Letters to the Editor, December 15, 2017

PUBLISHED : Friday, 15 December, 2017, 4:54pm
UPDATED : Friday, 15 December, 2017, 4:54pm

Vocational training advice still inadequate

There is room for improvement when it comes to helping pupils with career development in ­local schools.

The government should ­ensure that youngsters are able to learn more about, and have some practical experience in, ­vocational training.

Some teenagers are not academically gifted and so do not expect to do well in the Diploma of Secondary Education exam. As they will not be going to university, they need to be able to explore other options, including a possible vocational career track. So they need to be given as much guidance as possible on the school campus, so that they can look into various trades and the training needed.

In conjunction with this, the government should be investing more in the creative and technology sectors. There is too much emphasis on academic achievements in our education system.

Youngsters with different levels of ability must be given the opportunity to develop at their own pace and achieve their potential.

Wincy Lau, Tseung Kwan O

Oath takers allowed to earn ‘entitlements’

Regarding Grenville Cross’s ­article (“Hong Kong should waive the debt of disqualified lawmakers”, December 7), the Standing Committee of the ­National People’s Congress comprehensively interpreted Article 104 of the Basic Law as it stands alone.

With absolute constitutional propriety, the committee did not purport to apply Article 104 in individual cases such as this where, without the benefit of the interpretation, both the oath takers and the Legislative Council president have made mistakes in ­complying with the article. If required (it should not be), that is a matter for decision by the local courts applying ­relevant law.

Crucially the interpretation says, “No public office shall be assumed, no corresponding powers and functions shall be exercised, and no corresponding entitlements shall be ­enjoyed by anyone who fails to lawfully and validly take the oath or who declines to take the oath”; and an “oath taker who makes a false oath, or, who, after taking the oath, engages in ­conduct in breach of the oath, shall bear legal responsibility in accordance with law.”

The point is that the Legco president ­enabled the oath takers to enjoy and indeed literally earn ­“entitlements”.

As Cross and Paul Serfaty (“Bill for ousted lawmakers is outrageous”, December 1) note, they did so in good faith and also, “in accordance with law”, they attracted the local or common law legal right of quantum meruit, meaning the right to ­remuneration for goods supplied or services rendered.

The fact that the oath takers’ remuneration was paid from “public money” (where else would it have come from?) is legally irrelevant.

Michael Reid Scott, Melbourne, Australia

Tourists will be shocked by filthy beaches

I agree with correspondents who have complained about the filthy state of so many beaches in Hong Kong. They are littered with refuse and this must be a shocking sight for tourists.

This is an international city and we get a lot of visitors from countries where natural beauty spots are kept clean. If our lovely beaches are heavily polluted, tourists will stay away.

There needs to be a change of attitude among Hongkongers, so that people start acting responsibly. The best way to do this is to raise the levels of awareness through education.

More government adverts should be shown on TV and ­online, emphasising the importance of keeping our beautiful natural areas clean. We all need to learn to reduce the volumes of waste we generate.

Christine Cheung, Kwai Chung

Warmer global climate does have benefits

I refer to the letter from Lee Sai-ming of the Hong Kong Observatory (“Damage to climate from human activities is already plain to see”, December 9), in ­reply to my letter (“Many factors are affecting the climate”, ­November 21).

We sceptics are repeatedly denounced because we confuse climate with weather, but are now denounced for confusing ­climate with climate change. Seriously?

Not for the first time, Mr Lee quotes the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report, but refers merely to the sanitised Summary for Policymakers, written for and under the supervision of governments, deliberately omitting all the good news.

Mr Lee should acknowledge that, hidden in the main body of the report, the IPCC acknowledges many issues that do not fit the doomsday scenario he wants us all to accept.

These include – the computer projections upon which many forecasts of doom are based, are unreliable; there are many benefits to a warmer climate and a higher concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere; and, that there is no evidence to support the contention that ­anthropogenic global warming is causing an increased frequency and ­intensity of extreme weather, notwithstanding the most recent ­hurricane/typhoon season.

Finally, can Mr Lee tell us what exactly is meant by “pre-industrial levels”?

Some would say “pre-industrial” refers to some time in the mid-18th century, and others, the early 19th century, and only as regards a very small area of our planet.

Either period is a nonsensical era to use to determine the ideal level of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere in any present-day forecast.

G.J. Bailey, Ta Kwu Ling

Sexual abuse victims should speak out

I refer to your recent report on Vera Lui Lai-yiu (“Hurdler Vera Lui’s claim that a coach sexually ­assaulted her when she was 13 sparks outcry”, November 30).

These revelations by the top Hong Kong athlete have brought into focus the issue of sexual harassment and abuse in Hong Kong.

Now, more people are ­paying attention and realising that this problem is not just ­confined to other societies, but directly affects this city.

As Lui points out, “It was the offender’s fault. I am not ashamed as a victim.”

I agree that victims of this kind of abuse should not feel ashamed. They should speak out about what happened and tell a responsible adult, such as a teacher or parent.

These individuals need to realise that what happened was not their fault. They need to have the courage to face the issue and talk about the assault they faced. This can hopefully stop someone from targeting and abusing another youngster.

Also, there must be more help available, with a fully equipped support mechanism for these young victims.

Mandy Hui Kei-tung, Po Lam

Officials have not thought through plan

I agree with your columnist, ­Peter Kammerer (“Hong Kong doesn’t need an army of maids to care for its young and old. It needs trained professionals”, ­December 4).

Like Kammerer, I am against the government proposal to ­recruit another 240,000 foreign domestic helpers to look after (mainly) elderly citizens on low incomes and living alone.

I don’t think officials have really thought this through ­before going public with the idea. They don’t really understand the problems these elderly people face and their financial constraints. Many of them are living in a very harsh environment and a domestic helper would have trouble coping.

As Kammerer points out, suitably trained professionals are needed to do what is a ­difficult job.

Kelly Chan Wai-ting, Kwai Chung