Letters to the editor, December 24, 2015

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 23 December, 2015, 4:59pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 December, 2015, 4:59pm

HK can learn from Beijing’s bold initiative

The central government has adopted the “Internet Plus” ­policy with the aim of fully utilising the internet in order to revitalise the economy.

The nation’s three largest internet conglomerates have come on board. Alibaba, ­Tencent and Baidu have formed an “Internet-plus Alliance”.

I think Internet Plus can bring a lot of job opportunities and help nurture new talent. As the net keeps developing with more advances, internet companies are on the hunt for top professionals to strengthen their teams. However, the ­number of high-quality people is limited, and it is tough to find enough of them.

The three internet giants go headhunting at university campuses, recruiting students even before their final exam ­results are announced. These firms provide a platform for fresh graduates to develop their careers.

With the introduction of Internet Plus, it is clear that the central government understands the importance of collaboration between different industries. However, that development must be comprehensive and encompass all sectors and not just focus on, say, the financial, internet and tourism industries. I am confident that Beijing can achieve its aims if it takes that comprehensive approach.

The Hong Kong government can learn from this approach adopted by Beijing. It has to ­recognise the importance of lending support to all sectors of the economy to ensure a well-rounded and comprehensive development.

Anthea Chan Hiu-yu, Yau Yat Chuen

Clarifying comments on Yung Kee case

Dr Bryane Michael’s article (“Yung Kee dispute prompts bout of judicial activism”, December 8) purported to raise the question whether the Court of Final Appeal’s recent decision in the Yung Kee case portends “the start of an era of judicial ­activism”.

I have no wish to become embroiled in that subject. However, as counsel for the appellant in that case, I feel obliged to point out a few matters essential to any informed debate, but which seem to have been overlooked or misunderstood.

First, the article incorrectly states that nothing in our laws allows our courts to wind-up a company from another jurisdiction. In this regard, Dr Michael overlooked that section 327 of the Companies (Winding Up and Miscellaneous Provisions) Ordinance, Chapter 32 of the laws of Hong Kong, expressly gives the Hong Kong court such power. The fundamental point decided by the Court of Final Appeal is precisely in what circumstances the court would exercise this jurisdiction. There is thus no question of the court “capriciously and arbitrarily decid[ing] what they think best”. Nor is there sound basis supporting the serious accusation that our highest appellate court’s eminent judges gave a ruling based on their own views in disregard of the letter of the law.

Second, the article suggests that the “two Kam brothers” were given 28 days to discuss a share buyout. Elsewhere, it is said that the court “hopes the Kam brothers will reach an agreement between themselves”. In fact, the elder Kam brother, Kinsen Kam Kwan-sing, passed away in October 2012. The appeal was brought by his personal representative. The Court of Final Appeal upheld the trial judge’s ruling that his younger brother’s conduct was ­unfairly prejudicial to him, ­making it just and equitable to wind-up the Yung Kee group’s holding company.

Third, the article suggests that the decision is a death sentence to Yung Kee. Dr Michael seems not to have appreciated that the company ordered to be wound-up is the group’s ­holding company, which conducts no business in its own right. The restaurant itself is not directly affected. Indeed, back in 2010, the court already rejected any such notion.

Jat Sew-Tong SC, Admiralty

Teach children about nutrition from early age

Besides the points mentioned by Winnie Lei Yuen-lam (“Children must always have a balanced diet”, December 22), all have a part to play in tackling the issue of childhood obesity in countries.

Nutritional information such as calories, cholesterol and sugar content should be displayed clearly on all food and drink items on fast-food chains’ menus. Many food outlets in the US have had to display calorie information since ­November 2014, ­including restaurants and takeaways. Perhaps Hong Kong could ­follow suit.

Second, parents must set a good example. There is no point in them saying their children should eat all the vegetables on their plate if the parents are ­eating oily items like French fries.

Schools can educate children on weight management, teaching them about the basics of food nutrition. This could be done in physical education and after-school programmes.

Also, they could follow the example of many British schools where there are restrictions on sales of some fizzy drinks and snacks such as crisps and chocolate, and the amount of deep-fried food served to students.

Our eating habits are formed at a relatively young age, sometimes even before we start primary school. So it is crucial that action is taken to ­prevent the obesity issue in Hong Kong from getting out of hand.

Eunice Li Dan-yue, Singapore

Welcoming revised toilet law for women

I refer to the report, “Toilet relief on the way for women” (December 7).

I agree that there are not enough toilets for women in Hong Kong. In existing buildings, the toilet ratio is the same for men as it is for women, but women have to wait longer in line and often have to take care of children at the same time.

There should be at least one toilet for mothers, which is something that shopping malls do not have. The amendment stipulates that there must be 1.6 female toilets for every one male toilet in public places. The ratio should be 1.3.

Also, more must be done to ensure toilets are clean. This is especially important for breastfeeding mothers.

Eva Chow, Tseung Kwan O

Net addiction with students is a problem

Many students spend too much time on their smartphones and computers and some have become addicted to the internet.

With some youngsters, this addiction is caused by them using the net as an escape, ­because they have psychological problems. When they spend time away from the internet, they actually suffer withdrawal symptoms.

Even though internet addiction has more to do with controlling one’s behaviour rather than controlling a craving for a drug, as in substance abuse, the physical causes of internet addiction also drive the urge to “use”.

The government must recognise this is a problem in society.

Melody Wong,Tsuen Wan

Encouraging teens will have positive results

I refer to the letter by Dora Chan (“Don’t just scold struggling ­students”, December 8).

I agree with her that adolescents need encouragement from adults to ensure their positive self-development.

They are more likely to be motivated to think in a positive way about their lives if they are given the necessary support by parents and teachers.

This is especially important when they have had a setback. With the right encouragement, they are more likely to deal with these failures, learn from them and move forward. Adults should try and understand the situation these young people face before blaming them for these setbacks.

If they are given a sharp ­rebuke, this can have serious negative psychological consequences and leave teenagers feeling dispirited and depressed. This can happen if they are scolded by a teacher in front of classmates. This may adversely affect their studies and exam grades if they come to ­believe in themselves as failures.

Adults have to recognise that Hong Kong has a stressful education system, with students facing so many tests and exams.

Parents must keep open the lines of communication and ­offer their children encouragement. They should ask them about school life and their ­academic expectations. Teachers and parents need to think more carefully about what they say to youngsters.

Maggie Chan Hiu-suet, Cheung Sha Wan

Emphasising real meaning of Christmas

I refer to Yonden Lhatoo’s article (“For too many in HK, the ­season of giving offers only crumbs”, December 18), in which he talks critically about the spirit of Christmas.

His criticism is only partly justifiable. It is how people celebrate Christmas that is to blame, not Christmas itself.

I agree that Christmas has long been commercialised with excessive consumerism, widening the gap between the rich and poor. But, this is due mainly to a misunderstanding about the spirit of Christmas. It is the celebration of Jesus’ humble birth in a manger. So it is by praying and churchgoing that Christians praise and glorify the arrival of their saviour. Glamorous decorations and boisterous festivities are way off the mark.

The spirit of giving associated with Christmas means generously sharing our possessions with those in need. Visits to the poor and the sick are encouraged as sacrificing time for the needy is a loving act of giving.

The exchange of gifts among friends and families, though serving to spread the joy of Christmas, should not, therefore, lead to luxurious spending.

By no means is Christmas humbug.

Angela Chong, Macau