Letters to the editor, April 7, 2016

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 07 April, 2016, 4:19pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 07 April, 2016, 4:19pm

Calls for HK independence will grow

I refer to the report “HK independence party met with scorn” (March 29).

Many people had misgivings about the handover of sovereignty because of previous ­actions by the Chinese Communist Party, in particular the June 4 incident in 1989. And many Hongkongers who could ­migrate did so ­before 1997.

While there have been some efforts to bring greater democracy to the Legislative Council, it remains undemocratic with 35 functional constituencies.

In response to the unhealthy state of civic society in Hong Kong, in 2008 the radical League of Social Democrats won three seats in Legco – Raymond Wong Yuk-man, “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung and Albert Chan Wai-yip. With their behaviour in Legco such as shouting and throwing objects at top officials and the chief executive, the political atmosphere changed. People began to talk about the possibility of “Hong Kong ­people ruling Hong Kong”.

Following the publication of a book by an assistant professor at Lingnan University, Dr ­Horace Chin Wan-kan, suggesting that Hong Kong could ­become a city state, there has been a rise in localism. And at a Legco by-election in February Edward Leung Tin-kei, the ­candidate for radical localist group Hong Kong Indigenous, got 66,000 votes.

Now the Hong Kong ­National Party has been formed.

There is clearly a growing movement in support of independence and I do not see that support waning.

Even though some people might wonder if Hong Kong as a city state would be sustainable, I believe that at least in the near future, more citizens will be ­calling for independence.

Dono Ng, Sha Tin

National Party demands go too far

Beijing’s office in charge of Hong Kong affairs has described the new pro-independence Hong Kong National Party as a “threat to national security” (“Beijing hits out at party pushing for city’s independence”, March 31).

The Department of Justice even suggested legal action could be taken against the party.

I think the new party has gone too far and I can therefore understand the response of the Beijing office. Our mini-constitution, the Basic Law, clearly states that Hong Kong is a ­special administrative region but is still an integral part of China, a country ruled by the central government. Calling for independence would appear to be contrary to the Basic Law.

I understand calls to protect Hong Kong’s unique culture, but that does not justify ­demands for independence. The leaders of the Hong Kong ­National Party need to reconsider the stand they have taken and the name of the party should be changed.

One thing the formation of this party has done is make ­people think about important issues relating to Hong Kong. There is nothing wrong with discussing what an independent Hong Kong would actually mean and having a sensible ­debate about it, but the Basic Law must not be violated.

Joyce Lee, Yau Yat Chuen

Lyric Theatre fails basic acoustics test

Everyone who buys a ticket for a performance of straight drama in a theatre should be able to hear what is being said on the stage.

Sadly, that is never the case in the Lyric Theatre at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts.

That is because the appalling acoustics in many sections of the Lyric’s auditorium make it a totally unsuitable venue for straight drama. Yet, every year the Hong Kong Arts Festival books prestigious theatre ­companies into the Lyric with its cavernous auditorium. People who choose to pay for cheaper seats, or those who can only afford cheaper seats, often leave at the interval. I have done the same, having paid for a seat in the circle for The Tempest, directed by Sam Mendes and for Richard III, featuring Kevin ­Spacey.

This year, I forked out for a seat in the second row of the stalls for the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of ­Henry V, so that I could hear what was going on. I could even hear the very light voice of Alex Hassell, who played Henry. Friends who saw the same performance, but who sat in the circle, left at the interval because they could not hear much of the dialogue.

The major priority of the Arts Festival management is clearly bums on seats, rather than the quality of theatre enjoyment for audiences.

Surely, this is a matter of ­concern not only to the theatre-going public in Hong Kong, but also to the general public which may be unaware that buying a ticket for a play in the Lyric ­Theatre is often a waste of money.

Michael Waugh, Central

Reforms must help students get more sleep

I refer to the report “Sleepless children ‘will lack creativity’ ” (April 4).

Children and their parents are aware of the importance of getting a good night’s sleep. But students have a heavy workload thanks to exams and tests like the Territory-wide System Assessment and their schedule is too busy to allow them to take as much rest as they would like.

I am a secondary student and get only about five to six hours’ sleep a night. So sometimes I have difficulty paying attention in class.

Things can only get ­better if the Education Bureau reforms the education system. Making superficial changes will not help. And it should take into consideration the views of students and ­parents.

Christy Lam, Sha Tin

School years a nightmare for too many

According to one survey, ­students sitting the Diploma of Secondary Education feel under more pressure than last year’s batch of DSE students.

I assume this is because of the high expectations of ­parents, schools and the ­students themselves.

Extracurricular activities and tutorial classes in the ­evenings and at weekends have become the norm for many young ­people. Many schools emphasise the importance of “good ­results”.

Students should be enjoying their school years so why have so many of them committed ­suicide?

This should be a ­concern for the whole community. The ­Education Bureau needs to have a look at how local schools are run and ensure ­students are given the help they need.

Parents should put themselves in their children’s shoes and not put them under needless pressure.

For example, if they are not doing as well as expected in school, it is not helpful to ­compare them with a neighbour’s child who is getting much better results.

Teachers must also think carefully before handing out assignments and ask themselves if they are ­forcing pupils to do too much homework.

Melissa Ko Yuk-wai, Tin Shui Wai

Light pollution needs some tough action

Studies have found Hong Kong to be the world’s worst city for light pollution, with the highest levels in Tsim Sha Tsui.

There is no doubt that it is a serious problem.

Advertising billboards in some areas are too bright and are switched on for too long. The excessive lighting not only wastes energy and is environmentally unfriendly, but can disturb residents living nearby, especially when they are trying to sleep. This can affect adults’ performance at work and ­students in school.

Of course we need adequate street lighting at night to ensure people’s security, but some lights stay on too late when they are no longer of any use.

While the government has a voluntary charter, tougher ­measures are required to curb light pollution in the form of legislation to control light ­intensity and the hours lighting can be switched on.

If firms do not face penalties when they breach regulations, they will not be effective.

We have a noise control ordinance which firms must adhere to, so we should have similar legislation to curb light pollution.

Chole Chan, Yau Tong