Letters to the Editor, February 12, 2016

PUBLISHED : Friday, 12 February, 2016, 4:48pm
UPDATED : Friday, 12 February, 2016, 4:48pm

Enforcement action in HK is essential

In times of crisis, people ­depend on the government.

I am not convinced that our government has done a good job protecting the interests of ­citizens while making Hong Kong a safe and friendly place for tourists.

We have all grown up to ­believe we live in one of the ­safest and most well-balanced cities in the world. However, we have to face reality now, when, for example, looking at the Mong Kok riot, that we need to see some proper enforcement action taken by the authorities to continue to make the citizens of this city feel safe.

I am beginning to think, for the first time since the 1997 handover, that Hong Kong will never be the same as how it felt under British rule.

Then, growing up in the city, I considered we had law and ­order and democracy. But looking ahead, unless our leaders, tycoons and ordinary citizens step up fight for freedom and law and order, then surely our children will not have the same feeling of security we did ­growing up in this beautiful city.

Rishi Teckchandani, Mid-Levels

Government must recognise real discontent

Extreme protests erupted in Mong Kok on the first night of Lunar New Year after a crackdown on unlicensed food ­hawkers.

They have been called the “fishball revolution”.

I have reservations about the violent acts of some protesters, which included damaging public property,and attacking journalists and policemen. Despite these concerns, I echo the appeal by localist protesters to preserve the food stalls. These mobile hawkers selling local snacks are part of the collective memories of many Hongkongers.

I am also deeply concerned about the police response.

Officers used batons against protesters and it has to be asked if they abused their power. Chinese-language paper Ming Pao said it was shocked “after one of its journalists was allegedly assaulted by police officers while covering the riot” (“Media caught up in the chaos”, ­February 10).

Although self-defence by ­officers faced with such chaotic scenes can be justified, we need to know why two warning shots were fired by a policeman. Firing vertically into the air could pose a serious hazard to people in a densely populated area like Mong Kok. However, after such fierce protests I do not think it is time to play the blame game. The riot reflected the unresolved and intense dissatisfaction felt by many Hongkongers, especially young people, ­towards the government.

The government should learn from the past. Following the riots of 1966 and 1967, the colonial administration ­conducted in-depth inquiries. It looked at the large levels of discontent and policies were implemented to deal with major social problems and address ­citizens’ needs.

The government must constructively address people’s concerns over deep-rooted socio-political issues, if it wants to prevent similar conflicts in the future.

Ben L. P. Tsang, Yuen Long

Rioters not there to defend food hawkers

I do not think those people who started the riot in Mong Kok aimed to support the hawkers, but instead wanted a fight with police and the Hong Kong government.

The individuals and groups involved want to undermine the work done by the administration and its departments. They were also clearly targeting the police.

I agree that anyone found guilty of criminal offences during Monday night’s disturbances, especially those who hurt police officers and other individuals such as journalists, should be punished.

They must also be punished if they damaged public property as this can have an adverse effect on ordinary citizens.

Fiona Hui, Kwai Chung

Put tourism ambassadors in key areas

I appreciate that the government and Hong Kong Tourism Board have been doing their best to promote the local ­tourism industry. However, ­ I suggest that tourist ambassadors should be recruited. They can help tourists by handing out leaflets, giving advice and ­answering questions at major ­districts, MTR stations, ferry piers and scenic spots in Hong Kong.

I believe this is the easiest and most effective way to help enhance the tourism sector and the image of Hong Kong especially when we have an abundant supply of young students and versatile volunteers who are readily available.

Lawrence Choi, Tuen Mun

A struggle to communicate for minorities

To be honest, it is difficult for those of us from ethnic minorities to survive in this world city.

I appreciate that the government is trying its best to bridge the gap between minorities and the rest of the population.

Credit goes to it for coming up with various schemes which aim to benefit people from ­minorities, and it has done some great work, but these people still face major problems.

The chief problem is the ­language barrier which makes it difficult for many of us to enjoy the benefits the administration is seeking to give us.

With ­English being widespread in society it might appear that it is easy for young people from minorities to communicate and adapt, but not all of us are comfortable with the ­language and many of us have difficulty communicating in English and ­Chinese.

This can mean we have to take friends, or parents or other ­relatives, for example, to ­hospitals if we need treatment. And this can prove ­difficult when you and those who can help you have work commitments and other appointments.

People from minorities in Hong Kong experience ­difficulties finding schools, and often do not understand the procedures involved in applying for a public housing apartment.

I would like to see more ­people from ethnic minority groups fluent in the different languages spoken in Hong Kong, being employed by banks, hospitals and other places where we might need help.

They should be trained to impart basic knowledge to ­citizens from these groups.

More legislation is needed to safeguard the interests of ­minorities.

Most importantly, children and local citizens should be ­encouraged to interact with ­ethnic minorities so we achieve a community-friendly Hong Kong.

Yakso Dibas, Wan Chai

More subsidies can help people escape poverty

I am concerned about the plight of the underprivileged in Hong Kong.

It is now a serious problem and urgent action is needed to deal with it.

Many people find themselves struggling with unemployment and poverty, because more citizens are better educated than in previous generations. With their qualifications they are given priority for jobs and people with low skill levels are at a disadvantage.

Low-income families who want to ensure their children get a good education and therefore a better chance in life, will ­struggle to pay for the all the textbooks needed in school. If they use a lot of their income to pay for these things it is a struggle to have enough to pay for other ­necessities.

Sometimes this can lead to people trying to cope with ­poverty having serious psychological problems.

The government must find feasible solutions to help alleviate the distress felt by these citizens.

More subsidies should be given to the underprivileged. Also there must be an adequate number of training schemes so these people can learn new skills. They have a better chance of escaping from poverty if they can find work.

Winnie Lei Yuen-lam, Sham Shui Po

Clear left-side channel works on escalators

In the letter (“Walking not safest option on escalators”, February 4) Samuel Cheng Ka-ho misses the point.

None of the many letters to these columns have advocated that standing is not an option. The point is that there is a long established convention of standing on the right side of escalators to allow an unhindered left-side channel for walking.

This standard etiquette works perfectly for everyone and is no safety issue. There has never been any need for the MTR Corporation’s PR department to muddy the waters, and thereby confuse the public and create passenger conflicts.

The MTR’s bureaucratic intransigence in the face of overwhelming negative public feed-back is alarming as its “stand firm” instruction is creating a less safe environment. Its managers need to get their act together. They only need to visit their own stations to witness that the travelling public ignores their exhortations because they are deemed unwarranted.

Any authority should comprehend that asserting rules that do not have public backing is meaningless.

I could not agree more with Charlie Chan (“Insult to the intelligence of HK public”, February 3) that these inane and confusing announcements should be withdrawn immediately.

Frank Lee, Wan Chai