Letters to the Editor, December 13, 2016

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 13 December, 2016, 4:25pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 13 December, 2016, 4:25pm

Undesirable visitors should be denied entry

There is no doubt that Hong Kong’s face is ever-changing.

These days you see Western musicians and artisans plying their trade on Hong Kong’s ­narrow and busy streets. Some have bold-print messages for bemused passers-by, “I NEED MONEY TO TRAVEL”.

Chinese mainlanders ­looking for a penny or two arrive in wheelchairs, chanting. Some are even decked out in colourful organza frocks, belting out songs at annoyingly high ­decibels along walkways.

On Sundays, along Garden Road you see Western and ­Chinese visitors touting fakes of famous brands, from clothes to bags, to the throng of church-going maids eager to snap up a bargain or two.

I am very curious how all these people manage to enter Hong Kong. In Canada, when you enter the country you must supply valid addresses and telephone numbers which can be verified.

Anyone with dubious information is banned from entering the country.

I know we want to make visitors feel welcome and Hong Kong is a world city, but should we not be a little more selective? After all shops are paying exorbitant rents to be in business and competition is tough. Indeed the cheese is getting smaller.

Edith Fung, Mid-Levels

Right way for Singapore to ease tension

Hong Kong, like Singapore, is committed to the rule of law. Unless John Chan believes otherwise, he can be sure that if ­Singapore’s armoured troop carriers were seized this was done not because of chauvinism (“Chauvinistic attitudes are not helpful”, December 3) but under the relevant sections of Hong Kong’s laws.

The smart move for China is of course to return these vehicles to Singapore as quickly as ­possible. This would not go ­unappreciated by Singapore.

The criticism by the US of China’s reclamation in the Spratly Islands, but silence on Vietnam’s recent expansion of its runway in the Spratlys and on Japan’s massive claims around the tiny Okinotori atoll in the Pacific, are simply double standards.

To allay China’s perception or mis-perception of Singapore’s stance on the South China Sea disputes, the smart move for Singapore would be to insist on not just the rule of law, but on the rule of one set of laws for everyone and to speak out without fear on double ­standards. I believe China would ­appreciate such a move.

Better still, Singapore should use its special ties with Japan, a country which constantly tries to present itself as a champion of the rule of law, to openly urge Japan to rescind its Okinotori claims and dismantle its illegal constructions around the atoll, to set a personal example of ­adherence to the rule of law.

W. L. Chang, Discovery Bay

Tourists and locals will love food bazaars

I fully support the proposal, put forward by an alliance of food hawkers, for the government to set up 10 food bazaars in five ­districts of Hong Kong during the Lunar New Year.

Granting hawkers temporary licences and having them gather together at 10 designated ­locations is better than having them sell food illegally in areas where there are no controls.

These 10 bazaars can be well-coordinated and monitored by officers from the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department.

Something that is well-organised with good ­facilities will be more likely to ­attract locals and tourists keen to eat hawker food ­during the Lunar New Year ­festivities.

It also makes more sense to have a number of locations, rather than the original proposal for just one government-approved bazaar. That would have led to a massive influx of people into a single area.

However, there is the possibility of nearby residents being disturbed by these bazaars if they are close to residential buildings. So there will have to be discussions about operating hours and various parties must be consulted.

In the long run, the government should review the current policy on licensing hawkers to provide some flexibility so they can operate during holidays and festivals like Lunar New Year.

Also, district councils should keep an open mind when it comes to hawkers.

Candy Kong Lok-son, Tseung Kwan O

Schools are undermining TSA’s aims

The annual Territory-wide ­System Assessment (TSA) for students in Primary Three and Six, as well as Secondary Three, was launched in 2004.

Its aim is to facilitate the learning and teaching process, and it evaluates the average ­learning standard of students in Chinese language, English ­language and mathematics.

In recent years, many ­parents have expressed anger over the TSA, because they ­believe it has put their children under extreme pressure.

This is because they are forced to prepare for the exam through an exhausting schedule. Therefore, the parents argue that it should be cancelled so that their sons and daughters can enjoy their childhood.

However, it needs to be pointed out that it is the schools that are responsible for ­imposing this punishing ­schedule.

Students are subjected to drilling with past TSA papers and so they have to deal with a lot of questions for their ­homework.

Because it is a test of learning standards, I do not think the TSA should be cancelled. But it has to be recognised that it is the schools that are undermining the real aim of the TSA and ­causing problems for pupils.

Shirley Yeung Suet-yi, Yau Yat Chuen

Turf testing highlights bad air problems

I refer to the report (“Air pollution likely cause of problem turf, expert says”, December 9) about English Schools Foundation sports pitches being closed for testing.

Even if the tests eventually show that air pollution was not a factor, the issue highlights this growing problem in Hong Kong.

Our bad air can cause a ­number of problems, including respiratory ailments. Moreover, it creates acid rain and ­contributes to global ­warming.

We all need to be more aware of how serious air pollution has become and do what we can as individuals to help improve the situation in Hong Kong.

For example, people with cars should try wherever ­possible to take public transport. We can make a difference if we all try to play a part.

Aileen Lau Wing-chin, Sham Shui Po

Pension for all would work in the long run

I would be opposed to a ­retirement protection scheme being introduced which ­resulted in the payment of a pension (of thousands of dollars a month) ­without a means test, to all citizens, irrespective of their assets.

As Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor pointed out when opposing such a ­proposal, how would people feel if she received this universal pension? And the same argument applies to tycoons like Li Ka-shing.

Paying for such a scheme would place too great a financial burden on the city’s shrinking workforce, and so it makes no sense, especially as we have an ageing population.

Taxpayers would face a huge bill and the government could not afford to finance such a scheme.

Woo Cheuk-yi, Yau Yat Chuen