Letters to the Editor, October 7, 2016
Nanny state attitudes are not welcome
Recently I sailed with family and friends from Discovery Bay to Sai Kung, Double Haven and beyond. Weaving through the fishing boats, sampans, ferries and jetfoils of exotic Hong Kong harbour, we reported pollution pumped from a dirty freighter to Tell Me 1823 – the highly effective government app for reporting citizens’ concerns.
Heading north, we noted the proliferation of egrets and herons enjoying the rapidly recovering fish stock, resulting from the government’s courageous ban on trawling in local waters. Above us, raptors circled to feed on the wildlife of our country parks.
We sailed past buzzy Science Park packed with budding entrepreneurs, safety in these sheltered waters assured by the comforting presence of the marine police. Next stop was a stroll through Tolo Harbour’s impressive Geopark, where we disturbed two wild boar charging off into the mangrove swamps.
We swam off the pristine beaches on Tai Long Wan, climbed Sharp Peak, then stayed overnight in Long Harbour, enjoying music drifting across the bay from a church in Chek Keng village. Following a few days in remote Double Haven, dining on fresh seafood at local dai pai dong, we headed south to the beautiful Soko Islands, recently saved by the government from the clutches of developers and now set to be gazetted as a marine park.
Back home, the magic was broken by RTHK’s mindless government warnings that driving can be dangerous, swimming life-threatening, and tai chi in public places a reportable nuisance.
With so much to be proud of, our government should revamp its PR to proudly broadcast the many positive steps it has taken to make Hong Kong a more liveable place for us all, rather than focusing on negatives.
Richard Winter, Mid-Levels
Saddened by harsh response to protests
I refer to the report, “Police step up manhunt for Wukan protesters, but governor denies crackdown” (September 15).
I think what happened in this village should prompt severe criticism of the behaviour of the provincial government. And it erases hopes of any democratic development in the near future in China.
Illegal land seizures on the mainland are common. Villagers become victims of collusion between businessmen and corrupt government officials. Many villagers will fight to keep their properties, but their prospects of success are often grim. The villagers in Wukan were justified in protesting. Standing up against injustice is a universal right.
The authorities should not have responded by firing rubber bullets and using tear gas.
A violent response from police will not calm down the villagers, especially when all they are calling for is the right to keep their land and to have officials who are honest. A violent response will only fan the flames of discontent and could lead to some villagers opting for more radical action with the inevitable government response of even more repression.
I am disappointed by what has happend as Wukan was the first example of free elections for village leaders. That appeared to be a tentative step towards some form of democracy. But the latest crackdown is being used by the government as a warning against such protests and a statement saying there will be no democracy.
Zoey Chan Man-yu, Lai Chi Kok
Pedestrian zone a viable green project
For six hours during one Sunday last month, the government turned part of Des Voeux Road into a pedestrian zone.
Often, people just focus on Hong Kong being an international finance centre, with its hub in the central business district.
But this experiment showed the potential in this area if there are pedestrian zones where people can relax, have fun and be creative. It also helped to raise public awareness about environmental protection.
I can understand the views of some critics, that shutting part of this very busy road was inconvenient for drivers and could have resulted in more congestion on nearby roads. However, as a secondary school student, I welcome this initiative and think it helped to promote the different cultural aspects of Hong Kong.
I believe having this part of Des Voeux Road closed to all traffic except trams is a good idea and can benefit citizens from all age groups.
Vivien Suen, Tseung Kwan O
New iPhone craze means more e-waste
The release of the jet-black iPhone 7 Plus models in Hong Kong last month was certainly a momentous event for Apple fans in the city.
When I read that the new models were snapped up within 10 minutes, the word “wasteful” popped into my mind. I assume that many of those who bought these smartphones will have discarded their current models, thus adding to the volume of electronic waste in the city.
Every year, Hong Kong generates about 70,000 tonnes of e-waste and most of this is exported for recycling. The remainder fills up aour landfills.
I am worried that some of the exported e-waste will adversely affect the environment of the countries taking it, for example, the heavy metal from appliances could cause water pollution near recycling plants. And the health of workers at these plants could be at risk if the proper precautions are not taken when handling the e-waste.
Many teenagers appear to be caught up in the craze whenever a new iPhone model is launched. I am a student and I cannot see point of spending over HK$7,000 on a new smartphone, especially when you will not need many of the extra features in this hi-tech gadget for your daily life. It is a lot of money for a student to pay.
I know of many schoolmates who placed an early order for the iPhone 7. I think some of them see owning it as a kind of status symbol. I wonder if having this kind of materialistic attitude is really good for them?
Maybe we need to remember the saying, “Buy what you need, not what you want”.
Priscilla Ko Ka-ying, Tseung Kwan O
Parents need to change their attitudes
Parents can play a key role in increasing the number of patients who get an organ transplant.
Youngsters may register, but if parents object when their son or daughter has died, the organs cannot be harvested for transplant.
Young people should try to counter the resistance to change by older relatives who hold to the traditional view that the body should remain intact after death. They should explain the importance of becoming a donor.
Government campaigns promoting the organ donor register also make a difference.
Christy Wong, Sheung Shui
Always respect freedom of movement
I refer to the report, “Blacklisted: Hong Kong democracy activist Joshua Wong deported from Thailand at Beijing’s request” (October 5).
Student activist Joshua Wong Chi-fung said he was locked up by Thai officers for 12 hours at the Bangkok airport, before being sent back to Hong Kong.
The leader of the Thai junta, the Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, had said that Mr Wong was returned to Hong Kong at the request of Chinese officials. He said this was the business of the central government and that it was not up to another country to “get involved too much”.
I believe that free movement between countries should be the right of all law-abiding citizens and Mr Wong should be entitled to go where he wishes. He had been invited to a Bangkok university to mark the 40th anniversary of a student massacre.
Governments should recognise this freedom of movement as a basic human right. When they fail to do this, it can make them more unpopular with their own citizens and can increase divisions that already exist in a society.
Kay Ng Wing-ki, Kwai Chung