Letters to the editor, March 22, 2016

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 March, 2016, 4:51pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 March, 2016, 4:51pm

Hong Kong has become Sinocentric

I refer to the report “Sweets for minority children, but what about integration?” (March 21)

The “Appreciate Hong Kong” ­campaign highlights our government’s continual ability to place the boot on the wrong foot.

It is Hong Kong that should appreciate the contributions of the ethnic minorities, the overseas workers, domestic helpers, and other foreigners here.

It has been this diversity and input of talent and effort that created Hong Kong as a major world trading post and generated prosperity and its vibrant broad society.

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying thinks “we should treasure Hong Kong, bless Hong Kong, and appreciate Hong Kong”, but the government’s own actions belie this exhortation, as the primary thrust of his administration has been a bland “one country” integration with China, at the expense of the “two systems” of Hong Kong’s separate standing as an international city.

We have become depressingly Sinocentric, and our own government is not standing up for Hong Kong, but endlessly shuffling to accommodate perceived mainland interests or the interests of our dominant ­local Chinese tycoons.

Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor taking a photo op to join Hongkongers for a poon choi feast does not fit the bill in promoting the ­integration of non-Chinese ­members of our community.

Doling out sweets to children does not obscure the reality of the sour way many non-Chinese people are treated in Hong Kong.

On a related subject, I appreciated the efforts of Dr York Chow Yat-ngok as chairman of the Equal Opportunities Commission, as he is capable, willing and principled.

The fact that he has not been reappointed gives the impression that he was doing his job as an independent commissioner too well.

I. M. Wright, Happy Valley

Measures aim for greater integration

I refer to the article “Sweets for minority children, but what about integration?” (March 21)

The Chief Secretary for Administration Carrie Lam delivered a keynote speech at the launch of the “Race for Opportunity: Diversity List” on Monday, which coincidentally was the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

The speech covered, among other things, a full package of measures that the Hong Kong SAR government has implemented to address the needs of ethnic minorities, with a view to better integrating them into the local community.

The full speech ­can be accessed at http://www.info.gov.­hk/gia/general/201603/21/P201603210353.htm­.

I believe that the content of the speech can address the ­concerns on the adequacy of measures to promote integration among ethnic minorities as stated in your article.

Andy Lam, press secretary to chief secretary for administration

No-suicide pledge is not the answer

I refer to the letter by Christy Lee (“Overprotective approach bad for students”, March 21).

I agree that the exam system in Hong Kong places a lot of pressure on students and their parents.

Parents want their sons and daughters to do well in exams so that they can have lucrative ­careers, but the pressure to ­succeed can be difficult to cope with, especially if the parents’ expectations are too high.

Changes are required and the government needs to make ­parents realise that it is important to find the right balance for students, so that they can have realistic goals.

There is also a tendency in some families in Hong Kong for children to be spoiled.

Taking an overprotective approach is not good or youngsters can become too dependent on their parents. It is better to give them the right kind of encouragement and if they do not do well in exams, there is no point in making them feel they are ­failures.

With the recent spate of ­student suicides, the government has introduced new measures to help youngsters. I think one of them, a no-suicide pledge, will not help to reduce the problem.

Officials should be trying to get to the root of the problem, rather than asking students to sign a pledge. They need to look into how the education system can be improved and what areas are in need of reform.

I would also like to see another university being built, so there are more undergraduate places available.

There has to be better counselling for students and their ­families where they can feel free to express their concerns.

The present education system is flawed and tries to force students to become ­machines. They must be taught life skills so they can deal with any emotional problems they have.

I fear for Hong Kong’s future unless this problem is addressed.

Fok Pui-yi, Tseung Kwan O

Discrimination still exists in the workplace

It may appear that men and women are equal and that ­gender equality now exists in Hong Kong.

People point to more women joining the workforce. However, I think that women are often treated unfairly in some offices.

Some employers continue to have entrenched views and still prefer to appoint male applicants for a job.

Also, I think that some ­women still have to put up with sexist comments from colleagues. And there are still instances where a female employee earns less than a male colleague even if they are doing similar jobs.

Also, some companies will try to find ways to dismiss a women if she becomes pregnant, as they do not want to have to give her maternity leave.

There is also the pressure women feel in a traditional ­society like Hong Kong.

There is still a stigma attached to women who have decided to delay getting ­married. They are sometimes described as “leftover women”.

There is still prejudice shown towards mothers who wish to breastfeed in public areas in the city.

Some people can be very ­impolite towards these mothers and this can be a very upsetting experience.

We should try to ensure that men and women are treated equally in society.

Rachel Leung Cho-kwan, Sham Shui Po

Chief executive can opt to dissolve Legco

I was waiting to see, while the crisis was building up over the funds needed to complete the terminal structure of the express rail, whether it would be necessary to use the powers in the Basic Law to deal with this situation.

It says that “if the Legislative Council refuses to pass the budget or any other important bill introduced by the government, and if the consensus still cannot be reached after consultations, the chief executive may dissolve the Legislative Council”. There, two birds killed with one stone. And, indeed, if there should be any quibbling over that, let us turn to Article 48(4), in which the chief executive can decide on government policies and issue executive orders.

It is clear this is exactly what the drafters of the Basic Law had in mind and just what the public may be still waiting for.

David Akers-Jones, Tsim Sha Tsui