmful to humans.
In Hong Kong, the government needs to educate the public about practising the 4Rs - reduce, reuse, recycle and replace. It should also look at the redevelopment potential of some city areas.
We have a duty to start environmental protection now. It is a duty shared between the government and us citizens.
Lam Ka-yan, Tseung Kwan O
Light pollution still serious problem in city
One survey has said that Hong Kong is the worst city for light pollution, especially Tsim Sha Tsui.
Light pollution can pose risks to our health and to wildlife.
So much of this pollution is wasted energy. Lights that are turned on when they are not necessary just add to the greenhouse effect. Bright lights on buildings can adversely affect nearby residents, who may have trouble sleeping.
Ecosystems, biodiversity and animals' habitats can be damaged. The spider, for example, cannot live under strong light. The government can lead us to solutions for this problem. I would like to see an order for all lights to be switched off for one hour a week.
Wong Tsz-miu, Yau Yat Chuen
Sturgeon must take care to build Scotland
I read with interest your articles on the visit to Hong Kong by Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and the letter by Keith Howell ("Obsessive Scottish nationalists, it seems, don't understand 'no'", August 8).
He provided relevant additional information on the present situation in Scotland and accurately summarised views among Scots which are far more diverse and critical of the Scottish National Party (SNP) than Sturgeon's comments suggest.
When she first took office as first minister, her message to yes and no voters (in the independence referendum) was clear. She pledged to respect the result of the referendum and work constructively with the British government to implement devolved powers for Scotland in the best possible way.
She also talked about unifying the country and healing divisions. But if political leaders are unhappy with the outcome of a vote, they can always choose not to listen to it. Or they may choose to postpone listening in order to create the mood among voters that they want until they feel the time is right to listen again.
They may even pretend that this is the will of the people and, therefore, democracy. In reality, it is, paradoxically, undoing democracy using democratic means.
The independence-seeking SNP behaves as if the exemplary democratic process before the referendum came to an end at the very moment when the nationalists lost their case. For them, it seems, it's now all about working against the will of the majority of Scots and about finding excuses for rebuilding that case.
For example, a hypothetical exit of the UK from the European Union is one of the scenarios used as a mood changer.
By following this route, Sturgeon risks losing the Scots who welcomed her initially balanced approach and now believe their trust has been betrayed. And keeping the pot simmering will effectively prevent any healing and will, instead, only deepen the rift between yes and no to independence.
Regina Erich, Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, UK
Proposals to resolve the job 'mismatch'
I refer to Alex Lo's column ("A skilled youth is vital for future", August 5).
Lo says that Hong Kong's economy faces a serious mismatch of skills in the supply and demand of young local talent. Why is this so, and how should the problem be solved?
More and more university graduates are taking jobs that bear no relation to what they studied. For instance, someone with a degree in architecture might be working as a counter service officer at a bank. Some take on jobs, such as an office clerk, which require only a secondary school education. In other words, many graduates are unable to make use of their abilities and the knowledge they acquired at university. This is a mismatch of skills.
Also, some vacancies cannot be filled because the job entails long hours and there is a lack of job security because of the sector it is in. Young people prefer jobs with decent benefits, shorter working hours and better and secure prospects. There are many youngsters who will refuse to train to become, for example, a dim sum chef or a care worker. Therefore, many bosses struggle to fill some vacancies.
Teenagers need to give greater thought to what they will study at college. They need to consider their abilities and career interests, to prevent a skills mismatch when they graduate and go looking for work.
The government should open more vocational schools offering varied training options for teenagers. And it must promote these colleges so that youngsters are aware of this option.
Bosses can do their part by improving their workers' conditions, especially their benefits. And they must provide more training courses for young employees.
Winnas Wong, Tseung Kwan O
Most visitors from mainland not traders
Hong Kong has been a popular tourist venue for many years. But, with the influx of mainland visitors, changes occurred that were not all positive.
Prices of property and daily necessities in some areas of the New Territories increased sharply. The situation with essential products was exacerbated by parallel traders. While they have caused problems, we should not tar all mainlanders with the same brush.
We have to remember that most mainland visitors have nothing to do with these traders. They are here simply to sightsee and enjoy the city. We should put ourselves in their shoes. We should always welcome genuine tourists from north of the border.
However, we also have to look at any changes that might be necessary in the individual visit scheme.
Louis Cheung, Tseung Kwan O