Letters to the editor, February 26, 2016

PUBLISHED : Friday, 26 February, 2016, 4:37pm
UPDATED : Friday, 26 February, 2016, 4:40pm

C. Y. is failing to deal with a city in crisis

There is no doubt that the so-called riot in Mong Kok has tarnished the image of Hong Kong as a law-abiding community.

There is concern that it could be used as an excuse to introduce Article 23 of the Basic Law or there could even be security laws similar to those which operate on the mainland. Could we then see people being ­detained without proper arrest warrants or justification?

I’m not condoning the ­violence. However, the government is clearly a poor judge of public opinion and has failed to heed warnings. Also, it has ­rejected calls for an independent inquiry into the riot. It should realise that the community is like a pressure cooker, there has to be valve to release steam which has built up.

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has been guilty of ­errors of judgment such as the appointment of Arthur Li Kwok-cheung as chairman of the governing council of the University of Hong Kong.

There have been many political miscalculations by C. Y. and his chief secretary, but they keep failing to make the necessary decisions. As the saying goes, “justice delayed is justice ­denied”.

When the problems get worse and nothing is done, ­people feel dejected. In Mong Kok, the pressure cooker burst. Some blame was unfairly attached to political parties. The right decisions have to be made to deal with this crisis, but our confused officials are failing to act.

Deng Xiaoping’s ( 鄧小平 ) “one ­country, two systems” is barely functioning and it seems to be turning out to be a sham as officials distort its meaning. For example, look at the case of the five missing booksellers and the lack of a proper response from mainland authorities about what has happened to them.

I am concerned about what the future holds for this international financial centre.

If not for what we inherited from our colonial past and the strong foundations in our ­society, we would already be in a shambles.

A. L. Nanik, Tsim Sha Tsui

Taiwanese have low opinion of HK

I am studying political science at a university in Taipei and wanted to share with readers the views some of my Taiwanese classmates and friends have of Hong Kong.

They feel lucky that they come from Taiwan and are proud of their system of government. Some classmates see little difference between Hong Kong and the mainland, saying its political system is flawed and it now lacks democracy.

It is unfortunate that this is their view of Hong Kong, given the status it used to enjoy on the international stage.

In Taiwan in the 1980s and 1990s, Cantopop was hugely popular, as were Hong Kong-made movies and actors like ­Stephen Chow Sing-chi. These cultural exports from Hong Kong were known worldwide.

All that has changed and I think this is due to the political situation in the city and the ­actions of the Hong Kong government.

Our local culture is in decline and some of it is disappearing. I think this has something to do with the lack of ­freedom allowed by the administration.

Leo Sin, Sheung Shui

Backing law in France on unsold food

France has led the way globally, passing a law in December which requires large supermarkets to donate unsold food to charities. This will result in millions more nutritious meals being made available to needy citizens.

Now all supermarkets with a retail space of over 4,000 sq ft must have contracts with food banks or similar non-profit organisations. They will not be ­allowed to intentionally destroy unsold, edible food.

I welcome this new law. Apart from offering meals to the poor, it can help reduce volumes of food waste. It is estimated that up to one-third of the food products of these stores remains ­unsold and until now it was ­ending up in landfills.

I hope this law will act as a wake-up call for other countries and encourage them to follow the example set by France.

The French government should help these stores with distribution so that it is effective, given the large quantities ­involved. If need be, it should hire more workers to help with the distribution.

We all need to be aware of this problem of food waste, and in restaurants, only order food that we can eat.

Julianna Ma Ka-lam, Kowloon Tong

Register so you can vote for British EU exit

The referendum on whether the UK stays in the European Union will be held on June 23.

This is a crucially important decision for the UK.

If the vote is to stay in the EU, the UK as a country will eventually disappear due to the EU’s push towards ever closer union.

Equal entry to the UK for Hong Kong holders of a BNO passport will probably also ­disappear as the UK will no ­longer exist and the EU does not recognise BNO passport holders as Commonwealth citizens.

The out campaign therefore needs all the help it can get, as the EU will be spending a lot of money to support staying in.

Many expats living in Hong Kong, the mainland, Commonwealth countries and other countries around the world for less than 15 years can register to vote in the referendum. This ­includes Hong Kong holders of BNO passports.

See the website “About My Vote”. If you are eligible as an ­overseas ­voter, please ­register and vote to leave the EU.

Also, all Commonwealth ­citizens living in the UK are ­entitled to vote in the referendum.

They should encourage ­family and friends to vote to leave the EU.

Jerry Wraith, member, UK Independence Party, Carshalton, Surrey, England

Young citizens and society in unhealthy state

Thanks to the success of government hospitals and having the right kind of lifestyle, many older Hongkongers enjoy longevity. This has led to the problem of an ageing population.

Ageing should not be a problem if you can stay healthy.

However, by contrast, a lot of young Hongkongers suffer from various conditions such as depression, high blood pressure and diabetes, because of bad habits such as smoking, ­drinking and a generally ­unhealthy lifestyle.

Seniors often maintain their good health because they have an optimistic outlook and are content with the status quo.

Those people behind the rowdy political activities we have seen in the city are causing social unrest. We need a good leader to help our society and our younger citizens return to a state of good health.

Peter Wei, Kwun Tong

Phone zombies are real hazard on escalators

I sympathise with Jason Luk (“MTR staff should issue ­warning”, February 23) that people need to pay more attention when using the MTR, ­including the concourse, the ­escalators and the platforms.

A growing legion of phone zombies are ­oblivious to their surroundings and block the way of the “living” travellers.

They are a danger to themselves and, more pertinently, to others. But I also agree with Frank Lee (“Clear left-side ­channel works on escalators”, February 13) that the established convention for escalator use in Hong Kong, not only on the MTR, is to stand on the right file and walk on the left.

One has a choice, and no one is being forced to walk against their will.

The MTR’s “stand firm” announcement is creating a ­muddled situation as it only takes one person to block the walking file, to the frustration of other active users.

The MTR is inadvertently creating a less safe travelling environment. Our standard ­etiquette is to stand on the right, but now people stand ­anywhere, sometimes in the middle and sometimes in a ­cluster of friends.

The phone zombies are ­invading both left and right files, and I have witnessed many of them tripping into each other as they abruptly exit the escalator.

The management of the MTR contradicts an important tenet in life, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it “.

Roger Emmerton, Wan Chai