Letters to the editor, May 20, 2016

PUBLISHED : Friday, 20 May, 2016, 5:09pm
UPDATED : Friday, 20 May, 2016, 5:09pm

A grotesque hangover from the handover

It would be amusing if it were not so tragic to see two senior medical politicians trashing each other through the media.

In the letter by Dr Donald Li, president of the Hong Kong Academy of Medicine (“Only doctors and dentists are on council”, April 25), he slammed the assertions made by lawmaker Dr Kwok Ka-ki, who slammed quite a few people.

It is tragic because they are both fighting for influence and control over a grotesque hangover from the handover. The Medical Council of Hong Kong is based on the prevailing influence of the General Medical Council at the time of the return of the colony to China.

It was the far-reaching vision of Margaret Thatcher and Deng Xiaoping (鄧小平) which has ­allowed this period of freedom and autonomy, in order to show what Hong Kong can do when left to its own ­devices. This ­freedom gives Hong Kong a unique opportunity to grow and ­develop and re-engineer for the 21st century. The Medical Council is out of date, out of time, out of order. The government and Legco would do well not to ask doctors in Hong Kong for their views on their own professional regulatory authority.

What would be most sensible and would not involve any loss of face would be to open up communication with the General Medical Council in London and ask how they have come to be so different from the old style, the Hong Kong style, regulatory authority – an even number of professional and non-professional members on the council; revalidation; constant professional development; fast-tracking complaints and concerns, and ensuring standards are maintained.

The General Medical Council is not perfect but it makes the Medical Council look self-serving.

Andrew Burd, Tai Po

Food waste in landfills harms environment

Hongkongers love their food, but unfortunately it is also a city that is prone to waste a lot of it.

Over 3,200 tonnes of food waste is generated in Hong Kong every day.

The amount produced by the hospitality industry alone has doubled in the last five years. The vast majority of this waste ends up in landfills, and this is leading to the rapid depletion of our already limited landfill space and this has implications for the local environment.

In large cities like Hong Kong, emissions from decomposing food have a serious negative impact on air quality. In addition to producing waste water, as food rots in landfills, it releases methane and carbon dioxide – greenhouse gases that capture and retain heat in the atmosphere.

By reducing the amount of food waste being sent to landfills, we can extend their lifespan and reduce the severe burden on Hong Kong’s environment.

There is a long way to go but plans to extend organic waste treatment facilities and encourage businesses and consumers to participate in food waste ­reduction and waste separation at source are encouraging signs.

Nicole Wong Yuen-shan, Tseung Kwan O

It is time for Disney to have gay characters

I refer to the report, “Are we ready for a gay Disney princess? We may be closer than you think” (May 15).

Despite being a loyal fan of Disney, I have been occasionally disturbed by stereotypes depicted in its animated movies, for example, sometimes portraying women as weak and helpless, and women marrying their “true love” after knowing them for only a few days.

Although in societies like Hong Kong, same-sex marriages are controversial, they are becoming more common globally. I agree with those who say that as more countries legalise gay marriage, Disney should create a lesbian or gay character in its films.

Same-sex marriage is a ­human right, as people do not choose their sexual orientation. Children who see gay characters in movies may accept and respect their gay peers more easily.

Sexual interest in the same sex is becoming more acceptable in society. Letting children know more about homosexuality when they are young would reduce prejudice and discrimination against homosexuals.

Reinforcing love between princesses and princes is an act of indoctrination and only makes homosexuality seem an unacceptable behaviour in people’s eyes.

Walt Disney is one of the most influential media production companies. I hope it will move away from the traditional standard of ­romantic love and make children learn more about the real world they are living in.

Jasmine Shek, Ho Man Tin

Irresponsible jet ski riders pose a risk

I write to alert Hong Kong residents and the marine police of extremely dangerous behaviour by jet ski riders abusing the law on weekends.

Towards the end of last ­summer and these last few weeks as the weather warms up, hordes of jet ski ­riders are congregating at both ends of Middle Island channel between Deep Water Bay and Repulse Bay.

While some are respectfully enjoying their newfound toys, a number are riding at full speed with no regard to the law, through the channel, where families, young children and dogs swim, not to mention the local community of kayakers and men and woman enjoying a peaceful day on the water ­fishing.

If this continues, someone is going to be seriously injured.

Jamie Spence, Tai Hang

Falling output of rice is now a global problem

I refer to the report, “Food security fears return as Asia’s rice crop shrivels” (May 3).

This is the first time the world rice output is expected to decline on account of the El­ ­Nino effect. Drought has parched the land for Asia’s top rice-producing nations. This is threatening output and prices will spike.

A lot of countries now face challenges brought about by ­climate change. If the world’s two largest suppliers of rice, ­India and Thailand, suffer severe drops in output, then they might not be able to feed their own people and will not have a surplus to export. Countries like Japan rely heavily on rice imports from these countries. This is not just a regional issue, it affects the whole world.

There must be coordination by countries to crack down on hoarding. Also, governments should encourage farmers to switch to drought-resistant crops like peas. If governments turn a blind eye to the growing problem of food shortages, then over the next few years, it can only get worse.

Hong Kong citizens have a responsibility not to waste food. In some countries, people do not have enough to eat.

Natalie Chiu, Lai Chi Kok