Letters to the Editor, September 28, 2017
Promotion of the arts best done by artists
With the appointment of Henry Tang Ying-yen as the chairman of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority Board, we have been given a glimpse of our government’s position on the cultural hub.
Introducing a businessman to head the board might be seen as an effort by Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor to deal with cost overruns. Tang can surely apply his management expertise for the projects in West Kowloon.
However, looking back at his track record in government, reducing the wine tax and abolishing estate duty as financial secretary, I am worried that the policies of the cultural district might be tilted in favour of large corporations under the leadership of Tang.
In fact, entrepreneurs hold key posts in the Arts Development Council and the Hong Kong Arts Centre, even though there is no lack of talented arts and cultural personnel in the city. Businesspeople are profit-oriented and might not grasp some of the complex issues in the cultural sector.
We must abandon the traditional notion that art appreciation is only for the upper classes. The development of arts in Hong Kong should be led by experts in the field.
Justin Chan, Edinburgh, Scotland
Policy on gay blood donors just skin deep
As of September 25, the Hong Kong Red Cross allows gay men who haven’t had sex for 12 months to donate blood.
Let’s be frank, this policy change is no more than a politically correct public relations gesture aiming to appease the gay population. I am willing to bet there will not be any increase in blood supply in the short and long term following this policy change, because no gay man will volunteer to disclose their sexual orientation, and none will admit to not having sex for a year.
If the Red Cross is serious about policy change to increase blood supply, it should scrap the age limit for blood donors.
Blood donation is a safe procedure, and we should allow anyone who is healthy to do so, regardless of age. This applies especially to lifelong and repeat donors, who provide the safest supply of blood.
Dr Feng Chi-shun, Ho Man Tin
Spouse visa for lesbian partner a welcome step
I welcome the Court of Appeal ruling against the Immigration Department (“Lesbian expat wins case for spouse visa in landmark ruling”, September 26).
The case also highlights issues relating to the gay and lesbian community and reignited the debate on same-sex marriage.
We should follow the example set by Taiwan, which is the first jurisdiction in Asia to have legalised same-sex marriage.
The government of Hong Kong needs to launch a public consultation process on this issue and listen to views from all sections of society.
Angel Lok Wing-ting, Kwai Chung
WhatsApp censors mirror North Korea
I do not agree with the decision of the central government to severely disrupt the WhatsApp messaging app on the mainland. This is part of the ongoing censorship of the internet, which stops Chinese citizens from learning more about events within the country and around the world.
People are entitled to information about all matters relating to the nation, including the negative aspects. When I look at this crackdown, I compare it to the censorship prevalent in North Korea, China’s ally.
John Wu Chun-yan, Tseung Kwan O
Container flats are better than sleeping rough
I support the proposal to convert shipping containers into temporary homes. This can alleviate the plight of people living in squalid subdivided units, or those who are unable to afford even that and are reduced to sleeping rough on the streets.
The problems facing people on low incomes and the homeless have been made worse by the long waiting list for public housing. These container homes will be an improvement on the living conditions many of them have to endure.
Eunice Cheng, Tsuen Wan
Allow helpers from Vietnam to serve in city
I hope the government will heed the calls from the Vietnamese consulate to lift the ban on its citizens working in Hong Kong as domestic helpers.
We must face the problems associated with Hong Kong’s ageing population and low birth rate, including a shrinking workforce and higher social costs.
Various methods will have to be adopted, including raising the retirement age, and importing suitably qualified workers for sectors where there are shortages. This should include domestic helpers who can look after our elderly citizens.
I think many poorer Vietnamese would be happy to work here, as they earn low incomes back home and would get much higher wages in Hong Kong.
Also, it is not good for us to depend on only a few countries, mostly Indonesia and the Philippines, for helpers.
Rainbow Or, Tseung Kwan O