Letters to the Editor, April 8, 2017

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 08 April, 2017, 11:15am
UPDATED : Saturday, 08 April, 2017, 11:15am

Vote fraud case highlights need for crackdown

I refer to your report on electoral fraud, “Anti-graft body arrests 72 people over alleged IT sector vote-rigging”, April 4.

I cannot believe that some of the suspects are accused of ­accepting several hundred to HK$1,000 in last year’s Legislative Council polls, as it is not much money in Hong Kong.

Even if a large bribe is offered, of course voters should not accept it. But with only a few hundred, they were convinced to offend? It certainly undermines the reputation of the Legislative Council.

In my opinion, the government should strengthen the consequences of committing crimes related to fraud, and so deter citizens from being tempted to accept bribes.

Hong Kong ranked 15th in the global Corruption Perceptions Index in 2016, which shows citizens are not very aware of the significance of being incorruptible.

There should be more publicity about the importance of having fair elections and educating future generations through workshops, as well as making it compulsory in General Studies.

But, undeniably, if we have elections by universal suffrage, it ensures polls are more transparent and fair to all candidates.

I hope there will be universal suffrage in Hong Kong.

Sara Wong, Po Lam

Choking air often a sign of worse to come

I refer to your report on air pollution data in the mainland (“Thousands of polluters in northern China fake emissions data, resist checks”, March 31).

Burning fossil fuels such as coal is a major contributor to air pollution, and the resulting greenhouse gases are speeding up global warming.

The government must take urgent action to protect citizens.

The chemical reactions of pollutants in the air, including photochemical smog, are damaging health and reducing life expectancy in many cities.

An increasing incidence of cancer and other diseases can be attributed to pollution, and children and the elderly are especially vulnerable.

Reducing damaging emissions has to be a government priority.

Speeding up reform of the energy policy, with a shift away from reliance on fossil fuels to more emphasis on clean and green power sources, such as solar and wind, is a basic starting point.

Effective control of vehicular emissions is within the government’s power, and it should also plant more trees and prevent ­deforestation to counter the greenhouse effect.

Winnie Chen, Tseung Kwan O

Outrage over Disney film is unjustified

I am writing in response to ­recent reports regarding opposition to the movie Beauty and the Beast (“Beauty and the Beast’ features Disney’s first openly gay character, but not everyone is pleased”, March 2).

The movie broke box office records when it opened (“Live-action Beauty and the Beast has record-breaking opening weekend, taking US$350 million worldwide”, March 20) and has become a hit with audiences around the world.

However, a so-called gay scene has stirred up controversy and calls for boycotts in some countries, including Singapore and Malaysia, where homosexuality is still widely regarded as taboo.

Some groups in Hong Kong also protested against the scenes in which one of the characters struggles with his feelings for another, and asked that ­parents not take their children to see it. The scene could be cut or the movie perhaps be re-rated if it offends some people, but it shouldn’t be boycotted.

Actually, I don’t think Disney should have added a gay theme. Most of the audience of Disney movies are children, who are yet to become aware of the ways of the world. I don’t think children should be put in touch with the issue of homosexuality at this early stage in life.

As they grow older they will become more worldly and reach their own conclusions and ­moral judgments.

Moreover, the gay scene does not play an integral role in the movie; it seems to be unnecessary detour from the main plot and I am really confused as to why Disney chose to add it.

To me, Disney movies are not like any other movies. They are full of wonder and make-believe; adding social issues is not necessary and risks detracting from the main purpose of bringing a joyful and hopeful experience to the audience. On the other hand, it is not obvious that the movie refers to the concept of homosexuality.

I have seen the movie with my classmates but none of us can clearly point out where the gay scene is. Even though we knew it about it, we couldn’t spot it, as the message is well hidden.

So I really wonder why there needs to be so much adverse reaction to it and calls for bans.

The controversy over the issue of homosexuality shouldn’t stop people from watching such a great film.

Cherry Sung, Yau Yat Chuen

Keep our alleys clean or risk rat health threat

I would be very surprised if you tell me you’ve never heard about Black Death – among the worst killer plagues in history.

In fact, the catastrophe ­emanating from some super rats’ fleas have taken a heavy toll in many areas in Eurasia and claimed tens of millions of lives.

I risk being labelled paranoid or a scaremonger if I juxtapose the few incidents of rodent attacks or sightings in Hong Kong to the infamous Black Death, but some gigantic rats – some even comparable in size with cats – have been seen in the back alleys behind a few eateries (“How Hong Kong deals with gutter rats, but not the utter rats running the city”, January 7).

Just two years ago, a viral photo of a tiny mouse scampering near cooked meals at an ­upmarket chain triggered ­concerns about hygiene and food safety in the city’s grocery stores.

The scary appearance of rats can leave indelible images on people’s minds. Worse, there is always the possibility of spreading disease and that’s a potentially serious issue.

As responsible citizens, we should be more concerned with environmental hygiene and keep our city clean. More importantly, restaurant owners and workers should always keep their workplaces, back alleys included, as clean as they can make them.

Randy Lee, Ma On Shan

Give us more British TV programmes

There are now some good quality programmes on Hong Kong television, but not enough.

Coming from England, I do miss some of the better British productions and wonder why in our city there seems to be an over emphasis on American television . Hong Kong was, after all, a British colony, not an American one.

British soaps, dramas, films and cooking programmes could help more people to learn British English, not just be inundated with programmes with American voices. I hope to see more British content on mainstream television in Hong Kong.

Kai Tang, Ma On Shan