Letters to the Editor, August 07, 2015
Obama's new green strategy can work
I am writing about US President Barack Obama's plan to impose even steeper cuts on greenhouse gas emissions ("Obama hits power plants harder", August 3).
I believe the measures implemented by Obama will switch the emphasis to renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power.
In presenting his strategy, Obama said he was convinced by the threat faced by the planet. He singled out coal-burning power plants for blame, as they provide so much of the country's electricity supply.
Under his clean power plan, there will be a 32 per cent nationwide cut in carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 compared with 2005 levels.
Many people have condemned the plan. Republican presidential candidates were heavily critical, using words such as "catastrophic" and "irresponsible".
However, I believe it is an effective way to reduce greenhouse gases.
Many people may lose their jobs in the coal-related sector, but we have to find ways to save our planet.
The president is making the effort, and so can individuals in their daily lives.
They can use public transport instead of private cars and electric fans instead of air conditioners when temperatures are not too hot.
Alvis Lee Ki-yung, Tseung Kwan O
World leaders ignoring the evidence
What a blitzkrieg we have been receiving, and continue to receive, regarding the dire situation presented to us by this faux scare called climate change/global warming.
In some publications we are told that the science cannot, by any intelligent person's interpretation, be regarded as settled: the temperatures are not rising to any worrisome degree; the Arctic ice cover is normal or indeed above normal; glaciers are not receding and in some cases are expanding.
These publications also say sea levels are increasing at a non-threatening degree (is there anyone out there living on the coast who can truthfully state that the sea level is so obviously rising that they feel threatened?) and polar bear populations are growing.
However, with all this evidence freely available, we see world leaders everywhere, from the pope to Obama, with a few notable exceptions, insisting that if we don't act now to curtail carbon emissions, we are all doomed.
A recent study suggests, in all seriousness, that the problem is not global warming, but a distinct probability that in 15 years or so, due to solar activity currently being monitored, we will suffer the onset of a cooling period. It could last decades, if not centuries, and result in famine and pestilence.
This, the study suggests, should be the focus of governments: how do we ensure that we can survive such an event?
Future generations will not forgive very easily when they reflect on today's nonsensical obsession with global warming.
G. Bailey, Ta Kwu Ling
We must do more to help teen addicts
Drug abuse among teenagers continues to be a problem in our society.
Many of these young people, even though they recognise they are in trouble, do not try to get help. This confirms the hidden nature of illegal drug use among young people. We should not turn a blind eye to this problem as it affects the future pillars of our society.
The government must increase raids that are carried out at, for example, clubs and internet cafes, which are seen as drug black spots.
There also needs to be more education to try and heighten the awareness of young people so that they come to realise the consequences of drug abuse.
There should be regular seminars in schools, and more school social workers should be employed so that help is immediately available.
I would also like to see stiff sentences for those convicted of drug trafficking, which will can act as a deterrent. If there are fewer traffickers, prices will rise. Hopefully some teens will quit or just decide not to start. The administration should also cooperate more with the relevant NGOs.
However, it is not just up to the government to deal with this problem. Parents also need to be more aware of the problem of illegal drugs and to recognise if there is a change of behaviour in their children. They must communicate with their sons and daughters as much as possible. They need to appreciate the sort of pressure teens are under nowadays.
If they have concerns, they should feel they can turn to the school's social workers.
Chung Hoi-ki, Yau Yat Chuen
Part of rich religious heritage
I refer to the letter by Celeste T. Cruz ("Muslim beliefs subjugate many women", July 28).
Your correspondent seems to be confused about Islamic religion and its worshippers.
What these Muslim women were doing in Victoria Park had nothing to do with "trying to get into the Guinness Book of Records". I do not know why Celeste Cruz felt the need to attack Muslim women and their customs and traditions, which are part of a religious heritage dating back more than 1,000 years.
These ladies who come here to earn a living from their homes in Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand, work hard, no matter what their circum- stances are. And they send their wages back to their families some of whom are entirely dependent on this money.
Some of them have to endure great hardship.
K. M. Nasir, Mid-Levels
Women were worshipping on sacred day
I am disgusted that the South China Morning Post chose to publish the insulting comments made by Celeste T. Cruz ("Muslim beliefs subjugate many women", July 28), comments, which are an affront to the religious and cultural sensibilities of all Muslims living in Hong Kong, regardless of their race and ethnicity.
The women in the photograph published on July 19 were worshipping on the sacred day of Eid-ul-Fitr.
As a free society, Hong Kong grants all residents the freedom of conscience and the right to engage in cultural activities as they wish. Implicit in these freedoms and rights is the responsibility to have and demonstrate tolerance and sensitivity, recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others.
Just as "Western and Filipino sisters" are entitled to "wear the shortest shorts and revealing tops and simply enjoy their sexuality", so women of other ethnicities are entitled to practise their convictions as they wish.
Huseina Tyebkhan, Mid-Levels
Make sure local students don't lose out
I hope that when there are additional places available to students at Hong Kong's universities, priority will be given to local students rather than applicants from abroad.
I would certainly like to know if there is to be a trend towards attracting more applications from abroad, when so many postsecondary students and people with associate degrees in Hong Kong are looking for undergraduate places. As I said, I believe the emphasis should be on Hong Kong residents in an effort to improve the competitiveness of the city's workforce.
Many local students fulfil the basic entry requirements, but fail to get places in programmes funded by the University Grants Committee. They therefore have to apply for self-financing programmes.
Obviously students pay more than they would if they were helped through its UGC's programmes. Also the quality of these courses varies, and some are not recognised or held in very high regard by prospective employers.
The UGC has to think about the most efficient practical use of excess capacity.
In recent years, Hong Kong's tertiary institutions have been working hard to build their international image to attract more foreign students, especially mainlanders.
One reason for doing this is the substantial revenue they will acquire from mainland students.
However, these institutions must not neglect the needs of young people from Hong Kong.
I accept that it is inevitable more foreign citizens will come here to study at our universities.
Nevertheless, it is essential that the government and universities give careful thought to the development of a tertiary sector from Hong Kong. They must ensure that the policies adopted can produce a workforce that can meet the needs of a knowledge-based economy in Hong Kong.
Vicky Lui Wai-ki, Kowloon Tong
Hong Kong definitely still has a heart
There has been much comment recently of how selfish Hong Kong people have become.
It is not an entirely false observation, especially among those who believe their view is the only view.
However, we can be assured that this selfishness exists within a minority and Hong Kong is a place where caring for others still exists.
This has recently been so warmly shown with the family of Cheng Chi-ming and his daughters' bravery in offering part of their livers to save their father in a world-first simultaneous liver operation. To paraphrase the recently departed Cilla Black, "Hong Kong has a heart."
Mark Peaker, The Peak