Letters to the Editor, June 01, 2015
Same-sex unions should be legal in HK
Ireland's resounding referendum to legalise gay marriage in the world's first national vote on the issue is remarkable for its enlightenment.
For this devoutly Catholic society to deliver to the world a result that recognises all its citizens, regardless of sexual orientation, with equality, reflects an affirmation of the views of young people who seek a future free from bigotry.
Hong Kong must now live up to its self-appointed mantle as "Asia's world city" and recognise same sex unions.
Late last year, a survey by the Family School Sexual Orientation Discrimination Ordinance Concern Group found that around 70 per cent of Hongkongers believe it is okay for people to be anti-homosexual.
This jaundiced poll, that represented the views of a tiny group of 611 persons, was not reflective of the younger generation which wishes to see Hong Kong prosper as a city where any form of discrimination is not tolerated.
Those who argue that homosexuality is not part of the culture of the traditional Chinese family are wrong. The existence of homosexuality in China has been well documented since ancient times in both writing and art.
The people of Ireland have struck a massive blow against discrimination and Oscar Wilde would be proud of his country today.
It is now time for Hong Kong to make us proud and recognise the contribution the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender community, free from judgment, can make to our city's future.
Mark Peaker, The Peak
New law will be recognition of equality
About 60 per cent of citizens in Ireland voted to legalise gay marriage last month.
The result of this referendum has raised the issue again here and forced people to discuss whether same-sex marriage should be made legal in Hong Kong.
I would fully support such a move.
I think that all people should be considered as equal and should be treated in the same way. Legalising gay marriage is a way of acknowledging that principle of equality.
Two people should be able to formalise their relationship, regardless of their gender.
I agree with the tenet, "Do what you wish, as long as it harms no one".
What harm would it do to anyone to allow a gay couple to marry? It does not pose any threat to society.
People do not make a choice to become homosexual and they should not be made to feel ashamed of who they are.
You cannot help being straight or gay and should not have to suffer discrimination because of you are a homosexual.
Allowing homosexual marriage is right based on the principles of equality and tolerance and is a step towards making us a better society.
Polly Lo Ching-in, Yau Yat Chuen
Citizens can change their wasteful habits
I agree with correspondents who have written to these columns about the large volumes of food wasted in Hong Kong.
Various reasons have been given for why our citizens are so wasteful.
I believe that our Chinese culture has greatly contributed to Hongkongers' wasteful habits.
Well-off and middle-class families waste enormous quantities of food during traditional Chinese festivals.
For example, during Chinese New Year, families gather to have reunion dinners.
It is traditional to have a large variety of food, much more than a normal family could possibly consume, and so there is a lot of food waste.
Also, people tend to exchange gifts during this period, normally different kinds food like chocolates. Individuals are often given so much stuff that a lot of it is never eaten and ends up dumped in landfills.
While citizens have to take responsibility for these levels of waste, businesses are also to blame.
Restaurants stock up with more than they need for the festival period and this generates a lot of waste as food not used is discarded after its sell-by date and again ends up in our landfills.
However, we cannot just blame one sector of society, such as the rich, for the levels of waste.
All citizens must try to change their wasteful habits.
Jack Lee, Kwun Tong
Food trucks proposal a non-starter
In his budget speech, Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah suggested the introduction of food trucks in Hong Kong.
I can understand the logic behind such a proposal. Given Hong Kong's skyrocketing rents, running a food business in a vehicle would be a lot cheaper than doing it in a building. Many small stores which sold local snacks have gone out of business because landlords increased the rent.
However, while the government might see a truck as a viable option, I think it would present a number of problems.
If you are running a business, you want to be in an area where there are a lot of potential customers. But in Hong Kong, that would mean a food truck being on busy roads, many of which are quite narrow. It would make traffic congestion even worse.
Owners of nearby shops and restaurants would object because they would see it as unfair competition. Some of them might even close their shops and get a truck instead.
I also think it would be difficult to ensure good food hygiene in these trucks. I don't think this is the right time to launch this programme.
Eleanor Lui Lok-ching, Kowloon Tong
Lawmakers can make an exception
I refer to the report ("Funding delays could scuttle mansion project", May 26) about the project to revitalise the historic Haw Par Mansion in Tai Hang.
Completion of the revamp project hinges on approval of HK$165 million in funding, which is being held up at Legco by filibustering lawmakers.
This is an important heritage building and many older citizens remember it and the adjoining Tiger Balm Garden.
It is vital that this money is made available and I hope the lawmakers will recognise this and end their filibuster so the funding can be approved.
Dick Yung, Sheung Shui
MPF does not offer security in old age
I refer to the letters by Tobias Brown ("MPF's fund expense ratio is still higher than global average", May 15) and Darren McShane of the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority ("MPF Authority is committed to work on driving fees down", May 22).
I believe the MPF Authority fails to meet its basic social objective of providing a safety net in old age and retirement.
In its present form, the MPF forces people by law to part with their savings and to put them into schemes privately managed by trustees. The trustees do not have to pledge any real protection or accord citizens with real choices.
Should the people who have given their old age and retirement savings to such trustees lose all their savings by a stroke of ill-luck for an investment gone wrong, then neither the trustees nor the MPF Authority will come to their rescue nor compensate them for their loss.
Such is the legal protection accorded by the authority to the people. This exposes a serious inherent weakness of the MPF Authority in meeting such contingencies.
It therefore needs to address the core issue of providing protection to the clients on a more urgent basis, rather than shifting its focus to the lesser issue of administrative costs, which is also important and also needs due vetting.
The general perception is that the MPF Authority does not provide any real value to the people for old age and retirement and is perceived to protect the interests of the industry more than the people.
Simon Datta, Pok Fu Lam
Training for toddlers inappropriate
I am against the tutoring classes that are being offered to train children as young as 18 months for kindergarten interviews.
They put a lot of stress of children at such an early age.
At that age, they should be free to learn more about the world through their own imagination and exploration.
The idea of the tutorials is to teach them social skills and manners which can be of use when they are interviewed for a place at a kindergarten.
However, I believe they best learn about social skills by interacting in kindergarten with other children and through what they are taught by their parents.
When they are so young, I think they would feel constricted by a tutorial class basically instructing them on how they should behave.
They should not be facing the kind of rigid rules you need to deal with in tutorial classes when your are older.
At this age, they are lively and love to play outside and explore nature. If they are forced to participate in tutorial classes, they will feel tired. These classes are not necessary.
Wong Tsz-miu, Yau Yat Chuen