Letters to the Editor, October 21, 2016

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 October, 2016, 4:59pm
UPDATED : Friday, 21 October, 2016, 4:59pm

Education and pollution levels still ail China

I refer to the letter from Yip Wing-tung, “China has made great advances, but still has a long way to go” (October 17).

I agree with the writer. First of all, pollution in China is still a big problem. Loose regulation of factories handling pollutants means harmful substances are released into the air or water. Contaminated water containing heavy metals may flow into the sea and rivers. This not only harms aquatic life but humans too, if they eat contaminated fish and seafood.

Secondly, in China, not every child has a chance to study, especially those in rural areas. It is often said that education can change a person’s life. But rural children with poor education levels find it difficult to find jobs in the city. Hence, they can only work as manual labour where the pay is low.

As they do not have much money, their children are perhaps also victims of the poverty trap, as education can be expensive. Thus poverty is passed from generation to generation.

Furthermore, the corruption of officials is still a major problem in China. Despite the anti-corruption campaign of President Xi Jinping ( 習近平 ), the problem has yet to be rooted out. Perhaps the central government should do more to deter officials who are inclined to corruption and change the work culture in China.

Vicky Chung, Sheung Shui

Oath rejection grounds need to be clearer

I refer to the article, “Legco president invalidates five lawmakers’ oaths, now including localist lecturer and pro-Beijing loyalist” (October 18). I disagree that Lau Siu-lai’s oath was invalid.

According to Rule No 1 of the Rules of Procedure of the Legislative Council and section 19 of the Oaths and Declarations Ordinance, there is no requirement on the time taken to read the oath. In addition, Legco secretary general Kenneth Chen Wei-on accepted Lau’s oath as valid last week.

The Chinese version of the oath for Legco members has 88 words. The English version has 77 words. I read the Chinese version in 23 seconds and the English version in 40 seconds.

A TVB anchorwoman is able to read 158 words in 15 seconds. If she is elected as a Legco member, she may read the oath in less than 10 seconds. Will her oath be accepted? What is the acceptable time for reading the oath?

I think the Legco president should reveal the laws that made him invalidate those lawmakers’ oaths. In addition, clear guidelines should be laid out for valid oath-taking.

Felix Mak, Kowloon Bay

Localist Legco pair must rethink actions

I am writing in response to your editorial, “There’s no place for immature antics among our lawmakers” (October 17).

I agree that Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching of Youngspiration should apologise for saying “Cheena” instead of China when they were being sworn into the Legislative Council.

Leung blamed his Ap Lei Chau accent. Perhaps he thinks it is funny, but I have to point out that this kind of action is definitely intolerable and should be condemned.

It is alright if he does not like China, but every country needs to be respected. As an adult who has received a high level of education, I think he can understand that it is basic courtesy to do so, especially as he was taking oath as a Legco member. This shows him in poor light.

Yau even used a four-letter word to replace the word “Republic” in the oath. I believe Legco is a serious place where words like that should neither be spoken nor heard.

Besides, “Cheena”, as used by Japanese soldiers during their occupation of China, reminds the older generation of their misfortune and humiliation at the hands of the Japanese.

I hope the two can rethink their actions, and take a more meaningful approach to carrying out their responsibilities as Legco members.

Zoe Liu Sze-yui, Kwai Chung

Fight against Zika cannot be taken lightly

I refer to the report, “Zika virus will die down, but brace for second wave in a decade or so, doctor say” (September 3).

The virus is still a threat to Hong Kong. As we know, Zika can lead to symptoms such as mild fever, skin rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pains, malaise or headache. It is also related to the Guillain-Barre syndrome. Although Zika can be identified through certain tests, the symptoms are so similar to dengue that most people may mistake it for Zika.

To prevent confusion, and any consequent rumours and panic, the government must take preventative action.

Destroying mosquito breeding sites and heavy-duty fogging may contain the virus, but these are not long-term solutions.

I would suggest eliminating the mosquitoes with biological control methods, as that would be more effective. Using effective species to eliminate mosquitoes, like the mosquitofish or dragonflies, would control the population of the insect. I advise using local species of dragonflies found near reservoirs.

But for urban areas, we cannot use biological methods, as there is no habitat for the insects. So citizens may need to be aware of potential mosquito breeding sites around them. Even a bucket or a puddle of water can be one. The Food and Environmental Hygiene and Health departments should also be more vigilant.

Angus Lee, Tsuen Wan

Mental health support in city requires boost

I refer to the article, “Hong Kong ranks 7th in mental health study, scoring lower than its Asian neighbours” (October 11).

The Economist Intelligence Unit report says Hong Kong lacks a “formal and overarching mental health policy”, with human rights among weak areas in governance.

I feel the main cause for ­mental illness in Hong Kong is the extremely long working hours. A survey by UBS showed Hong Kong employees worked 50.1 hours per week, the longest out of 71 cities worldwide.

The Hong Kong government thus has a responsibility to legislate a limit on working hours to relieve this problem, so that workers can achieve better work-life balance.

Recently, news broke about a 48-year-old mentally disabled man who failed to realise his 77-year-old mother had died, and lived with the body for almost a week until the neighbours discovered what had happened.

Such incidents only highlight the need for more government resources to be allocated to mental health support.

Kate Leung, Kwai Chung

Dylan deserves his Nobel Prize for literature

I would like to take issue with both Alex Lo, (“The Nobel literature going to Bob Dylan? You can’t be serious ”, October 17) and the editorial, “Awarding Bob Dylan the Nobel Prize for literature a stretch of the imagination” (October 18).

Both related to the worthiness of Dylan being awarded the prize for “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”.

Dylan is not and never has been an “American pop star” and he is certainly not “the odd one out” among previous winners. His form of writing is full of depth, embracing imagination, wit, story-telling and consciousness, and tells of inequality, pain, sorrow, love and joy.

This is a brilliant accolade and very, very well deserved, and I am thrilled for him and the creativeness and recognition of the Nobel committee.

Anthony Kirk-Duncan, Lai Chi Kok