Letters to the Editor, March 27, 2017
Education is the best way to curb crime
Some people have argued that longer prison sentences could lead to a reduction in crime figures in Hong Kong.
I am not convinced that this is the case, and I think other policies should be looked at.
Having longer jail terms might appear to be a simple solution, sending the message that people must pay the price for what they have done. But it only scratches the surface in terms of trying to deal with the problem of why people commit crimes in the first place.
Some people are born in poverty and turn to crime as a way of escaping that poverty. Some are so desperate that they are willing take risks even if it leads to longer custodial sentences. People who become accustomed to crime will tend to continue to break the law, even though it means they stand a good chance of being sent back to prison.
The best way to try and lower the crime rate in society is through education. Children must be taught in schools that crime does not pay and if they commit crimes it will ruin their lives. They must be encouraged to work hard with the hope that this will improve their job opportunities.
I don’t think we can ever eradicate crime, but we can try and reduce crime rates.
Wong Cheuk-ling, Kowloon Tong
Carrie Lam will make a good chief executive
The election of Hong Kong’s first female chief executive could herald a new beginning.
Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor has plenty of experience that she can leverage. Her willingness to bridge the divisions in Hong Kong society is promising.
Her plan to focus on the social and economic issues that really matter to Hong Kong people is likewise a good start.
Granted, Hong Kong’s election process is far from perfect. The compromise proposal that was put forward in 2014 would have been a major step towards progress, but it was unfortunately torpedoed by the pan-democrats, despite the support from Hong Kong’s silent majority. Still, Hong Kong is fortunate to be governed by leaders like Carrie Lam.
Kristiaan Helsen, Sai Kung
Brownfield sites suitable for new flats
I disagree with your correspondent Holden Cheng (“Golf courses are suitable sites for estates”, March 26).
Some golf courses and driving ranges have been constructed on former landfill sites and would not be suitable for housing.
Golf courses get the all-clear from the government after full environmental impact assessments have been undertaken, and so these particular sites are thought to be suitable for golf courses.
There are plenty of brownfield sites that would be suitable for solving the city’s housing shortage. People who occupy these sites illegally should be evicted from these sites.
I hope the next chief executive, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, will be able to do something for people waiting for a suitable home.
Felix Mak Hoi-kuoh, Kowloon Bay
Excessive packaging adds to waste
I refer to your editorial (“The need for a levy on waste disposal is urgent”, March 23).
Volumes of waste in Hong Kong are increasing, which is why the government is introducing a charge for municipal solid waste. However, one of the reasons we have so much waste is because of over-packaging.
Rather than punish consumers for this, the manufacturers responsible for this over-packaging should be made to pay for it. This would be the best way to tackle this problem at its root. If there was less unnecessary packaging, there would be less pollution of the planet.
Hong Kong is rated as the most expensive city to live in. Hongkongers already face skyrocketing living expenses, so this new waste charge will add to the already heavy financial burden they face.
As I said, the government should be making all those who generate waste pay, so that all people, including private companies and consumers, make a concerted effort to create less waste and recycle material as often as they possibly can.
A charge can also serve as a reminder that we all need to live greener lives and discard less waste.
Natalie Chan, Ho Man Tin
Important to keep visiting elderly parents
Many people in Hong Kong have to take care of both elderly parents and children.
There are more such people of working age because Hong Kong has an ageing population. This can create a heavy financial burden for them, especially if their elderly parents are poor.
Traditional Chinese thinking demands that you respect and look after your elderly relatives.
However, some of that thinking is breaking down. Even if the grown-up children offer financial help, they may not visit their parents often.
It is important that they visit as often as possible, because their parents will often feel lonely and isolated.
Different generations in a family must try to keep the lines of communication open.
Elderly people who are retired can often feel quite lonely, now that there is no work to distract them and they are left home alone.
They always welcome visits from their children and grandchildren.
I know some grown-up children will say they do not have enough time to visit their parents, but they must try to make the time, so their parents know they love them.
Leo Ho, Tseung Kwan O
Disney has creative sway over own films
The portrayal of a gay character in the Disney film Beauty and the Beast has proved controversial both here and abroad.
A local Christian school condemned the decision by Disney to portray this character.
In fact, the introduction of the gay character was done in a very low-key way.
Disney, like all filmmakers, must be given complete creative freedom to portray characters as they see fit.
Schools should not interfere in the freedom of pupils to see whatever films they want, and they could then discuss in class any characters who are featured in the film.
I would not support any form of censorship of this film, for example, the removal of scenes that portray this gay character.
Cathleen Shek, Po Lam