Letters to the Editor, February 8, 2017

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 08 February, 2017, 4:50pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 08 February, 2017, 4:50pm

Not enough role models for HK youngsters

Public figures can influence youngsters. They should be ­setting standards and acting as role models for the younger ­generation.

Some speeches made by political leaders and their spouses overseas and other ­celebrities are shared on social media; they are often reflective, educational and incisive.

This is not always the case in Hong Kong. Our politicians are often criticised for the decisions they make and the way they make them.

We have a new generation of politicians and they are trying to help the city enter a new phase. However, they will need to be given time to mature and prove their worth. Too often I feel that public speeches made in Hong Kong are full of blame-shifting and finger-pointing.

Young people will not learn everything they need to know from textbooks. Much of their knowledge will be acquired through everyday observations. Having adults sit down and tell them what is right and wrong will not work.

Adults from different walks of life – teachers, pop stars, politicians, parents and ordinary ­citizens – can lead by example.

We can demonstrate to the younger generation what is right through small acts of strength and courage.

There are not enough role models in our society for youngsters and in this regard we all have a part to play and should offer them guidance.

Eva Pang, Tseung Kwan O

Parents should be strict about smartphones

I agree with correspondents who have called for parents to be vigilant over how long their children spend on smartphones.

As a teenager, I browse on my smartphone every day. I know I could not finish my school work and my studies would be affected if I spent as much time on it as I would like to.

Parents need to be positive role models by being responsible phone users and doing what they expect their children to do when it comes to the time spent on smartphones.

They should set some rules about gadget use before buying a smartphone for their children who must then agree to stick to these rules. If they fail to do so, they must realise there will be ­consequences.

There could be conditions such as a time limit on daily phone use, no phones during meal times, and no phones at bedtime or during family gatherings. Establishing boundaries is one way to prevent youngsters ­becoming addicted to their smartphones.

Winnie Yeung, Tai Po

Bureaucrats undermined food trucks

Like Brian Heung, I too have been left wondering about the success or otherwise of our new food trucks (“Jury still out on new food truck scheme”, February 7).

Unlike the US food trucks, which presumably ­inspired ex-financial chief John Tsang Chun-wah, the Hong Kong government completely over-regulated the system and the trucks have to remain static.

As I recall, in the US trucks can find a legal parking spot and sell their produce from that ­chosen site. This allows them to seek business opportunities, such as a sports event or an entertainment area during peak times, think Lan Kwai Fong.

This will give the public the full range of products on offer. The Rugby Sevens would be a gold mine for these trucks. So we have a good idea that has been fossilised by the dead hand of bureaucracy, I fear.

Then again, I guess no government employee has ever run a food truck.

Ian W. Johnston, Discovery Bay

Do not ignore non-Chinese academics

I agree with your editorial ­regarding the selection process for the next vice-chancellor of the University of Hong Kong ­(“Merit should drive search for new HKU chief”, February 4).

Rising nationalistic sentiment can take the place of inclusiveness, diversity and even, perhaps, common sense.

Now, more than ever, it is ­important to stress that the post of university chief is not a ­vacancy open exclusively to ­ethnic Chinese.

Over the years, even after the handover, we have had non-Chinese academics such as HKU vice-chancellor Peter Mathieson lead local ­universities.

The very fact that these ­positions can be filled by non-Chinese shows that Hong Kong remains proudly committed to the openness that underpins our prosperity and that keeps us competitive.

Let us not forget that Hong Kong was one of the early ­signatories to the World Trade Organisation that paved the way for a freer flow of goods, services and, above all, opportunities, around the world.

Therefore, it is not only in the university’s interest, but also in Hong Kong’s interest, that all candidates for the position should have a fair hearing.

Let the world know, even as it looks inward, that Hong Kong remains a champion of globalisation and is committed to ­making the world competitive.

Leung Ka-kit, Yau Tsim Mong

Thatcher was praised by rivals as well

Keith McNab (“City does not need divisive Thatcher clone”, February 3) says that my “outlandish statement” in my letter (“Thatcher took a ­broken UK and fixed it”, January 20) ­“cannot go ­unanswered”. ­Neither can his inability to accept the reality of Margaret Thatcher.

She transformed Britain in a way few other prime ministers before or since have done. As an impatient reformer, she set about deconstructing Britain’s almost eastern European ­state-dominated ­economy.

Trades union barons were put to the sword, taxes cut and people empowered to own their own homes. It was a social revolution, the like of which has ­rarely been seen, and which ­endures to this day.

Instead of a brain drain, ­Britain got an influx of talent and money, drawn by our low-tax, high-enterprise economy.

Ex-deputy leader of the ­Labour Party, Roy Hattersley, described Thatcher as “one of the two greatest prime ministers of the 20th century”. Perhaps ­Thatcher’s greatest reform was the ­Labour Party where Tony Blair had to pay tribute to her legacy before the British ­people would elect him.

Politics is the ability to have views, hold to them and drive them through to success.

Should Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor or John Tsang Chun-wah have half of Thatcher’s skill, then Hong Kong will be ­resurgent.

Mark Peaker, The Peak

Get tough with producers of tainted food

Some underground factories on the mainland are reportedly using recycled spices and toxic industrial grade salt for products passed off as sauces and ­flavourings of well-known brands. There have been a number of tainted and fake food scandals north of the border lately, and action is needed.

These scandals put people’s health at risk, because of some of the ingredients. In this latest scandal, whistle-blowers say the factories are in a filthy condition and some of the ingredients used have cancer-causing agents. Citizens are ­losing faith in the mainland food manufacturing sector.

There must be much stricter enforcement by the central government and penalties for those found guilty of making tainted food must be made tougher to act as a deterrent. There should be much stiffer fines and longer periods of imprisonment.

There should also be tougher checks ­before a food production licence is issued to any factory, and these plants must be ­properly monitored.

Ng Tsz-ki, Kowloon Tong