Letters to the Editor, September 20, 2017
Independence posters should be allowed
I see nothing wrong with people putting up posters to express their views about various issues, despite the reaction by the authorities at local universities and the government (“Warning as banners go up again at campus”, September 6).
Regarding the pro-independence poster put up on the “democracy wall” at Chinese University earlier this month, I believe Hong Kong citizens are entitled to put up such posters if they so wish.
The whole point about these democracy walls on campuses is that they exist so that students can express their views on various issues, including independence.
University authorities have no right to ban their students from expressing their views.
Allowing space for that freedom of expression is one of the reasons Hong Kong has been able to become such a highly developed city.
I accept that independence is not allowed under the Basic Law, which describes Hong Kong as an inalienable part of China, but students have a right to disagree and express their hopes for independence.
What is the government going to do, haul every citizen who calls for independence into court? If making such a call is forbidden, then we have lost freedom of speech in Hong Kong.
Rainbow Or, Tseung Kwan O
Take rucksack off on busy MTR network
Wearing backpacks on crowded MTR trains is very impolite and annoying to other passengers.
Not only do these bags take up space, they often bump into other passengers without the backpack carriers being aware of this.
In similarly crowded New York subway trains, conductors often remind passengers not to wear backpacks. They must carry them instead.
The MTR Corporation should consider poster education campaigns and frequent announcements as a reminder.
Thomas Chow, Sha Tin
Why Swiss are happier than Hongkongers
When I read about Western countries like Switzerland, with their highly developed health care and forward-thinking education system, I understand why most of their citizens are content with their lot compared to Hongkongers.
Switzerland provides high-quality health care to all its citizens and there is a universal pension. Compare this with Hong Kong, where there is heated debate over whether we should have a universal pension scheme, or one that is better than the present allowance but is means tested.
Either proposal will be met with opposition from some lawmakers.
At the moment, the government does not provide comprehensive protection for citizens who have retired.
I am not surprised that Switzerland ranks so high on the Better Life Index compiled by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.
The Swiss appear to be emotionally and physically healthy. By contrast, many Hongkongers are overworked, either in their jobs or even in school. For this reason we see a high suicide rate among teenagers.
Far less pressure is placed on youngsters in Switzerland. Like some other Western countries, the education system in Switzerland places emphasis on creativity and a freer learning approach. This is unlike the spoon-fed set-up in our schools.
Having 12 years of free education in Hong Kong is a good thing, but youngsters face too much pressure and this can start from an early age. Some very young children are tutored so they can get into kindergarten.
Changes are needed in Hong Kong society, including our schools, but they will not happen overnight.
Carly Fung, Tseung Kwan O
Public housing must always be policy priority
We need to identify the major problems Hong Kong faces before we can work out how to solve them.
It is clear from the number of protests taking place that many citizens are unhappy with how the city is being governed, and I think their major issue is affordable housing.
The government should use its powers to reserve more land for public housing. Public estate projects must be given priority over private developments.
All available brownfield sites should be earmarked for public flats. There must also be extensive redevelopment of old urban areas.
Theodore Tam, Po Lam
Thrash out deal for waste paper imports
The new import restrictions imposed by the mainland authorities on waste paper for recycling have had a knock-on effect in Hong Kong.
Recyclers have been left with a backlog of waste paper, prices have dropped, and all this has adversely affected street scavengers who collect waste paper.
Many of these street collectors are old and they are among the most underprivileged of elderly people in this city.
They rely heavily on the payments they receive for this waste paper.
Also, if the matter is not resolved, paper that could be recycled will end up in landfills.
Our government needs to sit down with the relevant officials from the mainland authorities and negotiate. We must find out what they want and what we have to do so that they will once again accept waste paper imports.
In this way, we can clear the backlog and elderly cardboard collectors can once again earn their much-needed income.
Yip Wing-yi, Yau Yat Chuen