Letters to the Editor, March 26, 2018
Why Trump must heed the folly of Goliath
I am writing in response to John Barry Kotch’s article on the US-North Korea summit (“Trump the enabler?”, March 16).
President Donald Trump has cleared the way by removing his secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, and nominating in his place the CIA chief, Mike Pompeo.
It is expected that Trump loyalist Pompeo, often called the “anti-Tillerson”, will do his job dutifully. Trump has gained the upper hand and, as the illustration to the article shows, is considering whether to handle the Korea situation with a missile or a dove.
The picture reminded me of the seal of the President of the United States: an American bald eagle grasping arrows and olive branches in each set of claws.
However, before he makes a decision on whether to be a hawk or a dove, the US president should make sure he is not underestimating North Korea.
Korean leader Kim Jong-un has prepared meticulously for the talks. Trump may fall into a trap or quicksand. The final showdown between Trump and Kim may be just like the fight between David and Goliath. Never look down upon your opponent: if you do, you will be defeated.
Anything the US does would be scrutinised under the norms of international bodies. America would face condemnation from all quarters if it does something insane. American hands are firmly tied by their own laws drafted by Americans themselves.
The rise of American protectionism and the “ fiery “ rhetoric of the US president could drive the global family to be more sympathetic to the North Koreans.
Therefore, the US should exercise utmost caution in dealing with Kim. Trump could be hailed a hero if he handles this satisfactorily, but a sinner for a thousand years if innocent people are killed.
Lo Wai Kong, Yau Ma Tei
Use surplus to create health card for all
Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po’s announcement last week of HK$4,000 to be distributed in handouts to about 2.8 million Hong Kong residents was reasonable, after the government faced criticism – both public and political – for not allocating enough for the city’s needy in the 2018-19 budget.
The handouts equate to an outlay of HK$11 billion out of the HK$138 billion surplus, and officials have promised little red tape would be involved.
However, take away the political arguments and public pressure, is this money being well spent? To one third of the local residents who qualify for the handouts, the answer is obvious. However, the rest are not so sure. To better share the massive revenue surplus with the population, the Hong Kong government could consider a fast-track health scheme that would benefit all residents, not just any target group.
It could introduce a public health care card, similar to those used in developed countries such as Canada, Australia and the UK.
Presentation of this health card enables the holder to access free or subsidised consultations and treatment at health care facilities or public hospitals.
This is perhaps a better way of returning surplus funds to Hong Kong taxpayers.
Yes, redistribution of the surplus to residents in this way would not be easy, but require thorough and careful planning.
However, no doubt Hong Kong has the resources, as well as human ability and political will, to do it, and do it very well.
Gary Ma, New South Wales
Better image would inspire love for country
I refer to your reports on the future anthem law in Hong Kong.
The national anthem bill is likely to be tabled in the Legislative Council before July, and will include a clause stating that primary and secondary schools would need to teach pupils to sing and understand the history of March of the Volunteers. But the bill is not expected to define what constitutes disrespectful conduct.
I do not believe legislation can really help to inspire greater love for the country, as some people in Hong Kong lack patriotism, and others even discriminate against compatriots from mainland China, because of what they see and hear about the nation.
An anthem law cannot change their attitude towards and impression of mainland China, and make them care more.
To inspire Hongkongers to accept China as their homeland, the authorities should crack down on corrupt individuals and enterprises whose acts can have fatal consequences, such as jerry-built building projects which cannot withstand earthquakes, and the case of the adulterated milk powder which caused the deaths of so many babies, and still makes concerned mainland parents buy or source infant formula from pharmacies in Hong Kong.
If the mainland takes steps to clean up its image, Hongkongers will feel differently about the motherland, and the people can be drawn closer together.
Tse Hoi Tung, Kwai Chung
Hong Kong is last bastion of Cantonese
I share Mr Jason Ng’s concerns about the nation losing its first language, Cantonese (“History will be lost if nation loses Cantonese”, March 20).
As Hongkongers, whether chatting face-to-face or texting, we tend to use Cantonese, not Mandarin. However, we need Mandarin to graduate from university. English is also used by locals for daily communication since we’re a multicultural city. All this is increasingly limiting our chances to use Cantonese.
But Cantonese is a precious cultural heritage of Hong Kong. With Mandarin use expanding in the mainland, Hong Kong is the centre where it can flourish. If we lose Cantonese, what will be left for our next generation to explore?
Cassandra Chan, Lam Tin