Letters to the Editor, February 9, 2016

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 09 February, 2016, 12:15am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 09 February, 2016, 12:15am

Li should say sorry for attack on Civic Party

I was dismayed by the unfair and inappropriate remarks of Arthur Li Kwok-cheung, chairman of the governing council of the University of Hong Kong.

He accused the Civic Party of being behind the student ­protest on January 26 when ­activists “besieged a meeting he was holding” ­(“Students acted like they were on drugs: Li”, ­January 29).

How could someone holding such an important position say such things?

When Dr Li appeared on TVB’s Straight Talk, with ­Michael Chugani, he spoke so sensibly and calmly.

He gave the impression that he was willing to tackle the problems at the university. However, he now comes across as a seasoned politician who can change his position according to the situation. Because he had been detained at the HKU ­council meeting for hours ­because of the students’ actions, he verbally lashed out at them and at the Civic Party.

He appealed to the public to be given time to sort out the problems at HKU, but I wonder if Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying will now be willing to give him that time.

His remarks and in particular his accusations against the Civic Party and some of its leaders, saying it had “poisoned” ­students’ minds can only add fuel to the fire rather than extinguish that fire.

In effect as new council chairman I think he has failed the acid test.

I can understand why he lost his temper, given that the ­students had besieged the ­meeting and he was unable to leave and I accept that this small number of students mishandled the situation. However, he should have remained calm.

He should be trying to bury the hatchet.

The sensible course of action now would be for Dr Li to apologise to the students and to the Civic Party for his remarks.

A. L. Nanik, Tsim Sha Tsui

Students felt they had to launch boycott

I refer to the report (“University of Hong Kong staff fail to turn up for vote whether to back student class boycott”, January 31).

The class boycott by some HKU students was temporarily suspended. They are dissatisfied with the appointment of Arthur Li Kwok-cheung by Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying as chairman of the university’s governing council.

This appointment went through even though it was clear that large numbers of students were opposed to it and they felt their views were being ignored.

Since becoming chairman Li has shown scant regard for the views and rights of the students. He has not responded to ­requests to meet the activists.

It is clear that Li does not ­respect the views of the students and has been hostile towards some of them.

After some activists besieged a university council meeting venue attended by Li he ­suggested that they were acting like they were on drugs.

I do not understand how someone with this attitude could become chairman of the university council.

The primary concern of someone in that position should be the welfare of the students. And yet he has failed to show them even basic respect.

I can therefore understand why the students regard his appointment as intolerable.

The chief executive chose to ignore their objections when he appointed Li.

Given the problems at the university, I can understand why it was decided to implement a class boycott.

It was a way to let C. Y. Leung know that students have rights that should be respected by the chief executive.

Desmond Chan Chun-fai, Tseung Kwan O

Food truck scheme needs fine-tuning

I applaud the decision by the Hong Kong government to introduce a pilot scheme with food trucks operating at designated locations.

Officials believe they will be popular with tourists and ­enhance Hong Kong’s reputation as a food paradise.

While I think it is a good idea there is definitely room for improvement.

Firstly, some of the designated locations, such as Disneyland and Ocean Park, are not ideal.

Restaurants at these theme parks already sell snacks which visitors consume inside the parks.

There would, therefore, be limited demand for a food truck and I do not think business would be that good for the operators. Other popular tourist attractions like The Peak and Ngong Ping 360 cable car might be more suitable choices. They are very popular with tourists and do not have many snack food suppliers.

Secondly, the government’s estimated start-up cost for a food truck is around HK$600,000. This is too high for many local businessmen who want to get involved.

Many Hong Kong youngsters have some innovative ideas. ­However, they may deterred by this high cost. We could end up seeing these trucks operated by established firms like McDonald’s and Subway.

This will run counter to the original purpose of these trucks and they will not be popular with many potential customers who are looking for authenticity rather than the products of a large food chain.

Minnie Dong, Yau Yat Chuen

More flexible approach is long overdue

I refer to the letter by Paul Serfaty (“Encourage youth’s love of freedom”, January 18).

I agree that the public should welcome the love of freedom ­expressed by young people. ­However, while many young people do support freedom in society, it is not reflected in our education system where they are under so much pressure to study hard.

The mode of education in Hong Kong continues to be dominated by a culture of spoon-feeding.

Young people should be able to use their school years to ­explore society, but this is not happening.

Because of the pressure of academic work they get stuck in a rut and their lives revolve around home and school and little more.

One way in which the government could improve things would be to scrap the Territory-wide System Assessment test for students in Primary Three.

It should then issue guidelines to schools urging them to give pupils greater freedom and make studying a more enjoyable experience.

They should be able to go on more trips out of school so that they can explore the society around them.

If they are given more ­flexibility in their studies during their school years, then I think young people will have a keener sense of the meaning of freedom. They are a vital part of our society.

Jason Wong Kun-tong, Tseung Kwan O

Hongkongers are losing the can-do spirit

I refer to Alice Wu’s article (“Observatory slipped up by not warning us about the big chill”, February 1).

A lot of people criticised the Observatory over its handling of the steep drop in temperatures at the end of last month and I find this disappointing.

There is no doubt that the Observatory made mistakes, but we have to understand that weather forecasts cannot always be right. However, once the freeze had set in, it was up to individuals to make sensible choices and those who climbed Tai Mo Shan when temperatures were so were being irresponsible.

The Education Bureau also came under fire for keeping secondary schools open.

When the city is hit by ­freezing weather, there is a lot more citizens can do than blame other people for not doing their jobs properly.

It makes me wonder what has happened to the “Lion Rock Spirit”, the can-do attitude that was so prevalent in Hong Kong in previous generations.

It now seems to be disappearing and has been replaced by at attitude of being critical of so many things. I hope we will soon see this blame culture come to an end.

Sheena Chung, Tsuen Wan