Letters to the Editor, December 7, 2016

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 07 December, 2016, 5:48pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 07 December, 2016, 5:48pm

Diversity and inclusiveness are our pride

Family values is a powerful phrase, but preaching intolerance, bigotry and hatred is ­certainly anathema to the family values of the people of Hong Kong (“HSBC’s pro-LGBT rainbow lions draw ire of Hong Kong family groups,” December 6).

In a pluralist society like Hong Kong, we should celebrate diversity and inclusiveness every day.

Government and business policies, as well as laws and regulations, that stand in the way of inclusivity should be reviewed and updated.

To that end, I applaud HSBC for taking the lead in promoting diversity and inclusion in our workforce.

If Hong Kong is to maintain its status as a leading world city, it is really a no-brainer that we should have the right policies to attract the best talents from around the world, irrespective of their nationality, creed, religion, gender or sexual orientation.

A small but vocal group of misguided moral crusaders is making noises about inclusivity. It appears that these people are influenced by Victorian morality and want to turn back the clock on social justice.

We should stand up and say no to these so-called family values groups. True family values is about love and respect, and the future of our society depends on inclusivity not exclusivity.

Jerome Yau, Happy Valley

Awareness lacking about third gender

I am writing in response to Jeffie Lam’s article (“Intersex Hongkonger wages one-person campaign for third gender recog­nition”, December 4).

The article profiled an intersex Hong Kong person who has pledged to launch a campaign to have the third gender category included as an option in the next citywide census.

With the topic of same-sex marriage already such a sensitive issue in Hong Kong, the ­intersex gender, and the claim of such individuals to be accepted as they are, is shaping up to be another controversial topic for society.

Many of us are not aware of the struggles of intersex individuals, and their lives can be even harder than we imagine.

However, it is indeed difficult for society in Hong Kong to accept them. On the one hand, their values may be bounded by traditional beliefs, while on the other, the government does not provide adequate support to people who identify as neither male nor female. All of this makes it difficult for them to lead a life of dignity in Hong Kong.

I believe the biggest challenge they face is public ignorance of their situation. Most people may not even know the definition of the gender.

So support and information from the government is undoubtedly needed for minority groups such as intersex individuals.

As the article said, if their existence is acknowledged by the government, more people may be willing to stand up for such individuals.

Roslin Law, Tseung Kwan O

Legco four may have learned their lesson

The chief executive of Hong Kong and the secretary for justice have applied to the High Court for a judicial review against Nathan Law Kwun-chung, Edward Yiu Chung-yim, “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung and Lau Siu-lai, over the validity of their oaths for seats in the Legislative Council.

This move has generated great controversy among the public and protests from pro-democratic lawmakers, criticising the government. I stand on the side of the majority opposed to the government.

First of all, I think the government is doing something that is unnecessary, just to boost its prestige. If such a step had been proposed by Beijing, we could have just condemned it as another instance of interference in Hong Kong’s judicial affairs.

But, unlike the interpretation of the Basic Law by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress last month, the court action has been initiated by the government.

Any decision to disqualify the four would overturn the choices of hundreds of thousands of voters. This would severely damage the developing democracy in Hong Kong and fuel even greater discontent within our society.

The government probably should not have taken this step, as it risks not only undermining the will of the voters, but also abusing the judicial system. It was not a wise choice.

Moreover, the move by officials is unreasonable.

No matter how reluctant to swear allegiance to China these four lawmakers may have seemed, their oaths were approved by the Legco president. It is not just to deny them a chance to serve as lawmakers.

Moreover, this may not be fair to them either. In 2012, pro-democratic lawmaker-elect Wong Yuk-man coughed during his swearing-in to obscure words related to the People’s Republic and SAR, but his oath was still accepted and he was able to discuss policies for the next four years. These four lawmakers should also be given the same opportunity.

It is expected that the four would refrain from any extreme or inappropriate behaviour, after the experience of Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching.

Their disqualifications would definitely serve act as a deterrent, and these are wise people who can see the impact of indulging themselves under the media spotlight. They must have learnt their lesson and ­deserve another chance.

All in all, the court action by the government is meaningless and harms both sides on the road to democracy in Hong Kong. So, is it political persecution or just a political show?

Carlos Cheung Chun, Kwun Tong

Low-carbon diet can beat climate change

I am writing to express my opinion about the need to reduce our carbon footprint.

One way to do this is to have a low-carbon diet, by eating locally grown and seasonal food, avoiding processed and packaged items, reducing food wastage with smaller portion sizes, and recycling or composting.

This seems simple enough, but is, in fact, difficult to implement. First, our fast-food culture is a barrier to a low-carbon diet. Fast food is processed and ­involves much packaging, but is a top choice for busy urbanites with no time to cook.

Second, a small city like Hong Kong has to mainly import its fresh produce and meat supplies from the mainland or overseas, creating a large carbon footprint. Moreover, some perishable items require special treatment during transport, further increasing green costs.

Third, packaging is out of control. Plastic packaging, wrapping and carry bags just choke our landfills. Global warming is much more serious than most people think. There can be no more delays in promoting a low-carbon lifestyle.

Karen Chan, Tseung Kwan O

No room for capsule homes in cramped city

I agree with your correspondent, Ronnie Tse (“Capsule beds not better than cage homes”, ­November 13). But, besides the points mentioned by Mr Tse, I can see other issues with the introduction of capsule, single-size bed spaces in Hong Kong.

Lodgers in such “space capsule homes” will share a kitchen, bathroom and common area. As reported, a 700 sq ft flat can fit a maximum of 10 pods. That means lodgers would probably have to jostle for space before they go to work or school, and even have to queue to use the bathroom. Such problems will arise again before bedtime as many of us like to shower before retiring for the night.

Sleeping in space pods is also likely to raise health issues. We know that patients who have to remain in hospital beds for a long time tend to develop bed sores, as they cannot move their bodies easily without assistance.

I fear that lodgers using such pods would, due to their limited size, also have difficulty finding a comfortable sleeping position. Such cramped sleeping posture may pose health problems for them when they are old.

Surely, given the expanding population in Hong Kong and the shortage of beds in public hospitals, we cannot afford to have more citizens developing chronic illnesses in the long term? The introduction of capsule beds is not a good idea at all.

Eunice Li Dan Yue, Causeway Bay