Letters to the editor, March 8, 2016
Chaos on our streets and in Legco chamber
I believe many participants in the Lunar New Year day riot in Mong Kok would have been veterans from the earlier Occupy movement that paralysed our city. But this time they were more violent and lawless.
More police officers were injured, with bricks being thrown at them.
Apparently officers were instructed to show restraint.
The fundamental underlying problem in Hong Kong is that the government lacks moral and political authority.
As a result, we have protests that turn violent with protesters attacking police and legislators who abuse the filibuster system in the Legislative Council chamber. In the end, it is the people of Hong Kong who suffer.
We need a strong government, which passes laws and maintains order in society. The best way this can be achieved is to strengthen our democratic institutions through universal suffrage, first through the election of the chief executive, and then the entire Legislative Council.
The central government came up with a formula that would allow that to happen. Someone would need at least 50 per cent support from the nominating committee to be a candidate in the vote for chief executive.
Many people did not like this proposal, but it was the only one offered to us. We need to develop our democracy. We do not want see a further deterioration of order in our city.
Lam Tao, The Peak
Government is not listening to angry citizens
Many people were critical of those protesters who resorted to violence during the riot on the first day of Lunar New Year last month.
There is no doubt that using violence is not the right tactic to employ when you want to get your views across to the government. However, we should not just focus on the violence. We need to ask what motivated people to behave in this way. What is it that has made Hong Kong people so angry?
They are concerned about a number of issues, such as the construction of the costly bridge to Macau and Zhuhai, which they see as a waste of taxpayers’ money. They are also concerned about the possible implementation of a security law (Article 23) which they see as part of the “mainlandisation” of Hong Kong. People have become increasingly frustrated, over the last few years, because despite many peaceful protests, the government has consistently ignored their demands for change.
If the administration had responded to previous protests, would they have resorted to violence in Mong Kok last month? The government and protesters need to meet and try to work together to solve the problems that are the chief concerns of citizens.
I do not want to see a repeat of what happened in Mong Kok.
Fei Hui, Tseung Kwan O
We must be ready to learn from history
In the 1920s, a certain party in Germany took an extreme stance, speaking and appealing to a frustrated population. They caused riots and stormed other parties’ meetings.
Their leader had to serve time in jail and came back stronger. He won power as many lost the ability to think rationally, and ruled others through fear.
What’s worrying is that the same can apply to the Communist Party in China, as well as certain parties in Hong Kong.
History makes no distinctions, but the people must.
Eddie Booth, Wan Chai
Time is ripe for a brand new Air Force One
The US presidential race is getting pretty exciting.
However, no matter who wins in November, he or she will eventually be travelling in a brand new Air Force One.
They will fly in a Boeing 747-8, which came into service about five years ago.
In 2011, I had the opportunity to visit the Hong Kong Engineering Aircraft Company (HEACO). A brand new 747-8 aircraft had just arrived from the factory in Seattle.
The plane is used as a cargo aircraft for that company based in Hong Kong.
The present presidential Air Force One (a 747-200) is in my opinion overdue for a replacement. Most 747-200s have been retired by major airlines.
I think the next president will welcome being able to sit and have conferences in a new 747-8.
Eugene Li, Deep Water Bay
Tutorial classes not always the best option
Hong Kong children get 12 years of free education. Of course it brings advantages to society. The literacy rate improves and with a better educated population, Hong Kong can be more competitive globally.
However, despite having full-time, free education, many students still go to tutorial classes in the evenings and at weekends. This is becoming a growing trend.
In the past, not many youngsters went to tutorial colleges. There were fewer universities and undergraduate places. If students failed to get a coveted university place, they could go instead, for example, to Hong Kong Community College and still have a career.
Even though there are now more university places available, the competition to get a place is fierce and this puts youngsters under a lot of pressure. Many feel that without a degree, they will not get a good job and not be able to follow a productive career path.
The smarter students go to tutorial classes to get higher grades and the less-gifted sign up for the classes just to pass exams.
Some students are now becoming over-reliant on these colleges. They see them as the only way to do well academically and do not concentrate during normal lessons at their school.
They are working so hard in the tutorial college that they often fall asleep in class. What is the purpose of free education if so many parents are paying a lot of money for their children to go to tutorial classes? It also puts youngsters from low-income families at a disadvantage because they cannot afford to go to tutorial classes.
We need to look again at the education system in Hong Kong and ask if changes are needed to reduce the pressure on students. It would certainly help to have more undergraduate places at university.
Also, we must ask if everyone should be entitled to a free education if it is of little use to some young people.
Tina Lo, Sha Tin
Budget did not offer enough on housing
The government should do more to address the housing problems in the city.
It was announced in the budget that the public housing supply would be increased and more residential sites would be made available for sale.
However, the government is still not doing enough.
In the past, it has built public estates in the wrong location, for example, at Tai O on Lantau.
It has insufficient transport and other support facilities and so few people applied to live there.
It has also changed some land to residential land use in areas which are already densely populated, which puts pressure on public transport during rush hours.
When it comes to housing policies, far better urban planning is needed in Hong Kong.
Joyce Lun Chung-si, Kowloon Bay