Letters to the Editor, June 11, 2015
Those behind violence have not said sorry
I refer to Gary Cheung's article ("Tributes aside, leftists' instigating role in 1967 riots must not be whitewashed", May 26).
The Hong Kong riots of 1956 were the result of escalating provocations between Chinese nationalist and communist factions in Hong Kong during the Double Ten Day, on October 10, 1956.
A mob stormed and ransacked a clinic and welfare centre, killing four people, including a car being fired at on Nathan Road, resulting in the death of a Swiss national.
Hong Kong police anti-riot squads and army units were sent to deal with the ugly situation. The nationalists hunted down communists. Many police sheltered communists in their stations. There were 59 deaths and many injuries and damage to property. In subsequent trials, four people were convicted of murder and given the death penalty.
Former Hong Kong police officers still alive today will never forget the 1956 riots or the violent confrontations of 1967. They left psychological scars.
The riots of 1967 broke out in May, as part of an intervention instigated by high-level cadres from the Chinese Communist Party. The disturbances escalated without warning in July when militia from the mainland fired at police in Sha Tau Kok, leaving five officers dead.
Communist activists escalated from waving Mao's "little red book" to planting dummy and real bombs indiscriminately to impede normal life, resulting in civilians being killed, including children. Reporter Lam Bun was ambushed and burned alive in his car. I still have a photo of the burned-out vehicle.
One of my police colleagues was cruelly killed by a communist bomb while trying to protect innocent pedestrians. The left-wing terror campaign failed. The colonial government and the police, despite being vilified by the activists, prevailed because they enjoyed the confidence of the majority of the population.
One hopes the Communist Party has learned a few hard lessons from what happened in 1956 and 1967 and the crushing of the pro-democracy movement in 1989 in Tiananmen Square and that it will respect "one country, two systems".
Regrettably, it seems most of those who initiated these communist terror campaigns and crackdowns have failed to express remorse for the innocent people who suffered because of their actions.
As Confucius said, "Study the past, if you would divine the future."
Brian Coak, Mid-Levels
More probes needed into overspending
I applaud Abraham Razack, chairman of the Legislative Council's public accounts committee, for his strong criticism of the Civil Aviation Department, Transport and Housing Bureau and director general of civil aviation, Stanley Lo Shung-man ("Civil aviation officials flayed over blunders", June 4).
The department was slammed for "a series of blunders", including a new air traffic management system that should have been up and running 2½ years ago.
However, I think there was a tinge of unfairness as the track record of those under fire is no worse than that of the Hong Kong Airport Authority.
It has overseen the squandering of billions of dollars to construct the white elephant called Terminal 2. And of course the millions that were spent on building a golf course at the airport must have surpassed what the Civil Aviation Department spent putting a shower into Lo's office without getting permission to do so, as was highlighted by the Audit Commission ("Officials could face action over aviation HQ", May 21). To be fair, the Audit Commission should also look at the authority.
The board of the authority has to show some long-term plans for development so that, in future, it does not construct something that was never needed, only to demolish it, as will be the case with the golf course.
I hope Mr Razack's committee will remain vocal critics of the issues I have highlighted. So far, no lawmakers on the Airport Authority board [of which Mr Razack is not a member] have criticised the authority in public.
There should also be a probe into what the authority is doing about bringing back the 1,000 car parking spaces lost to build Terminal 2.
This causes a build up most mornings when drivers queue to get into the remaining car parks. The new Airport Authority chairman, Jack So Chak-kwong, should look into this.
F. Wong, Mong Kok
Congestion could so easily be avoided
I live in Braemar Hill, North Point.
The area has many educational institutions, including the Shue Yan University, Chinese International School, and local secondary schools. The roads are narrow and the traffic is heavy, especially during the end-of-school hours. The chauffeur-driven private cars certainly do not help.
They loiter in the neighbourhood and park at kerbside, aggravating the traffic situation.
They do so with the purpose of picking up usually one passenger per car.
That passenger, not surprisingly, is a student of the international school, while students of the university and the local secondary schools overwhelmingly use public transport, which is ample and reliable.
The international school's curriculum no doubt includes environmental issues. The school should encourage its students to use public transport, while the students should practise what they learn.
Having only one passenger in a seven-seater car is a very uneconomical way to use fuel and the limited roads, at the expense of the environment and other road users. The obvious options are car pooling, or, even better, switching to public transport.
Francis Lo, North Point
Shoppers now want greater variety
There has been a drop in the number of mainland tourists coming to Hong Kong.
I appreciate the complaints made about the problems caused by some people from north of the border like parallel traders. Their activities have led to steep prices in areas near the border. But, we should also recognise the benefits mainland tourists bring. The money they spend helps Hong Kong's economy. The only problem is that so many shops have become jewellery retailers, because the visitors are keen to buy jewellery.
I would like to see greater diversity in the retail sector and more shops catering to Hong Kong citizens, selling such things as books and clothes. Hopefully we will see this change, as many of these jewellery shops are now empty.
Chelsea Luo Wing-yan, Ngau Tau Kok
Teens should adopt positive attitude
I refer to the letter by Chloe Tong Ka-ling ("Success out there for the taking", May 29).
I agree with your correspondent that youngsters must not just daydream about being successful, they have to act.
However, many teenagers are not aggressive enough to grasp the opportunities that exist.
For instance, if they are thinking about career options, they can do their own research based on their interests.
Also, too often in Hong Kong, young people think that if someone gets poor academic results, that person will not enjoy success in the future.
Their problems are compounded by having low self-esteem if they are not doing well academically.
In fact, academic success is not the only measure of success and having the right attitude is so important.
If, for example, some teenagers do badly in exams and adopt a negative attitude, they will not succeed, because they have not sat down and considered what goals to set themselves.
I really believe that young people who make the decision to set their own goals can succeed in reaching these goals.
I hope that more young Hongkongers will change their attitudes and that they will come to recognise the importance of adopting a positive attitude in their lives.
Katrina Lo, Tseung Kwan O
Ingrained beliefs tough to change
I refer to the letter by Wong Tsz-miu about training classes for kindergarten interviews ("Training for toddlers inappropriate", June 1).
I understand why there is opposition to the coaching of such young children.
Yet Hong Kong is a very competitive society and children face that competition at all stages, including secondary and primary schools and even kindergartens.
There are lots of preschool places available and many kindergartens end up shutting down because they failed to get enough children.
However, parents want their children to get into those institutions with the best reputation and teachers.
Traditional views that "the more you study, the brighter your future" and "don't lose at the starting line" are deeply ingrained in Hong Kong.
Herd behaviour best describes how parents in Hong Kong can often act collectively for the so-called good of their children.
Some parents feel they must make a "rational decision" between ruining their sons' or daughters' childhood or forfeiting a potentially good future.
Is this, in effect, a twisted version of no pain, no gain?
Wong Takcheung, Ma Wan