Letters to the Editor, January 16, 2017

PUBLISHED : Monday, 16 January, 2017, 5:31pm
UPDATED : Monday, 16 January, 2017, 5:31pm

City needs a leader to wipe the slate clean

I find it very disturbing that ­Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, after resigning as chief secretary, is now running for Hong Kong’s top job.

I am sure that I am not alone in questioning her ability to serve the people of Hong Kong as chief executive.

Let’s reflect upon her recent unilateral opaque push for a new cultural museum, and her disappointing handling of the lead-tainted water case where her “no one was to blame” verdict protected government ­departments that were at fault.

The people of Hong Kong deserve better. We need someone who can wipe the slate clean and is not part of the “old boys’ network” that exists in today’s government.

While I am not “pro-Beijing” in my political leanings, I would much rather have an independent appointee from Beijing.

That person could then launch an anti-corruption drive to “drain the swamp” in Hong Kong’s dysfunctional and murky political scene, rather than the ultimate insider who will only serve vested interests.

Karen K. Y. Cheung, Mid-Levels

Leung could be invited for second term

It would be no bad thing if the March 26 chief executive election is aborted ( “Four hopefuls for top job too many, Elsie Leung says”, January 15).

That is what will happen if no candidate gets more than half of the (1,194) votes and, at a consequent run-off poll, neither of the top two gets over 600 votes.

In that event, current Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying could be invited to take up a second term of office, which he well deserves, President Xi Jinping (習近平) having emphatically said he performed well. After all, Leung only declined to take part in the election as it would subject his family to ­excessive pressure. And the Basic Law does provide for the selection of the chief executive “by election or through consultations”.

Peter Lok, Heng Fa Chuen

Cantonese museum idea not realistic

I refer to the letter from Rod Parkes (“Cantonese museum is a better idea”, January 13).

Yes, the government mishandled the proposed Palace Museum project, but it is for a good cause. Mr Parkes wrote it would be better to have a museum of Cantonese culture, I find that an amusing suggestion.

I was born in the early ’60s; Hong Kong was then a backward colonial outpost. We were listening mostly to Mandarin music from Taiwan or to Western music by the more Westernised locals. Movies were from Taiwan or the Western world. The Cantonese cultural revolution, if I may use this phrase, really started in the mid-’70s in Hong Kong. The pioneers were the Hui Brothers, Bruce Lee, the Wynners, to name a few.

It will bring back memories for a lot of locals, especially those born around my era.

Is that a big enough market for the Cantonese museum? Is it interesting enough for other Asian markets to come and see? Would it be interesting for Western tourists? It will only have 50 years of history.

It is a good idea but it is not economically viable.

The Palace Museum project is an annex of the Beijing and Taipei versions, but at least it will have real historical artefacts, some never exhibited seen outside mainland China. And all of the loan items are hundreds of years old. I think Mr Parkes will find this museum more interesting then the one he proposed.

Henry Shek, Happy Valley

Denial of equal rights never looks good

I disagree with Eunice Li Dan-yue’s rebuttal (“Why same-sex marriage should not be legalised in Hong Kong”, January 6) to my letter (“Talented people will avoid Hong Kong until same-sex unions are legal”, January 3).

I do not subscribe to any ­organised religion, but I suspect Ms Li may find it problematic if she continues to conflate religious beliefs with legal matters.

Marriage is a legal institution, subject to evolving societal norms. Indeed, in its earliest ­iterations, it was a transaction where women were treated like property. I doubt that Ms Li would want to return to those “traditions”.

If marriage were an institution designed exclusively for child-bearing purposes, then ­individuals past their fertile years would be barred. In any case, scientific progress has made it possible for same-sex couples to have children, with the assistance of sperm or egg donors and surrogates. And many an adopted child has found happiness under the loving care of same-sex couples.

Citing a discredited study and attempting to promote outdated gender roles does Ms Li’s argument no favours. Why can’t women be brave, breadwinning role models too? Women hold up half the sky, do they not?

Having observed the Perry, Windsor, and Obergefell cases play out in the US Supreme Court, it’s clear to me that same-sex marriage is inevitable in Hong Kong.

Denying human beings equal rights under the law never looks good, in retrospect, for those on the wrong side of history.

In fact, the Hong Kong government has already acknowledged this by making visa concessions for same-sex spouses of foreign consular staff.

Are the spouses of Chinese citizens less worthy of respect?

As Martin Luther King Jnr said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”

So let’s get ahead of the curve and beat Taiwan to the punch. Ideally by this summer, before I visit my in-laws in Taiwan.

Cynthia Yeung, Oakland, California, US

Rohingya a test for democracy in Myanmar

I have been following reports and articles in this newspaper and elsewhere, on the situation faced by the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar (Burma).

I wonder why members of this unfortunate community, living on this land for ages, are still being treated like slaves whose dream of living as respectable citizens can never come true.

As fellow human beings, members of the democratic government of Myanmar can surely empathise with what is going on in its Rakhine state. It would only discredit the new administration if they don’t immediately stop the killing of the innocent ­Rohingya, including their women and children.

I hope that the Myanmese government will allow independent observers from the United Nations to assess the situation and find a human solution to the atrocities being perpetuated on this marginalised group.

I urge the UN to talk to the governments of Myanmar and neighbouring Bangladesh, where most of them have fled as refugees, to allow the Rohingya full citizenship rights so that they can live respectable lives, before the violence destabilises the democratic process achieved by Myanmar after a long struggle.

Mohammad Ishaque, Chai Wan

Pollution fight has to unite one and all

I refer to the article on the methods used to measure pollution in Hong Kong (“Fog over air pollution index”, January 13).

Hong Kong has been quite foggy recently, and air clarity has been very low. The air in the city contains a fine, poisonous substance called PM 2.5, which can cause serious health problems, such as lung disease. ­Besides its effects on our health, air pollution also affects nature, by worsening global warming.

I have a few suggestions to tackle this problem. First, we can take public transport rather than drive. Further, we can take steps for environmental protection at home, including switching off electrical appliances, such as fans, when not in use.

This will not only save energy, but also help to reduce the amount of pollutants released by power plants.

Moreover, schools can help increase students’ awareness of the harmful effects of pollution and the importance of inculcating green habits.

Finally, the government can plant more trees, so that more oxygen is released into the air. Too many trees are cut down these days, increasing the density of carbon dioxide, which causes global warming.

Heidi Ho, Kwai Chung