Letters to the Editor, July 23, 2017
Pan-dems’ threat not in public interest
At RTHK’s City Forum on July 16, lawmaker Eddie Chu Hoi-dick said that whether the proposed additional provision of HK$3.6 billion for education could be approved would depend on whether Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor would make promises on the questions of legal costs [for the four disqualified legislative councillors] and by-election arrangements.
The message was clear: the government must waive legal costs the court ordered the four disqualified lawmakers to pay and it must fix by-election dates to suit the pan-democrats. If the administration did not agree to these demands, he and the other pan-democratic legislators would filibuster at the Finance Committee meeting last Wednesday, the last meeting of the legislative year, so that the HK$3.6 billion would not be approved in time to benefit schools, teachers and students during the 2017-18 school year.
By taking this position, Mr Chu and his allies put their interests ahead of those of the public.
The by-election dates are to be fixed by the Electoral Affairs Commission, an independent statutory body. Is he saying that the chief executive should interfere with the commission’s decision for the benefit of the pan-democrats?
In the past, pan-democratic legislators have claimed that they were not filibustering but rather, the government was not providing enough information to support its applications for funds. What do the questions of legal costs and by-election dates have to do with whether or not sufficient supporting information has been provided?
Quite rightly, the government did not back down. Thanks to the firm but tactful way in which Chan Kin-por chaired the committee meeting (and the good sense displayed by most lawmakers, including those from the Democratic Party), the HK$3.6 billion was approved along with four other items on the agenda.
I hope the pan-democrats will rethink their strategy. They must ask themselves if threatening to harm what is in the public interest is a morally correct or effective way to achieve democracy in Hong Kong.
Ng Hon-wah, Pok Fu Lam
No justification for any of these terror attacks
I refer to the letter by Adeel Malik, of the Muslim Council of Hong Kong (“Many Muslims and mosques victims of attacks in the West”, July 19), in reply to my letter (“Why Muslims must speak out against attacks”, July 11).
Like others before him, your correspondent gave a number of reasons for the terrorist attacks perpetrated in the streets of cities in Europe and the US and the attitude of some Muslims. My position is simply that there is no justification for murdering people in cafes, concert halls or offices, or mowing down scores of pedestrians with a truck or blowing aircraft out of the sky.
I have to accept that many peaceful followers of Islam do not want to take time to issue an outright condemnation of these vicious murders.
Marian Schneps, Wan Chai
Have rules on after-hours messages
Teachers work hard and their job is being made more difficult by pupils and parents who send them text messages after school hours, when they are back at home.
Parents have their reasons for doing this, but schools have to establish ground rules. Students and their parents should be advised by the school to send any messages only to the school principal, who will decide what should be done with them.
If teachers are inundated with these messages at home, it could interfere with their jobs; for example, they could be marking papers in the evening.
Students can talk to their teachers during school hours.
Let the teachers focus on their real job, which is to teach the students.
Miku Tai, Tseung Kwan O
Annual review of minimum wage unwise
Before the statutory minimum wage was raised in May, a union called for the review to be done once a year instead of every two years.
Unionists argue that an annual hike will improve the lives of people from the grass roots, but I do not think it would address the problem of poverty.
Such a regular increase would lead to higher inflation. When the minimum wage goes up, companies face increased costs and these are passed on to the consumer.
The main problem for businesses is not the minimum wage, but the shortage of labour in certain sectors.
The government should be offering extra travel subsidies so that people can be encouraged to go and work in more distant areas where firms have trouble recruiting people.
Billy Sit,Tseung Kwan O
Rare starling was spotted in Hong Kong
Often when people look back on their holiday in Hong Kong, they recall the shopping and the great food. Many do not notice the beautiful country parks and the diversity of wildlife, including birds.
I was reminded of the importance of this aspect of the city during a short trip earlier this year.
I was in one of Hong Kong’s many parks. It was very clean and comfortable and I heard a lot of beautiful bird song.
I am a photographer and I was fortunate enough to get a picture of a Bali starling. In my country, Indonesia, where it comes from, it is seriously endangered. Indeed, during my trips to Bali, I had never seen it, and yet here was one in Hong Kong.
This really made my day and it looked a very healthy bird. It was great to be able to see it briefly before it flew off.
Vincent Erwin, Jakarta, Indonesia