Letters to the editor, May 5, 2016
Daughter’s left bag not CY abusing power
Many people have been very critical of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying over the incident when his daughter’s luggage was left outside the restricted area of Hong Kong airport and delivered to her at the boarding gate.
Critics said it raised questions about possible abuse of power by C. Y. and about the security arrangements put in place by the Hong Kong Airport Authority. I am sure that, being a celebrity and a politician, he is fully aware that he must think carefully about what he does and what he says. In this case, I do not think there was any abuse of power.
It does not appear that he asked Cathay Pacific staff for any special treatment. There is no indication that he tried to force anyone at the airport to do anything because he was chief executive.
Also, I do not see how the incident would lead to concerns about the Airport Authority’s security systems. It does not appear that transferring luggage in this way is a common occurrence and as long as it did not break any security rules at the airport, I do not think there is a problem.
Sometimes there will be special cases and that can sometimes apply to celebrities and other prominent individuals. There is nothing wrong with that.
After all, airports have priority channels for certain groups of people.
Hongkongers should avoid trying to politicise an issue when there is no justification for doing so as this can lead to unnecessary conflicts. In this case, I think there is a need for the fiercest critics of C. Y. to calm down.
Sharon Liu Tsz-ying, Yau Ma Tei
Tread softly to keep Lantau precious
I refer to the article by Ian Brownlee (“Spare Lantau from artificial tourism projects”, April 28).
I agree with Mr Brownlee that Lantau Island should be planned as a high-quality living environment for Hong Kong people instead of a tourism attraction.
The word “development” has disturbing connotations for Hong Kong people, because with some projects they consider to be failures, the priority was making profits rather than looking at the needs of the public.
For instance, a redevelopment project in Kwun Tong was supposed to improve living conditions for inner city residents. However, the luxury flats which were built made huge profits for developers while no provision was made for the original residents. So people are suspicious when the government announces a large-scale development plan.
The Northeast New Territories development plan will essentially be an economic zone to help with China-Hong Kong integration instead of increasing housing units for Hong Kong people. These experiences make citizens suspicious and they fear that with Lantau a precious resource will be taken from them in order to cater to tourists.
Although many consider the development of Lantau as unwelcome, I understand that it is unavoidable because there will be a large influx of people when the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge opens. There will be some urban encroachment.
What the government can do is to minimise the effects of any projects. If the present recreational environment Lantau provides is destroyed, then the already bad relationship between citizens and the government can only get worse.
Shek On-man, Sai Kung
More of Deng’s ‘two systems’ the better idea
Peter Lok’s remarks (“Secessionists should opt to emigrate”, May 3) comparing Hong Kong secession with home rule for parts of the UK are flawed as he bases them on the idea that the non-English components of the UK (Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales) are separate states that volunteered to be part of the UK.
In fact, of the three, only Scotland existed as a unitary state before joining its parliament with England’s voluntarily in 1707, its crown having been united with England’s in 1603.
Wales and Ireland were collections of warring mini-states conquered by England, Wales having formally been unified with England during Henry VIII’s reign, and Ireland (whose remainder, Northern Ireland, is still in) was compelled to join the UK in 1801.
Secession of the confederate states in the US in 1861 is even more complex, as some of them were part of the original union, some had been formed from territories along the way, and Texas had been annexed.
It would make a great deal more sense to consider Hong Kong politics as free-standing rather than to try for overstretched comparisons to different polities.
And while Mr Lok’s suggestion of emigration may be worth consideration, it seems to me that continuing Deng Xiaoping’s (鄧小平) brilliant formulation of “one country, two systems” for a while longer, perhaps 50 more years, would be a more just and equitable solution to this concern.
Christopher Heneghan, Abergavenny, Wales
Teens forget internet has some pitfalls
Most teenagers in Hong Kong now have a smartphone.
They are constantly using the internet to search for information, catch up with current affairs and also enjoy all the different forms of entertainment that are now available online.
Clearly the internet will become an even more important part of the lives of young people when they grow up than it is for the present generation of adults. They will use it for almost every aspect of their lives, including virtually all the transactions that they make, from buying clothes to ordering food.
Of course, as the internet develops further and makes many aspects of our lives more convenient, it will bring so many benefits.
However, we must also be aware of the possible disadvantages.
This has already been apparent with some students being found guilty of plagiarism, because of information that they took off the web.
Some of them did this without really thinking, but it can have serious consequences.
The aim of some of the exercises and projects they are given to do as homework is to develop their critical thinking skills.
Plagiarism, even if some copying is an act of carelessness rather than malicious, makes it more difficult for them to acquire those skills.
They need to learn to be wary about how they use information they have copied from the internet in their studies.
Also, there is less face-to-face communication among young people who use the internet to keep in touch with family and friends, instead of sitting down and talking to them, and this is a cause for concern.
Of course, using social media platforms is convenient, but we should not rely too much on the internet.
Cathy Lo, Tseung Kwan O
Universities not designed for all-comers
I would not support universities offering non-degree courses.
A university is a place of higher education and so it exists to provide degrees. Offering non-degree courses would go against the original intention of establishing these tertiary institutions.
I think it could lower standards, because some non-degree courses are not much higher than high-school level.
A university exists to nurture young people with talent so they can make a contribution to society.
Also, there are already colleges which offer non-degree courses and so if universities followed suit, this would lead to pointless duplication.
These colleges have experience of organising such courses, which are tailor-made for the young people who sign up for them.
I think we should stick with the status quo as it works well.
Kelly Wong, Cheung Sha Wan