Letters to the Editor, July 8, 2016
Weakened economic status for UK
I must congratulate my old friend Jason Ali on his commendable sangfroid and sunny optimism in welcoming Brexit (“Back to the good old days for the UK”, June 30).
However, his delight that the European Union can no longer dictate the shape of bananas, while ignoring the economic corollary of that delightful state of affairs, is surely to stiffen the upper lip too far.
The faces of Boris Johnson and Michael Gove the morning after the referendum told the truth: this is a mendacity and fear-driven leap, not into the unknown, but into a measurably bad and weakened economic and political status for the UK.
Though Gove despises “experts”, he’ll note the markets have already comprehensively dumped on his vision. Though Boris hoped for David Cameron’s job – but later – he was visibly mortified it might be dumped in his lap too soon.
As for northern Britain’s working poor, exclusion from the EU’s markets will do nothing to help them weather the pain of globalisation, even if the Tory right were interested in helping them, or indeed the Blairite members of the Parliamentary Labour Party, who, like their erstwhile leader, are “intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich”.
A little less relaxation would be in order all round.
Paul Serfaty, Mid-Levels
Sovereignty issue helped Brexit backers
David Townsend in his letter (“Brexiters given false hope of better times”, July 2) sought to “put right the mistaken view” of Barnaby Ieong (“British people voted to assert control over their own destiny”, June 27).
Actually, I would not be so presumptuous as to correct Mr Townsend’s “mistaken view”, because the whole point of this referendum is that there are many different views. However, what is important is that these were not created by propaganda, as he suggests. They already existed and the reality is that the campaigns failed to change them.
Millions of people outside of the London political financial and media bubble have complained for years about the strain on public services presented by uncontrolled immigration from the EU – made worse by the spectacular mishandling of Third World immigration on top of this by our own civil service.
For their pains, they have been ignored and called racist and Little Englanders. Four million of them voted for the UK Independence Party, which is why we got the referendum in the first place.
It is not the case currently being pushed by the Remain media in denial that millions of poor uneducated people “somewhere in the north” were misled by Leave propaganda.
They know what they see, they know they have been ignored for years and no amount of Remain campaigning would change their mind.
However, millions more have been aghast at the way Westminster has been giving away our sovereignty over the last two decades and saw this as our last chance to stop the UK being absorbed into a “United States of Europe”.
The Lisbon Treaty due to come into force next March will be an extremely aggressive tightening of the ratchet in that direction. This is why most of the prosperous south outside of London also voted to leave.
Neither group was offered any positive message by the Remain campaign.
Instead, they were told either that the economy was going to collapse in a heap or, failing that, that. you guessed it, they were nasty racists and should be ashamed of themselves.
They didn’t buy into the first and were rightly insulted by the second, even as millions voted for Remain for no other reason than so as not to be thought racist.
David Townsend is right when he says that most of the problems in the UK can be blamed on our own government, although much of it is incompetent handling (our fault) of bad laws. This is why it will be fascinating to see how our political class responds.
Mark Tinker, Stanley
Back up claims about stores in Lan Kwai Fong
As a frequent visitor to Lan Kwai Fong, I watched with interest a recent episode of Money Magazine, titled “Costs of Convenience”, on TVB Pearl.
Richard Feldman, the former chairman of the Lan Kwai Fong Association, claimed in the interview that convenience stores in the area had been selling alcohol to people who were underage and this attracted drug dealers to the neighbourhood.
It is the mention of drug dealing that grabbed my attention. If the association is aware of any drug dealing activities under its watch, it should have reported such cases to the police. Pointing the finger at those who are legally entitled to sell alcohol at lower prices can hardly solve the problem.
I suspect that if drug dealers are active in Lan Kwai Fong, they would probably be working not just on the streets, but also in the comfort of the bars and restaurants there.
The police should approach Feldman to ask him to discharge his social responsibility, as he has so demanded of others, by substantiating his allegations.
H. S. Chan, Fan Ling
Help abusive parents with counselling
Earlier this year, it was revealed that shelters taking abused children are often full to capacity and some have pointed out that the government has no long-term strategy to help these children.
Providing foster care and a small-group home environment are two options when it come to helping these vulnerable children.
However, they are not absolute solutions. We have to look at the causes of abuse. Often, it comes down to parents finding they are unable to cope with the stress they feel in their daily lives.
Many of the reasons are economically based, with the pressure caused by these families living in poverty. The parents often have to work very hard in menial jobs for a poor wage. Sometimes they take out their frustrations on their children.
The government should offer more financial aid to low-income families to help them cope.
It should also be trying to offer these adults more chances to find work and get some training so they can learn new skills and get better jobs.
NGOs should be ensuring there is sufficient counselling available, so that these parents know there is somewhere they can go to seek help. Counsellors can help them learn how to deal with their stress and not hurt their children.
Our children are the future of society.
We must ensure they are protected.
Andrew Li, Tseung Kwan O
Teens face uphill struggle in their lives
Adolescents in Hong Kong share the same concerns about their prospects. They wonder how bright their future will be, how life will turn out. They would like to have a steady job and a flat and be able to help their parents.
This way of thinking is influenced by society. In Hong Kong, people equate success with having a lot of money and owning your house, so that is what youngsters focus on.
However, they face difficulties because of an education system that they find frustrating. They see it as being like a kind of lottery and if you lose, you can lose everything. Hong Kong employers, when looking for young people who will hopefully rise to senior positions, want candidates with a lot of talent and good academic qualifications.
Students who do not do well in the Diploma of Secondary Education exam will feel alienated and have difficulty getting a decent job. But there are even many graduates nowadays struggling to get good jobs.
Social workers and teachers tell students to dream without thinking about the real situation here. Teenagers should not give up and must continue to try and find happiness.
Angel Wong, Kwun Tong
Probe into beach rubbish is needed
At what point is the Hong Kong government going to investigate who or what is causing the industrial level of rubbish, mainly plastic, that is washing in from the sea onto Hong Kong’s beaches?
The rubbish appears to originate from the mainland because of the simplified Chinese characters that can be found on some of it. Or are we expected to swim in a rubbish-filled sea?
Carsten John, Siu Lam