Letters to the Editor, September 07, 2016
Let students talk about independence
I refer to Peter Tam’s letter (“Independence is suitable topic of discussion”, September 5).
I think calling for an independent Hong Kong is unrealistic. We have very limited natural resources and are heavily dependent on imports.
We would face so many obstacles on the road to becoming an independent country. However, I do believe Hongkongers have a right to determine their own future, something we were not able to do in the past. As civil awareness grows, I hope we will be able to have a say when it comes to making important decisions about the city’s future.
Freedom of speech is respected here and so teachers and students should not be banned from discussing independence for Hong Kong.
Students are the pillars of the future. They are right to be concerned about Hong Kong’s political future, especially after 2047. Discussing issues like independence in schools helps them to analyse issues and think independently.
I agree with your correspondent that sweeping this subject under the carpet is no solution. It just draws attention to it and encourages more people to talk about it. Mr Tam said we need to try and figure out why so many people are calling for Hong Kong to go it alone.
I think it is because of their disappointment with the Hong Kong government and their feeling that there has been too much integration. Banning discussion of independence will only make things worse.
Katrina Ho, Sheung Shui
It is good teens now involved in debates
In recent months, the idea of independence for Hong Kong has been spreading and has affected the whole of society. The topic was discussed a lot in the run-up to Sunday’s Legislative Council election.
More students have been expressing their thoughts about how we are governed. On the first day of the school year last Thursday, some students (including at Ying Wa College) handed out leaflets about independence (“Localists defiant on first day of school “, September 2) although not all were able to do so near their campuses.
In the past youngsters tended not to become involved in politics, but now many care about what happens in our society and about how we are governed. And of course many of them joined protest movements such as Occupy Central.
As a student, I believe we should express our opinions on political issues.
I do not agree with the calls for independence, but think that students are entitled to distribute leaflets supporting it. However, I hope young activists will not resort to extreme measures which bring them into conflict with fellow students and teachers.
Schools should not stop students talking about independence, but teachers need to establish the right framework for such a discussion in the classroom. Talking openly about this can hopefully help young people have a better understanding of “one country, two systems”. It is up to the students themselves to decide if they want to talk about independence.
I hope more of them will become involved in these discussions and express their opinions in an orderly and peaceful manner. This can only be good for our society.
Kassandra Wong Hiu-tung, Tseung Kwan O
Open more polling stations at election time
While it is good that there was a 58 per cent turnout for the Legislative Council election, it was ridiculous that because of long queues at some polling stations, the last person to vote did not do so until 3am.
I read that there were fewer polling stations than in the 2012 election, which meant that many people were still queuing at the official closing time for polling stations of 10.30pm.
At future elections the government must ensure that it has enough polling stations and in the right locations so that people can get there quickly, especially if they are working and only have a short break.
Citizens should also be encouraged to vote in the morning, if possible, as the number of voters and length of queues increased in the afternoon and evening. People must plan ahead and get to polling stations as early as possible.
Clarins Ng, Hang Hau
Many citizens realise voting is important
Voter turnout for Sunday’s Legco election was higher than in 2012 (“Record turnout for bitterly fought poll”, September 5). This showed that more citizens want to fight for Hong Kong’s future.
I am a school student and so I did not have a vote, but I believe the election was important, because citizens were choosing their lawmakers. They also want to be able to choose the next chief executive under “one person, one vote”.
People were so keen to vote that even though polling stations closed at 10.30pm, some queues were so long that voting did not end until the early hours of Monday morning.
Perhaps there were not enough polling stations, but I think it was just the fact that more Hongkongers were determined to exercise their right to vote and were willing to wait in long queues so they could choose their candidate.
It is the civic duty of all Hong Kong citizens to do so. Anyone who cares about the future of this city should vote.
I disagree with those citizens who say it is pointless and won’t make a difference.
As I said, I could not vote, but we held a mock election in our school before Sunday’s Legco vote.
Jocelly Tse, Tseung Kwan O
Muslims resist greater degree of integration
While banning the burqini may not be tenable, the French impatience with encroaching Muslim identity, which is indeed shared by people in many European countries, deserves more understanding.
It is a fact that people in the West do not want to live in a Muslim country.
Equally, millions of Muslims do not wish to live in a Muslim country but instead have chosen to come to the West. Unfortunately, instead of blending into Western societies, generation after generation, they stick to a literal interpretation of their troubled religion.
An enlightened version of Islam is not on the horizon and puritanism is on the rise.
Most burqini wearers are second or third generation young women born and raised in the West. It would be foolish not to be weary.
Josephine Bersee, Mid-Levels
Crackdown on illegal firms fully justified
I am concerned about businesses that operate illegally in industrial buildings in Hong Kong.
They contravene land lease terms, but remain open for business. Although the Lands Department has taken enforcement action, not all of these operators have shut down (“Businesses continue to violate conditions”, August 30).
I appreciate that the government is taking measures to try and prevent a repeat of the Ngau Tau Kok fire tragedy and it is important for it to do so. However, I think it needs to speed up its procedures.
Some of these buildings house unauthorised businesses, such as restaurants and entertainment venues, that could pose a fire safety risk.
As we know so well, an accident inside an industrial building can have tragic consequences.
Kenny Wong, Tseung Kwan O