Letters to the Editor, September 27, 2017
Starter homes plan must get off the ground
Many young families in Hong Kong have no chance of owning a home, because property prices are now far too high.
To deal with this problem Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor pledged, during her election campaign, that she would launch a starter homes scheme for young first-time buyers.
However, it is still just an idea and it remains to be seen if the government will actually go ahead with the scheme. Nothing concrete has yet been done and I am worried that, like so many other ideas put forward to deal with the city’s housing crisis, it may not get off the ground.
An affordable housing programme is long overdue and essential for young families. While the rich continue to enjoy lavish lifestyles, many families on low incomes must get by in tiny homes and this is not good for our society.
If the starter home scheme is mentioned in the next month’s policy address, I hope it that will include some solid proposals, including an assurance that these affordable flats will be big enough to comfortably accommodate a family. A growing family cannot be expected to live in a nano flat.
Ava Au, Tsing Yi
Anthem snub at NFL games inappropriate
There has been a great deal of nastiness surrounding the controversy over National Football League (NFL) players in the US kneeling during the playing of the national anthem.
Players knelt again at the weekend to protest against criticism by President Donald Trump who said their actions were “very disrespectful to our country (“More NFL players join anthem protests”, September 26)”.
I would like to remind these protesting sports figures that people go to watch sporting events to enjoy the performance of teams or individuals, not to watch political or religious points of view being expressed.
There are plenty of footpaths around these NFL stadiums where protesters can march.
Herb Stark, North Carolina, US
North Korea not interested in negotiations
As North Korea continues with its missile tests, it is clear that its weapons programme, including nuclear warheads, is becoming more advanced. This poses a grave threat to peace, regionally and globally.
I am not convinced that this crisis will be settled peacefully through direct negotiations.
Repeated efforts to get the North Korea’s leadership to the negotiating table have failed. They are not afraid of warnings issued by the US, or appeals for moderation by China.
Trying to act nice is clearly a policy that is proving ineffective.
Tougher sanctions must be imposed, including cutting off the supply of capital, crude oil and other materials that help the country build its missiles.
The leaders in Pyongyang have to be made to understand that if they do not halt their nuclear weapons programme, the end result could be war.
Flora Chuang, Tin Shui Wai
Nothing wrong with debating independence
I do not agree with the comments of Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor about pro-independence banners on local university campuses (“Banners in violation of Basic Law, Lam says”, September 20).
People should be allowed to express their opinions freely and not put under pressure in this way by the government.
With “one country, two systems” we have two totally different systems existing within the same country. And yet, some politicians think we should all only show respect for the Communist Party.
Given the present set-up on the mainland, I find it difficult to envisage the whole nation, including Hong Kong, existing under the same system, even in the long term.
Showing full respect for the freedom of speech means that people can use various methods to express their views, without being stopped from doing so.
When university students put up banners saying they support independence, they are simply expressing their opinion.
So I disagree with Lam when she says that these banners are an abuse of the freedom of speech, and the decision to take them down shows respect for the Basic Law.
The issue of Hong Kong independence deserves to have a platform for discussion. Rather than blindly follow the Basic Law, the government should think about why students are calling for independence.
They are angry about the lack of democracy in society. There should be an open debate on this controversial issue.
Jodie Chan, Sha Tin
Help students become more competitive
I am not surprised that Hong Kong was ranked 14th in a study which assessed how well an education system prepares people aged 15 to 24 for the challenges of the future.
Because young people in Hong Kong have to focus so much on exams, they have little spare time. And they have few opportunities to experience the outside world. Lacking these experiences places them at a disadvantage in the job market.
They are not helped to acquire practical skills which can assist them in their chosen careers, as parents and teachers just want them to concentrate on getting a place at a university.
The government must do more to promote STEM (science, technology, engineering, maths) education. This is one way to tap hidden talent among youngsters and help them to develop problem-solving skills.
If Hong Kong is to remain competitive, it will need young people who are able to think outside the box.
Rainbow Leung Wai-yu, Hang Hau