Letters to the Editor, August 15, 2016

PUBLISHED : Monday, 15 August, 2016, 5:03pm
UPDATED : Monday, 15 August, 2016, 5:03pm

Allow proxy and postal vote in elections

After making inquiries with the Registration and Electoral Office about the forthcoming Legislative Council election on September 4, I was informed that eligible Hong Kong voters must attend a polling station in person in order to be able to vote on polling day.

I requested a proxy vote or postal vote, since I will not be in Hong Kong on September 4, but was informed that such arrangements are not possible.

The integrity of an electoral system rests on the ability of voters being able to express their views through elections. I find it extremely unfair that the voting system in Hong Kong operates to frustrate the views of voters who are unable to attend polling stations in person.

There are many reasons why a voter may not be able to attend a voting station in person, due to incapacity or travel arrangements.

I would like to know what the government intends to do ­regarding the introduction of proxy voting or postal voting, which is a common practice in other jurisdictions. In particular, what alternative arrangements for voting will be made for this election?

Voting is a constitutional right. Article 26 of the Basic law guarantees that “permanent residents of the Hong Kong special administrative region shall have the right to vote”. Frustrating the views of voters who are unable to attend polling stations in person is an infringement of that right.

Edward Smith, Mid-Levels

Freedom of speech alive and well

Michael Chugani posed a simple question – “Show us a plan if you want a revolution in Hong Kong” (August 9) – but it would still be one too difficult for the pro-independence and the anti-CY Leung parties.

Ask another Leung – Leung Kwok-hung – what he would do if he were in CY’s seat. “Whatever CY does not do” is very likely his response.

Yet another Leung – Edward Leung Tin-kei – was upset that though he could run in the Legislative Council by-election in February, he was rejected as a candidate for the upcoming election.

It’s simple logic, really. Does he not admit that his stance on independence has not changed between the two campaigns? He was given the benefit of the doubt the first time and got a bit carried away. Should he be ­encouraged further? Before the rejection notice, Mr Leung had plainly said that he would ­employ any means and method available – including taking a break from advocating independence – to keep his election dreams alive. As soon as his ­application got rejected, he switched straight back to fighting for his original cause.

You don’t need to be the “worm in his stomach”, as the Chinese saying goes, to tell his intention.

Can voters trust someone who holds no principle? Rather than wasting time in appealing against a justified verdict by the returning officer, Mr Leung should use it to start preparing some constructive plans.

If there was no freedom of speech in Hong Kong, as some keep complaining, do you think Mr Leung Kwok-hung and Mr Edward Leung would still be at large?

Thomas Ho, Kowloon Tong

On MTR, all seats should be ‘priority seats’

It has been seven years since priority seats – seats set aside for passengers who need it most – were introduced on the MTR. Four years ago, KMB buses followed suit.

Such campaigns have raised citizens’ awareness of caring for people in need.

However, there is growing criticism that passengers may in fact have become more inconsiderate, as they think giving seats up to others is the responsibility of only those sitting in the priority seats.

The purpose of such seats is to remind us to be aware of others’ needs. People who are not sitting in priority seats should not take it as an excuse to ignore people in need.

Why do people have to be told to do something so basic? Actually, every seat is a priority seat. You should offer your seats to ones in need.

Schools could organise talks on moral education, and parents should be role models for their children, giving up their seats when needed.

Fei Hui, Tseung Kwan O

Hong Kong Olympic team should celebrate too

I read from the paper that Singapore was – and probably still is – celebrating its first-ever Olympic gold medal (“Party time in Lion City: Singapore rejoices over first Olympic Games gold for Joseph Schooling”, August 13).

A 100-metre butterfly swimmer, Joseph Schooling, has won the first Olympic gold for himself and his country. Though I am not much of a fan of swimming (though I am a big fan of Stephanie Au Hoi-shun), nor am I a Singaporean, I can feel the joy arising from that.

Beating his long-time idol, Michael Phelps, in an Olympic swimming event, Schooling has become a sporting hero in the Lion City. To be sure, his achievement has been widely lauded, with Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong leading the praise.

If my memory serves me right, Hong Kong has yet to win any swimming medal. Perhaps, like me, you are not a fan of swimming, but it’s likely that you know of a 24-year-old four-time Olympian, a pretty lady named Stephanie Au. She is part of the 4x100m medley relay team, which has made history in Hong Kong by qualifying in the Olympics as a top 16 team. Au was also the flag-bearer of the Hong Kong team at the opening ceremony.

Hong Kong has won no swimming medal in Rio but we shouldn’t feel dismayed, because making it as a top 16 team is already an achievement and because of the publicity Stephanie has won for Hong Kong and herself. She has even been dubbed the “Oriental Venus” (“Why Hong Kong’s Olympics flag-bearer and fan favourite Stephanie Au is ready to quit sport – aged just 24”, August 13).

As such, the joy that we ­Hongkongers get should not be any less than that of the ­Singaporeans.

Randy Lee, Ma On Shan

Crane operator must stick to safety rules

At about 8.30am on August 9, I was walking past a Hong Kong International School construction site, in the designated walking area, located on South Bay Close in Repulse Bay when I ­noticed pieces of cement were dropping on my head.

When I looked up, the cement skip was being hoisted directly over my head and the head of my three-year-old who was in a hiking carrier on my back.

It is basic construction site safety that you do not hoist a ­cement skip over the head of the public, especially when the public is walking in a designated walking area.

Is this crane operator qualified with the proper safety training to operate this crane? Where is the spotter if he is hoisting over an area where he cannot see the area below? This company needs to either stop hoisting over this area or they need to build suitable hoarding to protect the public.

What is Hong Kong International School going to do to ­ensure their contractors are following basic safety rules?

David Schaus, Repulse Bay