Letters to the Editor, December 23, 2016
Localists failed to seize the day on poll reform
In his article on Hong Kong politics (“One sure way to kill talk of independence”, December 21), Professor Michael C. Davis says “only progress towards the universal suffrage promised in the Basic Law can heal the divide”.
Article 45 of the Basic Law has always promised that the chief executive will be “selected by election or through consultations held locally”. Where election is the adopted way to go, the Basic Law provides that the “ultimate aim is the selection of the Chief Executive by universal suffrage upon nomination by a broadly representative nominating committee”.
So, the “nominating committee” notwithstanding, it is universal suffrage, only that the election will be indirect.
But the localists/separatists have demanded direct election without the nominating committee, or nothing, which is what caused the breakdown between them and the establishment.
The government did not fail to deliver the progress towards the promised universal suffrage. Call it small circle or big circle, the nominating committee will not go away.
We were going by the principle of “gradual and orderly progress” and got to the stage of having a much enlarged nominating committee being also the election committee, when these progressive proposals were voted down by Legislative Council in 2015.
And so the 2017 chief executive election will go ahead without the planned progress having been made.
Peter Lok, Chai Wan
Leave country parks out of housing plans
I appreciate that the housing problem in Hong Kong is serious, but I do not believe that building homes in our country parks is a viable solution.
Our country parks offer citizens a great opportunity to relax and deal with the stress we feel at the workplace or in college. They do occupy a lot of space, but that is no justification for building on them.
Once a natural environment is destroyed, the damage is irreversible.
These rural areas are precious retreats and should be seen as such in this small, densely populated city.
Building on them would also present logistical problems as parks include lots of hills.
The government should be making greater use of older residential and industrial buildings.
Many old apartment blocks have only a few floors. They could be redeveloped into much taller high-rises with many more flats.
Redevelopment of older buildings and entire estates can create a lot more apartments and go some way towards alleviating the housing shortage.
Jason Luk, Tseung Kwan O
Applause for remembrance of occupation
I am writing to express my pleasure and thanks for the excellent coverage that you have given to the 75th anniversary of the invasion and occupation of Hong Kong by the Japanese Imperial Army.
I am referring not only to the excellent article by Ryan Kilpatrick (“Blast from the past”, December 21), but also the piece in Post Magazine by Paul Letters (“The 18 days of Black Christmas”, December 18).
The Royal British Legion (Hong Kong and China Branch) continues with its close partner, the Hong Kong Ex-Servicemen’s Association, to not only organise the annual Poppy Appeal but also the annual service of remembrance at the Cenotaph in Statue Square in Central.
The articles help to explain to the wider public why we collect donations by the sale of poppies, and every penny is spent here in Hong Kong. With 2016 proving to be an all-time record year for our collection exercise, we are deeply grateful to the public at large for their generosity.
We are also deeply grateful for the support which the public gives to the annual service of remembrance, again with record numbers this year of those attending and in the number of wreaths laid.
This has become a genuine community event and is definitely not a colonial overhang from a past that is fast disappearing. Sensitive articles such as those published by you recently set in a proper context what we in the ex-service community do.
While we have a declining number of veterans who fought in the defence of Hong Kong, we support some 12,000-plus Chinese British ex-servicemen and their dependents for their welfare needs.
This support will be needed for many years to come, and all the money that we raise is spent here in Hong Kong.
We would also like to thank Taurus Yip and his colleagues for organising “Living Monuments”, and if we can help with some of the other events planned, the branch would be happy to help.
Brigadier Christopher Hammerbeck, president, Royal British Legion (Hong Kong and China Branch)
Let’s pledge to cut waste this festive season
During the festive season, as people celebrate Christmas in different ways, including parties, a lot of waste is generated. When Christmas is over, a lot of stuff is thrown away.
Christmas trees that could be recycled end up in landfills, as do decorations that could easily be stored and used next year. People need to become more environmentally aware.
When people receive a gift, they should make sure they put the wrapping paper in a recycling bin and not just throw it away. Shopping malls pull out all stops for Christmas, with a lot of trees and decorations being put up. I hope they dispose of them in a responsible manner.
I have also seen some Christmas lights on buildings in Tsim Sha Tsui remaining on during the day, which is a waste of electricity.
Jojo Wong, Tseung Kwan O
Students need down time for talent to bloom
Local students are experiencing such severe stress that schools should try to ensure they have more leisure time.
Many youngsters spend a lot of their spare time at tutorial classes and extracurricular activities. They are not given the chance to be creative, and studying can become an almost robotic process.
They focus on exams rather than the joy of learning. Rote learning enables them to pass the exams that can get them a place at university, but they soon forget the knowledge they acquired in this way. They should be given less homework and more time to relax.
Jason Hung, Tsz Wan Shan
Higher fees at hospitals is a ridiculous idea
Public hospitals have backed a proposed increase in the charge for accident and emergency (A&E) treatment, from HK$100 to HK$220 (“Hong Kong Hospital Authority proposes higher charges for use of public services”, December 15).
The purpose of the price rise is to reduce overcrowding, but will it be effective?
Many of the people who go to A&E departments in public hospitals are elderly and people on low incomes. The elderly get health-care vouchers and many of those on low incomes get welfare payments – they do not have to pay hospital charges, so the overcrowding will persist.
Also, a higher fee will hurt those who are on low incomes but are not entitled to receive benefits. It will be a struggle for them.
I think it is a ridiculous idea to increase the A&E charge.
Peter Tam, Tseung Kwan O