Libyans can learn lessons from 1911
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the start of the Xinhai revolution in China, which overthrew the country's last imperial dynasty, the Qing, and eventually led to the founding of the Republic of China in 1912. The anniversary is of great historical, cultural and political significance to all Chinese on both sides of the strait.
The 1911 revolution is often portrayed as an age of modernism, democratic and liberal ideas that triumphed over dictatorship, conservatism and decay. However 1911 also marks the beginning of 60 plus years of chaos in China, that created a political and social vacuum that proved to be a shoe too big to fill by the weak and divided Sun Yat-sen-led republic government.
This marked the beginning of the age of warlords that created a weak and divided China that allowed numerous foreign interventions that did not end until the establishment of the People's Republic and a prosperous China did not arrive until in the beginning of the 21st century.
Like China 100 years year ago, the people of Libya embarked on a heroic push to topple a dictator and overcome conservatism and an age of decay. Muammar Gaddafi is finally dead but the brave new world that Libyans long for may be a world away. The main thing the groups in the revolutionary alliance had in common was a desire to topple Gaddafi. Libya is still essentially a feudal society, divided by ethnic and tribal loyalties.
Without a strong leader who can suppress these divisions, the country may descend into an age of chaos with tribes trying to outmanoeuvre each other in an effort to be the new top dog.
Having invested in the downfall of Gaddafi, Britain, France and Italy are all looking for payback, so an independent Libya free from foreign intervention does not look too promising.
The 2011 scenario in Libya is ominously similar to that of China in 1911, two revolutions albeit 100 years apart. History has a habit of repeating itself. It took the Chinese nearly a century to recover from the chaos, I hope that Libyans can learn from this period of Chinese history and avoid treading the same dead-end path.
Li Jianxi, Yau Yat Chuen
Deal with crisis in moral code
There is growing concern about mainlanders following the death of the two-year-old girl from Foshan who was ignored by passers-by after being run over by two vans.
This tragedy sparked a public outcry. It is ironic that China is making great strides in the area of economic development but at the same time there is a crisis with the nation's moral values.
That so many passers-by did not help the badly-injured child reveals a moral code that appears to be damaged. It appears they were worried about a common fraud where con artists try to get compensation from anyone offering to help someone who has been hurt.
But also there seemed to be a lack of concern about the life of another human being. What shocked me was that there did not appear to be any feelings of guilt on the part of these people.
I think it is only possible to change mainland citizens and instil the correct values through education and emphasis should be placed on the younger generation. The government must put a great deal of effort into such an education campaign.
Katrina Lee, Hung Hom
We should try to be positive
Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen was criticised for a policy address that was too little too late and that was largely ineffective.
I appreciate that some policies were short on detail. However, I think Mr Tsang pointed out areas that the government should focus on in order to deal with social problems such as the wealth gap and social welfare.
I think we need to look at this in a positive light.
A failure in any measures outlined, gives one an opportunity to begin again and try not to repeat past mistakes. It also allows citizens to come up with fresh ideas and new solutions.
If errors have been made our next chief executive can rectify them.
What is crucial in any society is that there should be co-operation between the government and citizens.
Successful two-way communication is a means of avoiding misunderstandings and conflicts. Instead of complaining all the time we should work together to deal with the problems in our city.
Ashley Leung, Kwun Tong
No watering down of HK$2 fare
I read with great interest the article by Secretary for Labour and Welfare Matthew Cheung Kin-chung ('Making HK a community in which to age gracefully', October 24).
I very much appreciate the chief executive's social welfare-oriented approach, particularly towards the weaker sections of society.
I welcome the policy initiative which will grant a concessionary fare of HK$2 [on the MTR, franchised buses and ferries] to the elderly and disabled. Once implemented, it will be of immense benefit to a large number of senior citizens and disabled persons as it will reduce their transportation costs.
As for the question of whether the concerned transport operators should bear this extra financial burden or the government should compensate them for loss of revenue, it is not a big deal. It is a matter that can be settled through discussions between the two parties.
It is true that at this early stage, it may be very difficult to accurately estimate the cost of providing such a concession. But in spite of the uncertainty regarding total additional cost, and irrespective of who bears this extra burden, this progressive scheme, in my opinion, must be implemented in toto.
There is no point in debating now whether it is affordable. This measure is in line with the government's long-term policy of providing appropriate social benefits to its citizens and so it requires speedy implementation. This would indeed be another feather in the cap of the Hong Kong government.
B. K. Avasthi, Discovery Bay
In praise of Tsang for a job well done
Although the chief executive came in for criticism over his final policy address, I welcome the decision to allow the old-age allowance to be made available to Hongkongers who decide to retire in Guangdong.
This will relieve the financial pressure on those elderly citizens living over the border.
It is important because inflation is also a serious problem on the mainland.
I am also in favour of the HK$2 fare on public transport for the elderly and disabled.
These policies are a way of showing our respect for the elderly and I do not know what is wrong with that.
Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen has been criticised for failing to reduce the wealth gap, but this is a big problem and it cannot be solved immediately. I think he has introduced a number of measures to deal with it, such as helping low-income students buy textbooks and launching the Community Care Fund.
The government deserves to be criticised for failing to deal with soaring house prices, but Mr Tsang's plan to build more affordable housing is better late than never.
No one is perfect and mistakes are made. However, I believe we should thank Mr Tsang for the contribution he has made to Hong Kong over the years.
Ceci Lam Wing-sze, Tsuen Wan
Price hike by PCCW is wrong
I live in Lam Tsuen, an area that is serviced only by PCCW Netvigator, which means I have no choice but to use it as no other internet service providers operate here.
That also means I am stuck with slow connection speeds, while companies like Hong Kong Broadband Network (HKBN) offer a much faster Internet service.
I take issue with the Consumer Council's comment that consumers 'had the freedom to choose services' ('PCCW dials up rage with broadband price increase', October 22).
Those in remote areas have no freedom to choose whatsoever. However, the council is right in saying, 'Service providers would fail in their social responsibility if they imposed a fare hike on consumers left without a choice.'
Therefore PCCW should not impose a rate hike unless it is willing to provide the infrastructure for faster connectivity as well.
In the meantime, I implore HKBN to consider installing lines to the Lam Tsuen valley. There are more than enough people willing to switch if offered the choice.
Randall van der Woning, Tai PoTopics: Donald Tsang Donald Tsang Pacific Century Group MTR PCCW Libya