Letters to the Editor, November 11, 2015

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 10 November, 2015, 4:55pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 10 November, 2015, 4:55pm

Family values not hurt by gay marriages

The Bible preaches love, but love is nowhere to be found in Cardinal John Tong Hon's recent pastoral letter on homosexuality and same-sex relationships ("Bishop hits out at gay marriage", November 7).

In jurisdictions where same-sex marriage is legal, family values are neither compromised nor destroyed. Instead, the fabric of the society is strengthened because it sends out a powerful message that love and equality trump hatred and discrimination.

The facts are clear: lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people are capable of love and commitment, and the sky hasn't fallen and the foundation of the society has not weakened in countries where same-sex couples are granted the same legal rights and responsibilities as their straight counterparts.

While the fear mongering in Cardinal Tong's letter is unfortunate and regrettable, I found it deeply offensive and demeaning for Auxiliary Bishop Michael Yeung Ming-cheung to claim that homosexuality is akin to drug abuse. Not only does his outrageous claim lack any rational foundation, it smacks of witch-hunting, which has absolutely no place in a civil society.

It is time for the government to get its act together by immediately starting the legislative process to modernise Hong Kong's human rights laws.

LGBT rights are human rights.

Hong Kong needs robust legislation that bans all forms of discrimination and promotes equality for all.

Jerome Yau, Happy Valley

Catholic clerics sent divisive message

As the world celebrates its maturity by recognising the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, it is ironic that Hong Kong's two leading Catholics, Cardinal John Tong Hon and his Auxiliary Bishop Michael Yeung Ming-cheung, show a lack of maturity and prejudice against the LGBT community.

To compare humans who seek no more than to share their life with a person they love to that of a drug abuser is repugnant and reflects the divisive and naive nature of the bishop.

To pressure voters to consider the sexuality of a candidate in the district council elections is bemusing given the long history of closeted homosexuality in the Catholic Church.

That Cardinal Tong wishes to impose his biased views on his followers does nothing but divide people.

The Catholic Church is in no position to judge.

Hopefully, the ignorance of these two clerics will be disregarded by a public far more enlightened than those who, rather than preach inclusion and acceptance, the core values of Christianity, choose to create a divisive atmosphere. They should both be ashamed.

Mark Peaker, The Peak 

Simply stating long-held Christian view

I refer to the report ("Gay pride in Hong Kong: top diplomats join 10,000 in march after top Catholic's anti-gay letter causes outrage'', November 8) regarding the rally held on Saturday, calling on the government to enact laws to protect sexual minorities against discrimination.

The pursuit of equality and same-sex marriage are controversial issues globally, not just in Hong Kong.

I urge the government to resist bowing to the kind of pressure put on it by events like the annual gay pride march.

While there is a pressing need to reduce discrimination, so too is the need for promotion of the correct core values of sex and marriage.

I am not saying we should have boycotts of these minorities, but we should not see them as acceptable phenomena. We have to consider the social impact of allowing same-sex marriages in our society.

There have been claims that people in same-sex relationships are at greater risk of contracting sexually-transmitted diseases than people in heterosexual relationships.

Furthermore, same-sex marriages could exacerbate the existing drop in the birth rate.

It is already recognised that this drop could cause economic problems in the future with shortages in the workforce.

Some might argue that as a Christian, Cardinal John Tong Hon should not encourage discrimination.

However, he is simply reiterating the Christian belief that God created Adam and Eve who then had children.

I do not think the issues involved can be solved by legislation.

What is required is further education, particularly in schools, so that children learn to be tolerant towards people with different sexual orientations.

The government should also encourage tolerance through lectures and TV and radio advertising campaigns.

However, it should not cave into pressure to enact laws. The long-held core values of mankind should be protected if we want to ensure the maintenance of a stable society.

There need to be detailed discussions and a full analysis so that the next generation can embrace the right values.

Jack Wu Shiu-ting, Sha Tin 

Jobs may be lost with hours legislation

I refer to the letter by Tam Kit-ching ("In need of a flexible work culture", November 10).

A standard working hours law is an issue that concerns the government and local companies.

Unquestionably, the scheme would be a double-edged sword that brings benefits as well as harm to stakeholders involved, particularly employees.

A reasonable working day helps reduce the risk of accidents arising from fatigue due to long working hours.

Also, people who had to work overtime would be paid overtime under such legislation. At present, many employees get a fixed salary even if they work overtime.

This would be especially beneficial to workers from the grass roots who wanted to do some overtime and so increase their wages.

However, on the downside, some companies which do not want to incur extra expenses might resort to laying off surplus labour or reducing their working hours, so they will end up earning less.

Further, in the face of the increasing operational expenses, such as inflation and the rise in hourly wages, companies might consider substituting the positions of low-skilled workers with machinery. It has to be accepted that unemployment is inevitable.

The government must consider the views of all stakeholders and make thorough deliberations before deciding to enact such a law in the workplace to ensure the well-being of employees and rights of local companies can be safeguarded.

Edwin Tong, Sai Kung

Plight of homeless getting worse

A number of correspondents have called on the government to address the plight of homeless people, which has got worse.

The debate on street sleepers has been going on for years in Hong Kong, without any notable sign of progress.

The government has failed to deal effectively with the problem of poverty in the city, which is why we are seeing more homeless people in the city.

The administration has to recognise that the problems experienced by destitute people have to be addressed by our society. And they are connected to our difficulties providing enough affordable housing.

Many people end up on the streets because they cannot afford to pay the high rents charged in Hong Kong. Effective measures need to be implemented, which can help them.

Ken Yung Wai-hei, Ma On Shan