Letters to the Editor, October 20, 2016

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 20 October, 2016, 5:52pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 20 October, 2016, 5:52pm

Going to court over oaths an unwise move

For Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to try and enlist the judiciary in an attempt to force the legislature to follow his will, concerning who may be a member of the Legislative Council, is a constitutionally unprecedented and unwise action.

It’s also legally unsound. The Legislative Council Ordinance defines a member as someone who is elected, states they are deemed to have accepted office unless they “non-accept” in writing within seven days after election, and lists the various ways they may stop being a member (die, resign, go mad, get right of abode elsewhere).

In addition, the Legco president may declare a member not qualified for reasons itemised in the Basic Law, which include censure by a two-thirds majority of Legco (Article 79).

Article 104 of the Basic Law requires an oath that Legco members “swear to uphold the Basic Law” and “swear allegiance to the Hong Kong SAR of the People’s Republic of China”.

The oath is a historical and symbolical act, not a legal precondition to becoming a Legco member. As Article 104 states: “Members … must swear” – they are already members. It is up to Legco, via its president, to manage its membership, including their oaths, not the executive.

And nowhere is being a full member of Legco made conditional on attitudes, manners, clothing or banners that an elected member may adopt.

Further, upholding the Basic Law as it is today, is not to promise not to fight to amend it. Even the chief secretary promised to amend the Basic Law.

Why draw the courts into this? Even Legco’s pro-establishment president doesn’t want it. The sting of the insult to China is sharply felt, but these members were elected on a localist platform. It is part of their appeal.

Paul Serfaty, Mid-Levels

HK teens seem addicted to tutorial classes

When people talk about addictions, we may naturally think about drugs or online gaming. But I have recently discovered an interesting phenomenon: addiction to tutorials.

Competition for university places is very keen in our city. All of us students would like to increase our competitive edge, and feel that tutorial classes will help. However, I believe most of the students are addicted and are abusing tutorial classes.

Drug abusers take drugs because they think they can relax and escape from reality, which is how students feel about tutorial classes. They sign up for several classes because they think these can help them with their revision. They can learn from the tutors, so they do not need to revise their school work later.

Moreover, as most drug abusers tend to be influenced by their peers, so, too, for tutorial abusers. They join in because most of their friends have joined many tutorial classes, especially those held or run by star tutors. They believe they will lose out if they do not follow.

Learning and studying should involve a self-motivated and self-reliant process.There is no alternative to hard work. Just relying on tutorial classes, however popular, is not enough.

Janifer Chan, Yuen Long

Soft drinks tax would build healthy society

I am writing in response to the article, “With one in five Hongkongers overweight, government urged to implement WHO call to tax all soft drinks” (September 23).

Soft drinks contain a large amount of sugars, and are very unhealthy. People who regularly consume excessive sugars may become obese, which raises the risk of diabetes and heart disease.

Although the average number of overweight people in Hong Kong is fewer than that in, say, the Western Pacific region, obesity is an important public health issue that the Hong Kong government should also pay attention to.

We see many children and adolescents today love soft drinks; so much so that such sugary beverages can become a replacement for drinking water.

I strongly suggest that the Hong Kong government adopt a policy to tax all sugary drinks. The consequent increase in price levels may then make many people choose not to buy.

Moreover, the tax revenues gained can be used to promote healthy lifestyles. For example, they may be used to make videos about healthy diet choices for TV or the internet, as a public awareness campaign.

Kelly Cheng Kit Ling, Kwai Chung

When sweet temptation is just a memory

I refer to Li Kai Wing’s letter, “Sugary drinks present health time bomb” (October 19).

Try as we might, sugar cannot be avoided in our daily lives. The worst is that sugar comes in the form of irresistible temptations such as chocolate and bakery products, as well as alcohol. It can add an element of fun to otherwise boring lives.

But amid pleasure, there is always pain found. If diabetes stands in our way, then we are only left with sweet memories and sweet dreams, and vanilla ice cream is as distant as our childhood, as we travel down memory lane.

Edmond Pang, Fan Ling

Shoddy BMX track risky for young riders

More needs to be done to support us young BMX riders.

On October 9, I crashed and broke my collarbone at the Hong Kong Jockey Club International BMX Park, because the track is full of holes and nothing is being done about it.

I am nine now, and have been riding BMX for two years.

I like riding BMX because it’s exciting and competitive. My favourite thing about BMX is that the wind tickles you when you get going. My least favourite thing about BMX is that the track is not in good condition.

The day of my accident, I was going super fast when suddenly I hit a hole. My bike went flying and I fell on the ground, left shoulder first. Pain shot through my shoulder like a lightning bolt; I could barely move. Because of the crash, I had to go to hospital and the doctor told me I had broken my collarbone.

I could not go to school and I even missed camp.

I think the Hong Kong Jockey Club International BMX Park should fix the track, not just fill in the holes but repair the whole track.

If Hong Kong has such a nice velodrome, why can’t we have a really nice BMX park? A lot of people, like me, love BMX and we need a place to train. I hope they fix it soon so I can enjoy this wonderful sport once more. I hope one day I can win a medal for Hong Kong.

Eliot Monick, Mid-Levels

The euthanasia question has no easy answer

I refer to the article, “World’s oldest giant panda Jia Jia put to sleep at Hong Kong’s Ocean Park” (October 16).

Jia Jia, at 38, was the oldest panda in the world and was given to Hong Kong in 1999 by the central government. I believe a lot of people feel sad about Jia Jia’s death.

However, I am not writing to grieve on the death of Jia Jia but on the controversial topic of euthanasia.

Ocean Park said the decision to put Jia Jia to sleep was consistent with the approved euthanasia policy of the theme park and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

The debate on whether euthanasia should be made legal for us humans has been going on for decades, but we have yet to arrive at a consensus.

Supporters suggest that people have the right to determine their life choices, and thus have the right to choose to end it. Also, if someone has an incurable disease and suffers great pain every day, euthanasia lets them end their lives peacefully.

But some are opposed to legalising euthanasia for religious reasons and concerns about the value of life. They believe only God can choose when a human life should end and euthanasia devalues life. A study in 2013 showed pain was not one of the top five reasons for people who sought euthanasia. They did so mainly out of fear and a loss of dignity.

I believe that there is always hope and people should not end their lives for fear of pain.

Choi Lok Yiu, Kowloon Tong