Letters to the Editor, July 10, 2016

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 10 July, 2016, 12:18am
UPDATED : Sunday, 10 July, 2016, 12:18am

China bullied Cambodia into Asean decision

I refer to the letter from Youna Ko, from Korea (“Cambodia has made right decision in South China Sea dispute”, July 5).

Your correspondent congratulated Cambodia for distancing itself from its Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) neighbours’ concerns over China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea, based on the tenuous nine-dash line.

I disagree with Youna Ko’s perspective. If one is a member of a club, one is expected to consider the wider interests of the club, in order to present a workable consensus, rather than focusing exclusively on one’s own individual position.

The major Asean countries of Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam have territorial claims that conflict with China (as well between themselves) and the port of Singapore has genuine maritime concerns.

It is well known that Cambodia has close links with China going back to the time of Norodom Sihanouk, who established formal diplomatic relations with China in 1958 and who later took up residence in state guest houses at Beijing and Pyongyang.

China has for ­several years appeared ­desperate to stop Asean from presenting a unified position on the South China Sea, and quite obviously has bullied Cambodia into again breaking ranks with the other Asean nations.

We have just witnessed ­Brexit in the European Union. The United Kingdom did not like the rules applied by the club and so has decided to leave. Perhaps Cambodia should consider leaving Asean, as “you cannot have your cake and eat it too”.

I. M. Wright, Happy Valley

Parents should not depend on lifeguards

The furor over swimming pool safety at a Discovery Bay club mirrors a culture of blaming ­others for one’s own mistake.

Lifeguards never guarantee safety and they cannot save everyone, they are a precautionary measure to safeguard those who cannot save themselves.

When I was a boy, we were commanded by parents to “stay within sight” and constantly ­observed, not by strangers but by family. The primary responsibility for a child’s safety in the water is with the person charged to look after them, to monitor them, to ensure they can swim within their capabilities and to never let that child out of their sight.

Parents should not relegate this role to a person employed to oversee safety in an overcrowded pool.

Mark Peaker, The Peak

Bin initiative wrong way to reduce waste

Last month, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department introduced a new batch of bins with smaller openings and bigger warning notices. The aim is to solve the widespread problems of oversized rubbish being put in them and nearby residents using them to deposit household waste.

The purpose of these bins is for passing pedestrians to drop in refuse to ensure the streets stay clean and clear of discarded refuse. Clean streets leave a good impression with tourists.

A lot more waste is generated in our modern cities than in the past, because, for example, there are so many outlets selling food in individual packaging and bottled drinks.

I do not think the department should reduce the openings of bins or even reduce the number of the bins on the street. This cannot get to the root of the problem and actually may make it worse. People will keep dumping oversized rubbish even if they cannot get it into the bin. The government could introduce regulations seeking to limit the amount of packaging used for some products.

Consumers should be encouraged to be environmentally friendly and buy bottled drinks sparingly. And officials should act as soon as possible on any new rules.

Chloe Ng Sin-yee, Tseung Kwan O

Governments must curb overfishing

So often, some endangered ­species of marine life is largely ­ignored until it has become ­extinct and is gone for good.

While it is good news that environmental groups are now trying to highlight the plight of marine life in our world’s oceans, it remains a serious problem.

There are insufficient policies by governments around the world aimed at protecting marine wildlife. Globally, shark populations are being drastically reduced by finning.

One local example of a threatened species is the Chinese bahaba fish. Their numbers have dropped dramatically in the past 30 years. They have now been listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. So why are not we protecting this ­species?

Of course, we cannot force people not to eat these fish, but governments can curb overfishing.

Over-catching means that very young fish are caught before they reach maturity and can breed and this results in decimation of numbers.

Action must be taken to ensure greater protection of marine animals. Many Hong Kong teenagers are worried about this and have joined marches and written to the government.

However, they cannot stop overfishing. That requires action by governments.

But individuals can help by not eating endangered species. For example, at Chinese wedding banquets, the hosts can ensure shark’s fin soup is not on the menu.

If we do not take action now, then I dread to think what will be left in our oceans 40 years from now.

Natalie Yeung , Lai Chi Kok

Help ethnic minorities join the workforce

A survey has shown that fewer than 20 per cent of job vacancies advertised online cater to those who cannot speak, read or write Chinese.

This is a problem for residents from ethnic minorities and their numbers have been increasing in recent years.

Hong Kong faces a problem with its ageing population and shrinking labour force. We need to deal with issues such as discrimination and ethnic minorities and find ways to enable these people to join the labour force.

The government should help employers review their job requirements and take out the Chinese-language clause in an advert if it is not essential to the job.

This would hopefully make it easier for our ethnic minority citizens to join the workforce.

Brenda Law Wing-man, Sham Shui Po

Start-up reality check vital for young people

I refer to the report, “Young people say obstacles to starting business too great” (July 4).

Perhaps it is time for people to have some realistic thoughts about entrepreneurship.

Taking my own experience, I started my own business in my forties, after acquiring more than 20 years of experience in my field. I attribute my start-up success to a number of key factors.

I had sufficient capital set aside for the purpose and I gave myself two years, so that I could still work if I failed.

I knew my business inside out. Also, I knew what was of value to my potential customers (to the extent that they were willing to pay).

I know people in my trade, and they know me and I have all the connections for upstream and downstream businesses.

Finally, I developed a well- thought-out strategy and plan for myself.

Financial support alone is not good enough to guarantee success.

Most young people, unfortunately, only have an idea (such as how good it is to have an app for a certain purpose). They do not have the supporting key ­factors.

To paraphrase Thomas Edison [writing about genius], success is 1 per cent inspiration and 99 per cent perspiration.

Our young people in general have inspiration but they sadly lack the willingness for perspiration.

Dennis Li, Mid-levels