Letters to the Editor, May 12, 2017

PUBLISHED : Friday, 12 May, 2017, 4:25pm
UPDATED : Friday, 12 May, 2017, 4:25pm

Taking wrong approach to missile system

The US’ newest missile defence system has really got the ­Chinese government riled.

Beijing sees the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system as a threat to national sovereignty and a direct path to instability in the region. So what is its response? More weapons, according to the report “Beijing promises military solution to US missile shield”, (April 28). It is this type of reasoning that makes defence systems necessary in the first place.

The purpose of deploying the system in South Korea is to safeguard the country from attacks. It isn’t meant to bolster Seoul’s missile arsenal, as it is not an offensive system. The projectiles are designed specifically for defensive purposes. The ruffling of feathers comes from the increased visibility that the missile system’s radar guidance allows. China is afraid that Korea will have a much better view of the peninsula than it does now and will extend further into the South Pacific and cover areas of the shoreline of mainland China.

So the response is to do a live test of weaponry that is being stated as specifically designed to take out THAAD or nullify its ability to function. So again, the question is, why. Unless you want the South Korean peninsula to be vulnerable to attacks from the unstable country to its north, why would you want to destroy a “shield”? It’s not like you are safeguarding your own country any more; you are literally just ensuring that you can remove the safeguards from ­another weaker one.

America is no innocent partner in this either. It knows that, by egging on the most powerful country in the region, it can attempt to destabilise China’s financial grip on Asia. It is pitting countries against each other as well for its own personal gain and spreading its influence in the region.

This attitude of militarisation is exactly what is getting the world in trouble. If China really wanted to solve this problem, it would do more to make sure its North Korean ally was a toothless cobra. Instead, it needs to flex its military muscle to show North Korea that if things go down, then it has Pyongyang’s back. Someone needs to be the bigger country in this instance and sadly no one is stepping up.

Ray Patton, Wong Tai Sin

North Korea is responsible for this crisis

Because of South Korea’s decision to deploy a US-developed anti-missile system to counter the threat of North Korea’s ­nuclear weapons programme, it has been subject to various ­­[de facto] boycotts by China.

For example, some K-pop concerts on the mainland were cancelled and Chinese consumers have refused to purchase South Korean products and fewer have gone on excursions to popular tourist destinations in Korea such as Jeju.

This whole crisis has been caused by North Korea. If it had stopped its dangerous policies and tried to seek dialogue, we would not be facing this crisis.

Beijing’s response to the ­deployment of the US missile defence system has been a bit over the top. Most people want to see a peaceful solution and I hope one can be found and that ­Chinese tourists will soon be ­returning to South Korea.

Tiffany Leung Wing-tung, Kowloon Tong

Higher wage will make a real difference

I do not agree with Joyce Chang that the statutory minimum wage rise (from HK$32.50 to HK$34.50) will not improve ­people’s living standards (“New minimum wage rate not helping people”, May 8).

Vulnerable workers fearing job losses will often have to take a wage cut, but with this legislation, they are guaranteed this hourly amount.

A higher minimum wage will help to narrow the wealth gap in Hong Kong. With more money, workers on low incomes can meet basic needs and provide more for their children. If these children do not have to go ­without, they have a better chance of doing well in their studies.

As people on the minimum wage will have higher spending power, they will purchase more commodities and this can help the economy. Of course, there is a downside, but it is outweighed by the advantages.

Cherry Yeung Chin-wai, Tseung Kwan O

Education best way to cut waste volume

I do not think there will be a substantial reduction in the volume of municipal waste when the government’s proposed waste charge is introduced.

People on middle and high incomes will find the charges low so there is no financial ­incentive for them to reduce household refuse. This charge places emphasis on “reduce”, but Hongkongers have a poor grasp of the three Rs, which in addition to reduce include reuse and recycle. Only with better education can we see greater environmental awareness and a change of attitude.

Only when the public is well-educated and recognises the ­importance of wasting less will we see a reduction in the volume of rubbish.

For instance, a waste charging trial at La Salle College, where the students do their own recycling, can help make them more aware and hopefully, as they grow older, they will adopt a greener way of life and recycle and reuse.

I am worried about the effect on low-income families who will struggle to pay the levy. Also, restaurants will transfer the extra costs to customers.

Chan King-yi, Yau Yat Chuen

Turn excess food into healthy meals

Your article on how surplus food could be turned into meals, ­instead of being discarded, illustrated how it is possible to cut volumes of food waste (“The Hong Kong chef who turns waste food into fine-dining feast, and others finding uses for unwanted food items”, April 27).

It described various tips for reducing waste and recounted how food donated by the ­kitchens of the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong to the charity Foodlink Foundation were turned into a seven-course meal.

An average of 0.5kg of food is wasted per person per day in Hong Kong. So, 3,300 tonnes of food is tipped into our landfills every day. This cannot continue as the landfills are nearing ­capacity.

What the Hyatt did illustrates what is possible.

The government should be encouraging restaurants in Hong Kong to cooperate with ­local food charities and donate their unused food that is still okay to eat so that meals can be made for the ­people in need that the charities help.

If this happens with eateries throughout the city, I think we will see volumes of food waste reduced.

Theodore Tam, Po Lam

When offering a helping hand is misguided

People with disabilities are confronted with different problems in their daily lives, but they still face these problems bravely as they seek to integrate into ­society. The biggest problem they face is the attitude of other citizens.

Often people want to take the initiative and lend a helping hand to a person with a disability, but this can impose a heavy psychological burden on that ­individual who wants to lead a normal life and be treated like any other citizen.

If others are always trying to help even if it has not been asked for, that integration into society will be made more difficult as people are being constantly ­reminded of their disability.

Other citizens must respect the wishes of the disabled and treat them as ordinary people.

Victoria So Wan-tung, Tsuen Wan