Letters to the Editor, March 2, 2018

PUBLISHED : Friday, 02 March, 2018, 4:55pm
UPDATED : Friday, 02 March, 2018, 4:55pm

Long-term aims of new budget commendable

Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po, in his budget speech on Wednesday, proposed to increase recurrent expenditure on education by another HK$2 billion, in addition to the HK$5 billion ­already pledged by Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor.

I was glad to see that the government is sincere in promoting ­local students’ access to tertiary education, as it promised to pay the exam fees for DSE (Diploma of Secondary Education) candidates for the year 2019. In fact, I am also one of the beneficiaries.

Besides investing in the city’s future, the secretary for finance has allocated more resources to the provision of social services and health care.

It was also a good move to pledge HK$50 billion for innovation and technology development. We should expect more incentives in the future for businesses, to diversify our economy and maintain economic growth.

However, before the details of the budget were announced, some political parties had been calling for giveaways from the massive revenue.

They may have been disappointed, but I believe their calls were short-sighted.

Giveaways are just ad hoc policy with only one-off benefits for a short period of time. The government did well to think of the long term in allocating funds.

Anfield Tam, Quarry Bay

World must unite to accept the Rohingya

I refer to reports in world media about hunger being used to target the Rohingya in Myanmar.

I cannot believe that food supply is being used as weapon against the dwindling numbers of the ethnic minority, as ­recounted by those who have fled into neighbouring Bangladesh.

Even the UN human rights body has said that the Myanmar military action against the ­Rohingya may be genocide.

However, the Myanmar government denies ethnic cleansing and says it is battling terrorists.

The Rohingya are prevented from farming, fishing, foraging, trade and work, the refugees and aid groups say. Which means they are prevented from what they need to do to eat. This is evident from the high levels of malnutrition among the arriving Rohingya, especially women and children.

But impoverished Bangladesh cannot be alone in tackling the huge influx of refugees. The world needs to come together on a ­humanitarian mission. Other countries near Myanmar should also take in the Rohingya.

Every human being has the right to survival. We need to help the refugees, not discriminate against them for whatever reason.

Cecilia Ng, Tsing Yi

Sheriff’s deputy let down school and community

I refer to the armed sheriff’s deputy who failed to intervene during the Florida school shooting last month, which left 17 dead. Scot Peterson was on duty and in uniform as the school’s resource officer when the rampage started.

Officer Peterson, ­accused of dereliction of duty, was not dragooned into police service, but chose to “Serve and Protect” of his own free will. He collected a taxpayer provided salary for decades in expectation that he would do the duty for which he volunteered and was trained.

He let down the community he elected to serve, a community that had every right to expect proper performance. The cost in innocent lives of his irresponsibility must be borne by those whom he deserted.

Paul Bloustein, Ohio

Neighbours can make a big difference

I was deeply saddened to read about a woman and her son who were found dead in a car (“Hong Kong woman and son, 9, found dead in murder-suicide after husband kills himself”, February 27).

Police found suicide notes that described Au Wai-man’s devastation at losing her husband in January, also to suicide. The notes left at home for family and friends said how much she missed him and had suicidal thoughts.

The risk of self-harm for those who have lost family members or close relatives or friends through suicide is said to be three times higher than for others.

As the executive director of Suicide Prevention Services said, dealing with immense grief and complex emotions can render people very vulnerable. And professional help is just as important as family support.

I believe that not only relatives and friends, but neighbours, too, can help a family get through this difficult time. Neighbours can act as the first point of contact for those struggling with depression and even suicidal thoughts after the death of a loved one.

Living so close to the sufferer, they can take immediate action and lend them a helping hand if needed. That is what neighbours are for.

Some may think that one should not meddle in other people’s lives, or be afraid of being told that it’s none of their business. But you never know how much a small act of empathy can mean to a person who feels all is lost. A small gesture of kindness or caring could well give them the strength to carry on.

Cindy Wong, Lam Tin

Sham Shui Po thrives on old world charm

I refer to plans to turn Sham Shui Po into a trendy hub (“Can Sham Shui Po take off as the next fashion and design hub?”, February 24).

Sham Shui Po is one of Hong Kong’s poorest and oldest districts, with its own cultural heritage and a variety of local features and markets, which make it different from other areas dotted with shopping malls.

There’s no denying that Sham Shui Po needs revitalisation, but turning the district into fashion and design hub would destroy the old-world charm that sees it well frequented by locals and tourists.

Yoyo Wong, Kwai Chung