Tsang's acts don't deserve compassion
As Donald Tsang's term comes to an end on July 1, we are asked by Sister Margaret Fung Sui-fun to show some compassion for him ('Show some compassion to Tsang', June 13).
The question is, why?
He entered the civil service, presumably because it offered a well-paid, secure career. He progressed through the civil service and eventually got the chief executive's job by default.
A successful career without doubt, but the service was not to Hong Kong. He served whoever was his master at any given time, be it the British administration before July 1, 1997, or Beijing afterwards, and was well rewarded for it.
We may never know if his errors in judgment were the result of greed or naivety. Neither one is a good trait to have in a leading public official.
If anybody deserves Hong Kong's compassion, it surely must be the first chief executive, the hapless Tung Chee-wah, who was faced, during his term in office from the handover to March 2005, with the bursting of the property bubble, the East Asian financial crisis, the bursting of the dotcom bubble and then, finally, the severe acute respiratory syndrome outbreak.
Tsang had no crises to deal with on that scale. Apart from the Lehman Brothers crash of 2008, he did not have to manage any crisis. His handling of the Lehman minibond scandal was driven, at the end of the day, by public opinion. He was not a real leader on that or any other issue.
His ineffectual leadership and his perceived courting of the property tycoons are not deserving of compassion.
Michael Jenkins, Central
Aggressive touts should be banned
I have been a visitor to Hong Kong for four decades and I am very fond of it, watching its development with interest. However, there is one thing which is very annoying and I think should be banned, and that is the touts who pester tourists about tailors and copy watches.
Only recently, I had just arrived and was still carrying my bags when I was accosted by one, even though I was obviously not going to start buying anything. I told him to go away. He spat on the ground at my feet, and then a companion of his started to abuse me with the most obscene language. He was young enough to be my grandson.
It is high time to clear the streets of these nuisances. I reported the incident to a group of police who were standing about 100 metres away, but I do not know whether they did anything about it.
I suggest that the companies that use these people be fined heavily, perhaps a week's profits, for the first offence. The touts should be given a few days in jail. I expect some will say one should just ignore them, but that is not the point. They will never stop annoying people unless they are punished.
W.A. Carr, Turku, Finland
Teach public proper use of recycle bins
There have been complaints that there are not enough recycling bins in Hong Kong and that many of those already on our streets are in a filthy state, which puts people off using them.
The bins also contain non- recyclable refuse, which means the contents often end up going to a landfill anyway.
The government's priority should be to make the bins clean. In Taiwan and Seoul, South Korea, there are transparent recycling bins. This provides a cleaner image and helps to raise awareness about the importance of recycling. It sends a strong message to the public.
Hongkongers have to realise there is more they can do to protect the environment, such as reducing the use of tissues, reusing clean plastic bags, and recycling their old computers to charities. We could also use fans more than air conditioners. However, it seems so many people have forgotten the four R's - reduce, reuse, recycle and replace.
Donna Mak, Lam Tin
Introduce tobacco-free HK in phases
In a world of growing complexities, arguments and counter-arguments, one can debate about a person's right to smoke in public. There is overwhelming evidence of health hazards - heart attack, stroke, cancer, just to name a few - associated with direct smoking as well as passive, or second-hand, smoking.
Despite these harmful effects, society must also balance the interests of smokers, non-smokers and the tobacco industry. Smokers have the right to smoke as long as this does not impose a health risk to people around them. Tobacco companies have a duty to highlight the harmful effects of their products.
It is possible for the government to implement such a policy, in stages, starting perhaps in the tourist districts, or in piecemeal fashion. Special zones will need to be made available for smokers, with suitable law reinforcement outside these zones to safeguard the rights and health of others. This ban will send a clear message to both smokers and non-smokers about their rights and responsibilities. Having a tobacco-free city will raise Hong Kong's status internationally about our health values and commitment.
Dr Peter Wong Sze-chai, Kowloon
People get governments they deserve
Cynthia Sze seems to have a real bee in her bonnet when it comes to the British. I suppose the answer to Cynthia's letter ('Chinese are not obliged to salute jubilee', June 14) is, according to legend, 'You get the government you deserve'.
While the British and Queen Elizabeth are having a jolly good time, you can perhaps reflect on your own new, non-colonial, for- Chinese-people-only government - one which locks away blind people in their own homes for years or hangs disabled people from hospital window ledges and then tries to palm it off as suicide. Oh, and an incoming chief executive with nothing to say.
David Howarth, Kennedy Town
Cut medical waiting times for elderly
It is gratifying that the incoming chief executive has mentioned care for the elderly as one of his priorities. I would therefore like to point out there is often a very long waiting period in public hospitals for obtaining appointments with doctors, and the same is true for getting major diagnostic tests and other investigations done.
Any delay in diagnosis and treatment may aggravate the disease, particularly in older patients. I therefore suggest that when such appointments are requested, hospital regulations should give priority to aged patients to curtail their waiting periods. This would considerably ease their hardship and provide much-needed relief.
Dr B.K.Avasthi, Discovery Bay
Environment is everyone's responsibility
Thomas Ho wrote about a low-carbon economic plan last week ('Green fingers', June 8). I think it is a brilliant idea. I have to agree with Ho that the motivation of low-carbon development should start from the Hong Kong government.
However, living in Hong Kong, I believe everyone needs to take some responsibility for climate change. There are many debates about who is to blame.
One argument is that wealthier people in industrialised countries have generated most of the emissions that have been disrupting the climate. People in low-income and working-class communities have contributed the least to climate change.
So, it is the social responsibility of the wealthy industrialised nations to reduce carbon pollution.
As a matter of justice, I believe that we all have a moral obligation to reduce our carbon footprint.
The earth, to me, has an intrinsic value. We all have some duty to protect and respect it. Our obligations are the same, regardless of our background. We all have a duty to protect human life and not to inflict suffering on future generations.
The aim of low-carbon economy proposed by the Hong Kong government, in fact, is one way to prevent our future generations suffering. It indeed provides us with a good guideline, but that is not enough. The development of low-carbon economy also depends upon educating people.
To this end, the government should provide proper resources to the public. Through science-backed education, we can teach people to understand how a low-carbon economy can improve our quality of life.
These are the key factors for developing a healthy society and economy.
Tony Yeung, Shau Kei Wan