Letters to the editor, February 24, 2016
Criticism of chief executive fully justified
At the weekend I listened to the speech given last week by Sir David Tang at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club.
He spoke softly and eloquently about the future as he saw it for the people of Hong Kong.
His criticisms of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s policy address were insightful. But l am afraid all the positive and constructive ideas he put forward will be to no avail as our officials always bury their heads in the sand.
One of the most constructive points he made was that the chief executive has never attempted to face protesting students and opposition parties in an effort to achieve reconciliation. As Sir David pointed out, even then premier Li Peng (李鵬) met protesting students before the Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989.
C. Y. is repeating the mistakes of his predecessors. Chinese people believe that a smooth administration requires harmony, but C. Y. has encouraged disharmony, for example, by appointing Arthur Li Kwok-cheung as chairman of the governing council of the University of Hong Kong.
I agree with Sir David that despite these problems, Hong Kong still has what he calls the “holy trinity” – a decent judicial system, fairly uncorrupted community and genuine freedom. Those qualities make Hong Kong a shining example of a unique Chinese city.
If his advice could be converted into concrete action, the SAR could have a rosy future.
Lo Wai-kong, Yau Ma Tei
Boxer shamed his country and himself
The boxer Manny Pacquiao has clearly never met either any gay people or any animals (“Pacquiao doubles down on homophobic remarks”, February 20).
To say that homosexuals are “worse than animals” is a disgusting calumny. Had he met any gay people, he would know that they are just like straight folk, with all their fancies and foibles. And if he knew any animals, he would know that they are just as likely to focus their amorous attention on members of the same sex as are we Homo sapiens.
I speak here as a straight man who has had many gay friends over my seven decades of life and cohabited with countless dogs (and other animals) as well.
For Pacquiao to liken the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender community as “worse than animals” is bigoted and ignorant. He is not excused by quoting the Bible. Judging people based on a flawed hodge-podge of ancient prejudices? Surely one should base one’s judgment on our modern understandings of sexuality.
Shame on you Pacquaio. You shame yourself, your country and your faith.
Peter Forsythe, Discovery Bay
So many signs are stating the obvious
The profusion of signage clutter in Hong Kong is a form of irritating visual pollution which we seem to unknowingly accept.
Invariably each sign, securely mounted on its own galvanised pole and stoutly erected in the middle of a narrow walkway, proclaims either the obvious or duplicates (or on occasions contradicts) an adjacent sign.
The Leisure and Cultural Services Department, our guardian of all things one cannot do in parks and playgrounds, neatly etches all forbidden activities on expensive stainless steel plaques and mounts the signs in suitably expensive surrounds. So prolific are the instructions, one cannot but surmise it might be more practical and less expensive to list the permitted activities.
Occasionally, however, a gem of a sign is to be found which makes one smile.
One such example is the department’s sign erected in the small park between the village houses of Pat Kan Uk at Stanley and the beach. Etched neatly on the stainless steel is the instruction, in braille, that there must be no cycling and no skateboarding.
Tony Price, Tung Chung
Do not force trucks to stay at one location
There has been much debate in the social media over food trucks in Hong Kong since they were first proposed by Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah and the government’s pilot scheme was announced.
I am concerned about what I would call the “captive food truck”. During the trial period, they will only be at designated locations.
Yet, what gives these vehicles their edge is their mobility. They are not like a restaurant that is always there at the same place and this is part of their appeal.
Also, business might drop off if these food trucks were offering the same menu to the same people at the same location. Therefore they should be allowed to move to different areas.
Angus Lau, Ma On Shan
Renewable energy can help clean air
The problem of air pollution in Beijing is becoming more serious with the thick smog that envelops the capital.
It affects all citizens and winds carry it to nearby cities.
When it is particularly bad Beijing residents have to wear masks when they go out.
This is very uncomfortable and even with a mask, they might still fall ill. The smog is mainly caused by polluting factories and large numbers of cars and the emissions they produce.
Even though they know this, the authorities in Beijing are still unable to tackle the problem.
One area they must focus on is using more sources of renewable energy.
This is something that cannot be done overnight, but China can learn from other nations which have greatly expanded their renewable energy resources.
Kiki Leung, Yau Yat Chuen
Unpaid ATV staff have had very raw deal
Asia Television has mishandled the problems it is experiencing as it nears the end of its licence, particularly with regard to not paying the salaries of its staff.
Many workers have remained loyal and kept working despite not always getting paid.
I really hope that the employees can find work with RTHK and PCCW’s ViuTV, which will take over ATV’s free-to-air spectrum when its licence expires in April.
Sharon Liu Tsz-ying, Kowloon Tong
Greener Lunar New Year is possible
Over Lunar New Year, teenagers will have received many lai see packets and adults will have exchanged gifts wrapped in attractive packaging.
These are part of the tradition of the festival, but they can generate a great deal of waste and exacerbate Hong Kong’s pollution problems.
Of course, it is right that children should get their lucky money, but the red packets which are so popular use a lot of paper and therefore a lot of trees. With so many trees being felled to meet the demand, we have more global warming.
The government has to place greater emphasis on recycling and launch a campaign urging the reduction of packaging.
Green organisations should coordinate with businesses such as supermarkets to encourage them to reduce their packaging.
Also, these eco-friendly groups should encourage people to hand in their used lai see packets so that they can be recycled.
People should avoid using the red lai see packets which have a sticky seal, as it is more difficult to recycle them.
It may be breaking with New Year tradition but people could even consider using the apps available on their smartphones to send a red packet cash gift electronically and so avoid using any paper.
This is certainly the best option when it comes to protecting the environment.
Lunar New Year is an important festival that we should enjoy celebrating, but in order to protect our planet, people from all walks of life must try to make it a more environmentally-friendly festival.
Minnie Dong, Yau Yat Chuen