Letters to the editor, April 19, 2016

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 19 April, 2016, 4:50pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 19 April, 2016, 4:50pm

HK stands out among leading Asian cities

I read Dr Christopher Andrews’ letter and how he is disenchanted with Hong Kong (“Saddened by what has happened to arguably greatest city on planet”, April 18). And while I can see where he’s coming from, I emphatically disagree.

I lived and worked in Hong Kong from 2002 to 2005 and, coming from Singapore, fell in love with the city.

From culture to shopping, quality of life to the people, ­freedom of speech to nature trails, the city has more to offer than any other Asian metropolis.

Add to that the best airport in Asia, the best airline and the best English-language newspaper, and you have a place that many people proudly call home, and many expats would happily work in, me included.

Of course, not everything’s rosy, like everywhere. However, ­protests are a sign of a free ­society with a population that cares about its future, and the ongoing debate about the city’s positioning – financial hub or arts centre or something else ­altogether – will lead to an ­exchange of ideas that will ­benefit the territory (and China) in the long run.

Hong Kong clearly stands out among the leading cities in Asia and can still fascinate ­visitors and residents alike.

Jorg Dietzel, Seoul, Korea

Australia will not give in to China’s threats

I heard reports of Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s trip to China and the thinly veiled threats which ­Beijing has levelled at Australia if we continue speaking out on the South China Sea issue.

Australian citizens will not bow to bullying by the Chinese government. China has threatened to withdraw billions of ­dollars worth of investment in Australia if we do not cease speaking up on the South China Sea issue.

If you are going to try and treat Australia in that way, you know what you can do with your millions of dollars.

Australians are not particularly happy with China or any other foreign country coming in and buying up large chunks of our country, so any slowing of that spending will generally be accepted with enthusiasm in the country.

It is time for China to start ­behaving as a responsible ­citizen on maritime matters ­instead of a petulant bully.

Ian Barton, Golden Grove Village, South Australia

Education is best way to get more donors

I refer to the letter by Vanessa Tang (“Law needed to ensure more organ donors”, April 12).

There are many patients who are waiting for organ transplants, because the number of donors in Hong Kong is very low.

Some patients have died waiting for a transplant that never came.

The government should act promptly and ­encourage more citizens to ­register as organ ­donors.

The main reason for the low organ donor rate is because there has not been a concerted education campaign encouraging people to join the register.

Such a campaign is important, to counter the resistance brought about by Chinese traditions, which say the body should remain intact after death. The government needs to try and change this attitude, especially among the younger generation, through commercials on TV, the internet and in newspapers.

I know there is to be a discussion of legislation making all citizens organ donors unless they opt out. I do not think such a law would deal with the problem of a serious shortage. People who are still resistant to having their organs harvested for transplants would simply opt out. Such a law will be ineffective if attitudes do not change.

It could also cause conflicts with medical staff, if a patient had not opted out and so the hospital had the authority to harvest the organ, but there was resistance, from family members. We need a system where people register as donors willingly.

If you effectively force people to be registered as donors, you are infringing their human rights. Therefore, I would not support legislation which said that all Hong Kong citizens are organ donors unless they explicitly opt out.

The key to getting more donors is through education and the government should act promptly on this matter.

Chloe Hung Yee-ching, Lai Chi Kok

Many sexual assault victims stay silent

I refer to the letter by Kathleen Hau (“Better sex education vital in schools”, April 12).

I am shocked when I read about cases of sexual assault in Hong Kong. It is clear more must be done to curb them.

What is disturbing in Hong Kong is that many victims of sexual assault are still not willing to report the attack to the authorities.

There are a number of ­reasons why some of them will not come forward and we have to find some ways to solve this serious problem.

Some feel ashamed and are worried how they will be ­perceived if they are known to be victims of sexual assault.

They do not want to be the focus of discussion and attention by others. Another reason may be psychological problems, given that such an assault is a traumatic experience.

However, by not reporting the offence and not getting help, their psychological problems can get even worse. It is important that these criminals are caught and punished. If they are not brought to justice, they can reoffend and so there will be more victims.

This situation can be ­improved by having better sex education in schools. Teenagers who become victims of assault will be more willing to come ­forward and report the crime to police.

It is disturbing when criminals who have sexually ­assaulted someone are not caught and brought to justice. This is less likely to happen if more victims come forward.

Yoyo Li Fung-lan, Sham Shui Po

Hopeful tiger numbers will keep growing

I refer to the report, “World’s wild tiger population rising for first time in century” (April 12).

I was surprised to read about this increase in the number of ­tigers in the wild and it was clearly good news for the World Wildlife Fund.

Tiger numbers have gone up in some countries, because of greater conservation efforts and governments doing their best to preserve tiger habitats, such as woodland areas.

Also, the survey methods have improved so they have a more accurate count.

I am hopeful that these ­numbers will continue to ­increase.

Pianka Lam, Yau Yat Chuen

Pricey duty free alcohol at airport

Recently returning to Hong Kong empty-handed, I bought two bottles from the amusingly named Duty Free Shoppers.

Two weeks later, I bought the same whiskey and champagne from a retailer shop in tax-heavy Manila for 19 per cent and 15 per cent less than my duty-free purchases.

The airport has clearly decided in favour of the retail incumbents over the millions of passengers who arrive every year.

This is not the first time I’ve had this annoying experience, I also bought a speaker there for my computer which turned out to be some 25 per cent more ­expensive than a taxed retail purchase.

The ever diminishing choice of retailers at the airport means that this situation is likely to get worse. Sadly, many passengers will assume that the “duty free” prices are a deal and not check them.

Of course this would never happen if the Airport Authority was a statutory body wholly owned by the Hong Kong SAR government, because it would care about its citizens getting ripped off.

Chris Roberts, Sai Ying Pun