Letters to the Editor, October 26, 2016
Education key to lifting ethnic minorities
I agree with Albert Cheng King-hon (“A wake-up call to do right by ethnic minorities”, October 7), that the machete attack on a Nepali man in Yau Ma Tei earlier this month was only the tip of the iceberg. He rightly points out that the “chronic lack of racial inclusion for ethnic minorities has been overlooked” in Hong Kong.
It is not uncommon to find misunderstandings between Chinese and ethnic minorities. Education and better employment opportunities are the keys to boosting racial assimilation.
Schools can play a crucial role when it comes to helping boost the process of assimilation. They can give ethnic minorities the help they need to improve their career prospects and implant the idea in local children that discrimination is unacceptable.
Many young people from ethnic minorities are stuck in manual jobs and there must be more social mobility. Given equal chances, they can find better jobs and realise their ambitions. I know of one young Indian man from Hong Kong who wanted to study medicine here. He could speak Cantonese fluently, but had not received a formal Chinese-language education. However, he was determined to succeed and eventually got an undergraduate place.
With the right kind of education ethnic minorities can adapt to mainstream society.
There is too much stereotyping in Hong Kong, with the presumption that people from ethnic minorities should either be security guards or construction workers.
The government needs to offer more support to young people from ethnic minorities. It should urge educational organisations like the Vocational Training Council to offer some professional diploma courses tailor-made for ethnic minorities. This would include the Chinese-language teaching they need to help them with their future careers.
With the right kind of training, more of these young people can boost the workforce and alleviate Hong Kong’s labour shortage.
Samantha Lee, Ngau Tau Kok
Contingency plans essential for tenants
Because of the fatal blaze in an industrial building in June, the government is cracking down on illegal dwellings in such buildings. The report (“Hong Kong family of four may be forced on to street if they have to leave rooftop slum by year’s end”, October 23) is about 30 tenants facing eviction from “flimsy shacks built with metal sheets on the rooftop of an industrial building in Kwun Tong”.
Forcing tenants like this to leave these buildings is not the right way to deal with this problem. Some of the tenants who are displaced might not be able to find another flat and there might be some who have health issues and would need help. Surely it would not be acceptable to evict people in this city-wide crackdown on illegal dwellings and leave them homeless.
This crackdown exposes shortcomings in the efficiency of the government. It wants to deal with unsafe dwellings in old factories, but displaced tenants cannot be rehoused because of inadequate public housing and unreasonably high flat prices and rents.
Before it starts with its crackdown, the government has to ensure there is alternative accommodation for the tenants.
Also, to help these tenants and other people on low incomes the government should be offering more subsidies. And it must speed up its public housing building programme.
Angela Chan, Tiu Keng Leng
Clean up HK’s air with better urban designs
The deteriorating air quality in Hong Kong poses a threat to all citizens and I would like to see the government doing more to tackle the problem.
There needs to be more education in schools to raise students’ level of awareness of our air pollution problems. More campaigns should be implemented with adverts and posters encouraging people to be environmentally friendly. And officers should look into measures which will reduce the number of cars on our roads.
The government must also ensure it has better urban planning programmes, such as designing what I would call eco-cities.
They would have schools and offices near residential areas, so that citizens would not have to travel long distances and so fewer of them would need cars. They could walk or cycle to and from work.
Chan Yin-pui, Yau Yat Chuen
Both sides are at fault in Legco dispute
Mark Peaker rightly criticises the behaviour of the newly elected legislators, Sixtus “Baggio” Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching (“Puerile antics have no place in legislature”, October 24).
They were elected by their constituents to serve the people of Hong Kong, not least in the proceedings of Legco, and the more than 60,000 citizens who voted for Mr Leung and Ms Yau deserve greater respect. So does the institution of the Legislative Council and the democratic principles and process embodied in the Basic Law that enabled their election.
But the same critique applies a fortiori to the (much larger group of) lawmakers who are not only threatening to disrupt those same proceedings but also seeking in fact to overturn the results of that election. They too – a fortiori – owe greater respect to the voters of Hong Kong, to Legco and to the Basic Law.
Andrew Korner, Pok Fu Lam
Lawmakers letting down their voters
There has been much discussion about the two new localist lawmakers who risk losing their seats, because they failed to take their oaths properly in the Legislative Council chamber.
I think adding words like “Chee-na” [similar to the derogatory “Shina” used by Japan at wartime] was an inappropriate way for Sixtus “Baggio” Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching to take the oath.
Although they are both entitled to hold their own political views, they should have followed the instructions given to lawmakers and taken the correct oaths.
They have a duty to represent those constituents who elected them and convey the views of these voters in Legco.
They are not following the “rules of the game” and as a consequence they may lose their seats. This will leave many citizens who backed them in the Legco election last month feeling that they wasted their votes.
As I said, if you want to join the political game you have to play by the rules.
If you fail to do that, you risk never getting the chance to serve your constituents, and to help those people who invested so much hope in you.
Phoebe Ko, Tseung Kwan O
Make time trial for harbour swim tougher
There will of course be an investigation into the death of two swimmers in the cross-harbour race earlier this month, and it is too early to comment on the cause of the tragedy.
However, it is worth looking ahead to next year’s events and considering measures that could be put in place.
The organisers should have tougher time trials and even those who pass should then have to sit a more rigorous open water test. This will ensure the swimmers can deal with the difficult conditions they will face in the harbour.
The organisers said there were enough lifeguards. While that may be the case, they should ask if it would still be sensible to have some more.
Finally, swimmers have to ask themselves if they have a high enough level of fitness to compete in such a tough race.
Donald Chan, Tseung Kwan O