Letters to the Editor, July 06, 2015

PUBLISHED : Monday, 06 July, 2015, 12:01am
UPDATED : Monday, 06 July, 2015, 12:01am

Scientific glory days are not recent history

I refer to Alex Lo's column ("Why Hong Kong localism has no future", June 30).

He writes: "In virtually all endeavours of human value, in the arts and sciences, in cultural tradition and history, in business daring and artistic creativity, it's to mainland China you need to turn, not tiny Hong Kong."

This may have been true of the arts, historically; in the sciences it was only true centuries ago, and only recently is China recovering scientific stature. But plagiarism and political favouritism slow China's scientific recovery.

In cultural tradition and history, China is greater than Hong Kong, but again only from a long-term perspective. Don't forget the mainland and the Communist Party of China invented the Cultural Revolution and sought to take down the "Four Olds".

As for business daring, that's a Hong Kong speciality. In the PRC it too often takes the form of theft as much as daring.

Though built on Western models, Weibo and Alibaba were suitably adapted for China and show what PRC businessmen can achieve.

In the arts, "tiny Hong Kong" has created a fusion of the best of East and West which deserves a distinct respect.

There is room in the new China for both a still-developing "Motherland China" and a mature "cross-cultural China", such as Hong Kong.

I think it is wrong to oppose the two. In truth, they are complementary. That was also the implication of Deng Xiaoping's "one country, two systems" formulation. As the special economic zones enabled China to develop economically by separating them from the rest of the country, so Hong Kong can help China explore political development.

Let us hope this exploration is actively pursued by our government, not restricted in favour of vested interests, which always and everywhere obstruct competition, progress and success.

Paul Serfaty, Mid-Levels

Struggling to follow logic of argument

I refer to the letter by Andrew Fung, information coordinator of the Chief Executive's Office ("Why Beijing has final say on top post", June 30) in response to Professor Michael Davis' article ("Shoddy defence of Hong Kong autonomy", June 27).

I find it hard to follow Mr Fung's logic. He said the reason for the central authorities reserving the powers, among others, to appoint and not to appoint the elected chief executive, and to approve or not to approve the method of selecting the chief executive is simple. He said "the chief executive and the government of the Hong Kong SAR enjoy much more powers than local governments in other jurisdictions, Western democracies included".

Does the information coordinator mean that as more powers are vested in the city's government, its citizens' political rights to elect and be elected as the chief executive should be curtailed?

Michael Ko, Tsing Yi

Better career guidance for all students

I am concerned about career planning for some secondary students.

It is clear that our current educational system is highly exam-oriented. In my school, for example, little support is given when it comes to career planning to those students who are not doing well academically.

If they are not given the advice and counselling they need, it can be difficult for them to map out their future.

Schools need to pay more attention to this. They must organise more events to help those students, such as self-discovery activities. This might make it easier for them to know what they want to do in the future.

Winky Chan, Kwun Tong 

Mansion could be wonderful music hub

There have been reports that funding delays could prevent Haw Par Mansion opening as a music education hub.

I strongly support the bid to revitalise this grade one historic building into a music-themed heritage learning platform.

Though Hong Kong is recognised throughout the world as an international financial centre, it is often accused of failing to promote the arts. There has been little in the way of development of the creative and technology industry.

Allowing the planned project to go ahead at the refurbished Haw Par Mansion can help to rectify that. I see it as a good opportunity and a great beginning.

A music education hub in this mansion could attract people from all walks of life.

Older people who came would recall visiting it in their youth, part of the precious memories of their past.

Young people would find it inspiring to learn music and to make music in this historic setting.

Wu Xue, Fanling

Third runway risks becoming white elephant

I am not happy with the decision to construct a third runway at Hong Kong airport.

This controversial issue triggered acrimonious debates among government officials, lawmakers, environmental protection organisations and ordinary citizens. I think the drawbacks of this project outweigh the benefits.

Supporters argue that it will bring more tourists to Hong Kong, because more planes will land from various locations around the world and this will boost the economy.

However I am sceptical about this argument. Recently, a third runway was completed at Guangzhou airport, and it was hoped it could handle more tourists. But I have read reports that the airport only has 10 more flights a day. So I do not see a third runway at Chek Lap Kok leading to many more tourists coming here.

Besides, whatever profits are made from increased traffic will not cover the high construction cost, estimated at around HK$180 billion. I also think that estimate will go up. I am afraid this third runway could end up being a white elephant.

I am also concerned about the damage that will be done to the environment as a result of the construction project.

Reclamation is needed to build the runway in an area of the sea that is a habitat for the Chinese white dolphins.

Their continued existence will be threatened if they can no longer cope with serious marine pollution.

I wish the government had decided to shelve the project.

Lam Yin-hei, Hung Hom

Saddened by plight of dolphins

Earlier this year a badly injured Chinese white dolphin was rescued by staff at Ocean Park for treatment.

It had suffered severe cuts to its tail and back, thought to have been caused by a boat propeller. Unfortunately, it was so badly injured it had to be put down.

I think that for many Hongkongers it highlighted the plight of these dolphins and the problems they face.

Many people were so upset by what had happened that they urged the government to take action to protect the dolphins.

But I suppose citizens soon forgot about what had happened.

We seldom pay attention to their plight.

In his budget speech in February, Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah reiterated the government's view that the third runway is needed to boost Hong Kong trade. However, while it is accepted that this construction project will have a profound impact on the dolphins, I do not think most of us appreciate how serious it will be.

It may seem as though the term environmental protection is a cliché, but it is really important.

We could all do more to try and protect the habitat of the dolphins, for example, by not throwing rubbish into the sea.

There are only 60 dolphins remaining and I hope we can all pay more attention to their plight. Our indifference can only make them more vulnerable.

Yannis Mak, Tai Wai

Putin's strong message to Washington

What made the parade in Moscow in May to commemorate Russia's victory over the Nazis in the second world war remarkable was the presence for the first time of the People's Liberation Army. It provided a 112-member guard of honour of the three services.

There was a message there and I am sure it was not lost on the US, which would have been keenly observing events.

Russia has been left economically and politically isolated by the West because of its actions in Ukraine. By contrast, the PLA presence at the Victory Day parade in Moscow showed that the bond between Russia and China has strengthened. I do not think it will end there. I expect to see greater cooperation between the two nations in trade and infrastructure projects.

With the tanks rumbling through the streets of Moscow during the parade and jets flying overhead, Russian President Vladimir Putin seemed to be sending a message to the US, that he has the power to stand up to the Americans and that Washington's efforts to isolate him are meaningless.

Edison Kwan, Tsing Yi