Letters to the Editor, February 16, 2016
Special day of reconciliation could backfire
I refer to Peter Kammerer’s column (“A day to heal the divisions in Hong Kong”, February 2).
Hong Kong society is now full of mistrust after various political activities and campaigns such as the umbrella movement.
We now have a highly-charged political atmosphere in the city. Every minor mistake by the government can be used as an excuse to trigger conflict. What happened in Mong Kok last week is an example of this.
Therefore, I do think an effort has to be made to heal the divisions in our society. However, I do not agree that what we need is an annual day of reconciliation. I think if a day was designated for this purpose it could be used as an excuse for more arguments between different groups and even conflicts. Whether these problems can be solved will depend on the attitude of the Hong Kong government.
The reason people become involved in political activities is because they want change. They object to unreasonable decisions that are made by the government and they want an improvement in their own conditions. We use these activities to try and get this message across to the government. It should be listening to us and taking appropriate action.
With a better government we can all enjoy living in a more peaceful Hong Kong.
Carmen Li Ka-man, Yau Yat Chuen
Praising police for response during riot
I felt disappointed by what happened last week in Mong Kok and has been called the “fishball revolution”, which led to people getting injured, including some police officers.
In previous disputes involving police I have not spoken up for either side. However, on this occasion (unlike the umbrella revolution) police officers were targeted and attacked with bricks by people wearing masks. Protesters talked about standing up for the rights of unlicensed hawkers, but rioting was not the way to do that.
The day after the riot a police officer was criticised for firing warning shots into the air, but I think he acted correctly. At the time he and his fellow officers did not have protective clothing and a colleague had collapsed.
Residents are angry about issues and the government should be responsive to these concerns. But while citizens should feel free to speak out, they must do so in a rational way.
Wong Chak-hei, Tai Po
Views of citizens are being ignored
Recent research has shown that the quality of life in Hong Kong has declined.
Residents are expressing greater discontent with their lives, with politics and with the economy.
Hongkongers felt the city was in a far stronger position prior to the handover in 1997 and felt superior to most Asian countries. However, there have been political developments which have led to growing dissatisfaction. People are now more concerned about political and economic development.
There have been more protests and clashes between civilians and the police since Leung Chun-ying became chief executive, such as Occupy Central and most recently the clashes in Mong Kok. People are becoming increasingly radical and taking to the streets. There is clearly a lot of discontent with Leung’s administration.
Some people say he is a mouthpiece of the central government and that he will obey Beijing rather than listen to his own citizens.
It is clear to see why people living in a democracy are happier than those in societies ruled by oligarchies.
There is no perfect political system, but a democracy is by far the best, because it is a system ruled by laws and not by individuals. I think the problem of social unrest in Hong Kong can only be dealt with through genuine political reforms.
Barnaby Ieong, Macau
Use peaceful means to protect culture
Many of the people who went to Mong Kok and became involved in the riot will say they did so because they wanted to show their support for the street hawkers and were defending an integral part of the culture of Hong Kong. While protecting Hong Kong’s intangible heritage is important, this was not the way to do it.
They resorted to violence during what should have been a happy Lunar New Year evening and hurt police by throwing bricks and bottles at officers.
Many ordinary citizens had gone to Mong Kok to have an enjoyable family dinner and were unable to do so. This was not the right way to stand up for the hawkers. In a harmonious society people should use peaceful methods to express their opinions.
We should protect our unique cultural heritage, but only in a law-abiding way.
Tiffany Wong, Sham Shui Po
Allocate more resources for recycling in HK
Hong Kong faces a waste crisis, where we are running out of places to put our rubbish, with the three landfills nearing capacity.
The government’s proposal to build an incinerator at Shek Kwu Chau met with strong public opposition.
The incinerator will generate reusable energy by burning waste, but opponents fear the project will cause air and marine pollution.
I do not think the government has allocated sufficient resources for recycling as an effective recycling policy can ease the pressure on landfills.
A great deal of plastic in Hong Kong is still not being recycled.
Even if a plastic bottle is put in the appropriate recycling bin there is no guarantee it will actually be recycled.
It could just be thrown into a bag with ordinary refuse and still end up in a landfill.
Apart from allocating more resources for recycling, officials must use all available channels of communication to get the message across to Hongkongers about the importance and advantages of recycling.
I think the vast majority of citizens in Hong Kong continue to throw recyclable material such as newspapers, empty aluminium cans and glass bottles into ordinary rubbish bins. They need to realise that these materials can actually be turned into something useful.
This is so wasteful. If people can become aware and more resources are allocated for a recycling programme, the recycling rate would increase substantially in Hong Kong. We would then be contributing towards ensuring a greener planet.
Michael Chan Tsun-hin, Tai Po
Kumquat trees can be kept out of landfills
I refer to the report (“Eco-farm urges Hongkongers to recycle Lunar New Year trees for compost”, February 11).
Many Hongkongers purchase the traditional Lunar New Year trees and every year too many of them are thrown away and end up in our landfills.
I agree with this Peng Chau eco-farm that these trees can be used for compost.
About 1,400 tonnes of these kumquat trees are being discarded in the city and this is wrong.
We all have a responsibility to try and be more environmentally-friendly and get out of the habit every year of throwing these trees out as refuse.
The farm can use the trees to grow more plants and so this is a form of environmental protection.
Nicole Tse, Tseung Kwan O