Letters to the Editor, April 25, 2015
Unfair to demand Arthur Li quit
I read the news that four in five University of Hong Kong staff members want Arthur Li Kwok-cheung to quit the University of Hong Kong council "Arthur Li faces calls to quit HKU council", April 23) and find it most disturbing that Hong Kong has become a society in which people who speak the truth are rejected and persecuted.
More so that this should occur in a top academic institution. Instead of doing some soul-searching, the staff, without a moment's hesitation, want blood from Professor Li for speaking the truth.
I salute Professor Li for having the courage to be the lone voice of sanity and to have the best intention in the world to restore the fading glory of the University of the Hong Kong.
Simon Yau, Kowloon City
Changes in climate won't be impact-free
I am not sure if your correspondent Viv Forbes is half-serious about the views expressed in the letter "The earth is on a climate see-saw" (April 4).
True, the Earth's climate system has seen some major mood swings between hot and cold phases in the history of the planet due to natural variability. But to think that the human race can keep pumping greenhouse gases to keep the Earth warm by burning fossil fuel forever is both dangerous and naïve to the extreme.
Observations have shown that the world is moving along the trajectory of a high greenhouse gas concentration scenario. That means, if greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated, global average temperature is expected to increase by 4 degrees Celsius by the end of this century. While there are still studies and debates as to what this means in terms of human civilisation development, we can be sure that it is unlikely to be impact-free.
The threat of heat waves will only grow under global warming. After the casualties caused by the European heatwave in 2003, human vulnerability to anomalously high temperatures is evident. Food security in a warming climate is another concern, with the production of major crops in tropical and temperate regions expected to decrease if temperatures rise by 2 degrees or more. Do we really want to subject our future generations to such risks and uncertainties?
Despite the advance of technology, men have never been able to control Mother Nature and its climate. And like it or not, it is unlikely we ever will.
In a see-saw situation as described by Viv Forbes, it is even more important that we should act responsibly to avoid upsetting the present-day equilibrium beyond the tipping point, leading to consequences that we could scarcely afford.
Lee Sai Ming, senior scientific officer, Hong Kong Observatory
Ensure TV subtitles are readable
I refer to Piers Bennett's complaint about Now TV and its limited broadcast of the HBO series Game of Thrones ("Now TV kills the thrills of drama series", April 18).
I agree that such censorship ruins an award-winning TV series, hence I, too, have resorted to other means of watching it. I wish to mention another issue about shows on Now TV.
One night on Star World, I watched Welcome to Sweden, a comedy about an American moving to Sweden with his wife and adapting to Swedish life. Like Game of Thrones, this show has also been edited, taking out anything that is considered to be too sexually explicit for Hong Kong viewers, but, more importantly, this show entails significant dialogue in Swedish, hence English and/or Chinese subtitles are required for most of us who do not understand Swedish.
For some reason, the English and Chinese subtitles are mashed up together, rather than being placed above or below each other, as has been done in the past.
This makes the subtitles very difficult to read. And this is not the only show where this has been done. Any foreign-language dialogue on HBO, Fox Movies Premium and other channels on Now TV nowadays seem to face the same problem.
This is yet another example of Now TV shooting itself in the foot and encouraging viewers to look to other means to watch popular shows. Is this the future of Hong Kong television? I sure hope not.
Andrew Nunn, Stanley
Extramarital affairs a real problem
I support Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee on the issue of "domestic helpers seducing expatriate bosses and ruining marriages". I believe she is genuinely worried that the media has focused only on the abuse of Filipino domestic helpers but is not aware of the sexual misbehaviour of some expat employers.
The issue is neither a racial nor a political one, as Kym Fortescue suggested in her letter ("Ip picks biases that suit her purpose", April 21). Rather, this is a circumstantial, emotional and cultural issue.
Both domestic helpers and expats are contract workers living in the same foreign land temporarily. Living under the same roof and speaking a common language, a false sense of special feelings can easily develop, leading to disastrous extramarital affairs.
I admire Ip's courage in bringing this expat community secret out in the open and wish the expat community would have the same courage to acknowledge it, so as to give her the legitimacy to address the issue. Hong Kong needs a strong leader who will not buckle under undue pressure.
Charmaine Chan, Ho Man Tin
Why not turn golf course into public park?
With regard to the ongoing discussion on the proper use of government land, I like to make the suggestion to turn the Hong Kong Golf Club at Deep Water Bay into a public park.
As a close neighbour, I noted there was hardly any use of the golf course itself; if it was busy, it was the clubhouse only. What better way to use this great location for a public park to be enjoyed by many, not only a few middle-aged businessmen?
And let's by honest, isn't golf a great walk spoiled?
Hendrik-jan Stalknecht, Deep Water Bay
US senators did their duty of oversight
The separations of powers is the reason the US is the most successful country in history.
At times the implementation of policies is not the most efficient it can be but the system ensures that no president can make laws, or rule unchecked. These checks and balances to a large extent ensure and prevent the undue accumulation of power by one person.
This form of government, though not perfect, is better than any other system known to man.
In his column of April 16, "US senators undermine rational policy", Alex Lo ventures to suggest that members of the foreign relations committee "may be among the most dangerous people in the world today", for the vote this month requiring both houses of Congress to approve the final nuclear agreement with Iran.
The vote was unanimous; there are 10 Republicans and nine Democrats on the committee, not "mostly Republicans but also a few Democrats" as stated by Mr Lo, who clearly intended to take a swipe at the Republicans.
Never mind that even the president and Secretary of State John Kerry's team do not trust Iran, which has a long history of supporting terrorist organisations in the region and has notoriously misled others about its nuclear programme.
Seeing how much the US position has shifted in order to keep Iran at the negotiating table, no wonder the lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are not comfortable entrusting the deal to the White House and the State Department, who at this point seem to want the agreement at any price.
Marian Schneps, Wan Chai
Children learn to get along at care centres
The government is building more childcare centres to encourage mothers to go back to work as it seeks ways to cope with a rapidly ageing population. This is good for the children, not just as a way to boost the workforce.
First, these centres provide children with socialisation. This is necessary as many parents today have only one child and tend to spoil them. Thus, many children grow up too self-centred. Through interacting with others at the childcare centre, they will learn the importance of sharing and develop their social and interpersonal skills.
Secondly, childcare centres can also offer lessons to help children build up a strong foundation for leaning.
Of course, enrolling children in a childcare centre may also increase the parents' financial burden.
But, overall, building more childcare centres is an excellent idea not only as a way to deal with the problems of a decreasing workforce, but it will also benefit the children.
Jenny Cheuk, Lam Tin