Letters to the Editor, November 20, 2015
Did officials fear display of HK identity?
The Hong Kong team deserve full congratulations for being able to hold China scoreless in their Fifa World Cup qualifier match (“Goalless glory as HK hold China to draw”, November 18). They did us proud. Conversely, I think our government officials administering this match deserve brickbats rather than accolades.
I read the letter by Raymond Fan Wai-ming, the deputy director of leisure and cultural services (“Why World Cup qualifier cannot be held at HK Stadium”, November 11), with considerable cynicism. This was the most important football match in Hong Kong for a number of years, and there was no doubt that the Hong Kong Stadium could be filled to its 40,000 capacity.
Hong Kong’s 6,000 supporters at the match in Mong Kok Stadium gave tremendous encouragement to our team, but how much better an occasion with another 34,000 voices. It defied common sense that the pitch was unplayable nine days after the rugby tournament. It may not have been a “Wembley-like” perfect surface, but it would have been a safe pitch and equal for both teams.
The real reason that the Hong Kong Stadium was not used was evident when one considers that more than 1,200 police were on standby – fearing trouble after Hong Kong fans booed the national anthem at previous matches. The match was moved in the name of security, but what the Hong Kong administration was really scared about was that a large number of people may vociferously exhibit their local Hong Kong identity.
Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah had the fortitude to unreservedly support the Hong Kong team, but other members of the government displayed a nervous ambivalence. I find that pathetic, and if they cannot openly support Hong Kong then they should resign. How ironic that the government has just announced its “Appreciate Hong Kong” campaign, citing our “achievements in culture, art and sport”, and yet our officials do not support our football team.
Fifa were also monitoring our fans in case they jeered the national anthem. One would have thought that it has enough problems in Zurich, where it is proving difficult to find credible candidates to contest the election for Fifa president, to worry about a little booing in Hong Kong.
Charlie Chan, Mid-Levels
Our athletes deserve our full support
Your reporters Gary Cheung and Stuart Lau observe in their article that the enthusiastic support that Hong Kong fans gave their team in the Fifa World Cup qualifying match this week reflected “the growing sense of Hong Kong identity that has developed in recent years” (“Identity politics at play in big game”, November 19).
This sense of “Hong Kong identity” does not appear to resonate with senior leaders such as Leung Chun-ying and Dr Ko Wing-man, both of whom, when asked, declined to express clear support for the Hong Kong team. In contrast, both Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and John Tsang Chun-wah were very clear in their support.
It may be that Leung and Ko genuinely did not wish to see Hong Kong athletes beat their counterparts from mainland China. But it is surprising that they do not recognise the political value of identifying with our local sportsmen and women.
Sport has the power to foster a strong sense of belonging, and to boost civic pride and confidence. Cities do not bid to host the Olympic Games simply because their leaders like sport. Closer to home, China has invested in developing world-class athletes in the knowledge that their performances will draw attention to the emergence of the country as a leading global power.
The political nature of sport is inevitable, and it is naive not to recognise this. But this need not make it any the less enjoyable as a spectacle or pursuit. “We are Hong Kong” is a chant that encapsulates both civic pride and the joy of being part of an exciting sporting contest. To support a team that have become our pride and joy is surely no bad thing?
KN Mak, Mong Kok
Election win a repudiation of military rule
The victory of Aung San Suu Kyi in the recent election in Myanmar should be cause for celebration by all peace-loving and democratic people. Not only has a woman, and a Nobel Peace Prize winner at that, been voted into power, but a long succession of military autocrats has been ended.
Any student of history knows that when military men usurp political power, their nation is doomed to decline. Myanmar has been hurt by years of corruption linked to generals and their cronies. Destructive logging condoned by the military elite has damaged the economy and ecology. The rich mineral wealth, especially from jade, that should have gone to the nation’s people is now probably in secret bank accounts.
We can be sure that much of that wealth also went to purchase expensive weapons – the aphrodisiac of military men. Who sold the generals their weapons? A powerful military neighbour, mainland China, of course, since exporting weapons is a very profitable business for all the members of the UN Security Council.
Recently, many countries have experienced attacks by terrorists often seen brandishing an AK-47. The proud product of a Russian inventor, these guns are freely available in many Asian countries. Pakistan has a flourishing gun-making home industry fostered by its military culture. In fact, most military agencies, including the Pentagon, are eager to sell surplus or outdated weapons.
So the victory of Aung San Suu Kyi is a hopeful sign that the right-minded and peace-loving Burmese people have rejected the malignant goals of the generals. Other countries, including the US and China, would do well to follow their example and reject the political power of military men.
At the same time, having another gifted and courageous woman assume power in an important Asian country can help to redress the imbalance of power and the harmful subjection of women – the legacy of primitive thinking and unhealthy religious traditions.
We in Hong Kong should support the people of Myanmar in their struggle for a peaceful nation with dignity, democratic values and economic progress.
Jason Kuylein, Stanley
HK youths should pursue their dreams
I refer to Peter Kammerer’s column about young people delaying their entry into adulthood (“Cocooned in a virtual world, our young delay entry into real one”, November 10).
I don’t think most young people are so absorbed in the virtual world that they are not enthusiastic about finding a good job. Young people today do have wider interests than in the old days, partly because of the improvements in technology, and they have more freedom in pursuing their dreams. Consequently, many value and develop their own interests.
This cannot be seen as a sign of immaturity, as some turn their interests into a career. For example, some become designers because of their interest in the arts, or set up online shops to sell their products. It may take a while for any results to show, which may give the impression that they are idling.
As for marriage, people are marrying later in life not only in Hong Kong; it’s a global phenomenon. The main reason isn’t because young people refuse to grow up, it’s because work has become their priority.
As the cost of living increases, people work harder and longer hours to make ends meet. Many young adults prioritise work before their social life and marriage. So, many of them end up marrying late.
Young adults are not hopeless. Indeed I am positive about their future because many of them are enthusiastic about pursuing their dreams.
Esther Man, Tai Kok Tsui
Work has to be meaningful to be rewarding
I refer to the article, “You don’t have to wear a suit to be a success” (November 13).
The article struck a chord with me. It’s true that professionals enjoy a high social status in Hong Kong.
Parents want their children to take up law or medicine, but there are limited university places in these fields. Society simply equates success with a professional job, and “anything else is seen as failure”, as the writer Bernard Chan put it.
I once dreamt of being a musician but was told by my parents that my dream was unrealistic, thus ridiculous. “You can’t survive by making music,” they told me. When choosing electives in Form Three, they said chemistry was a better subject than information, communications and technology, since chemistry is needed for studying medicine at the University of Hong Kong. But why can’t I be a success in technology? Why can’t I study what I like even if it is unrelated to a professional career?
Even though non-professionals earn less, their jobs could be more enjoyable and meaningful. What I want is a job that matches my enthusiasm and strength, not one that is defined by salary and reputation.
Woo Chung-yu, Mei Foo