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Aggressive protests bound to backfire on abode seekers .pdf


Original filename: Aggressive protests bound to backfire on abode seekers.pdf
Title: SCMP_com - the online edition of South China Morning Post, Hong Kong's premier English-language newspaper

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1/18/2011

SCMP.com - the online edition of South…

Aggressive protests bound to backfire
on abode seekers
Updated on Jun 27, 2006

It would be unwise for right-of-abode parents to step up their protests
against the government in their fight to bring their mainland-born children to
Hong Kong, as they have threatened to do.

Since the handover, right-of-abode seekers have resorted to aggressive
actions, including an arson attack at the Immigration Tower in 2000 that
left two people dead.
Such actions provoke a negative response from Hong Kong people. They
also provide an opportunity for condemnation from the government.
Therefore, even if the parents' grievances are justified, the perception is
created that they are a mob and their fight is illegitimate.
Instead, the frustrated parents of abode seekers should make an effort to
win public support. They should highlight the advantages of bringing their
children to live in Hong Kong.
For example, they could argue that allowing their children to join them will
provide a boost for schools faced with closure, thanks to declining student
numbers. Abode seekers would also help to ease the social problems
threatened by an ageing population. The public would support these
arguments, and be more sympathetic. This, in turn, might prompt the
government to rethink the issue, leading to a resolution.
ERIC CHU, Tsing Yi
Long march to nowhere
It is welcome news that Anson Chan Fang On-sang has decided join prodemocrats on the July 1 march ('Anson Chan teams with democrats on
suffrage', June 26). But while I admire the former chief secretary for
having the guts to voice her opinions, she will not affect the result of the
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chief executive election.

Of course, it is unlikely Mrs Chan will run for chief executive. The chances
are close to zero, according to political analysts. Even if she did, the
chances of her winning are nil, under the current unfair electoral system.
However, if she did take part and she won, democracy would remain an
illusion, given the fact that Hong Kong's fate is in the hands of the central
government. Still, to quote Stephen Hawking on his recent visit: 'While
there's life, there is hope.'
PETER WEI, Kwun Tong
Rubbish ruins blue idyll
Days of clear blue skies have taken the place of the recent heavy rain.
Taking advantage of the superb weather and clean air, a group of friends
organised a boat trip out to the south side of Hong Kong.
From where we anchored near Stanley Prison, we saw a seemingly
undisturbed and tranquil beach. However, as the adults and children
swam excitedly towards the shore, we began to hesitate. The perfect
setting - sunny skies, fine sand, clear water - was destroyed by the
floating debris, mostly plastic and other non-biodegradable rubbish,
around us and on the beach.
It is high time that Hong Kong had a mandatory recycling programme. If
we cleaned up all our beaches, Hong Kong could be fine destination for
tourists looking to soak up the sun.
RONNA CHAO HEFFNER, Kowloon Tong
Dereliction of duty
I cannot decide whom I find more contemptible: Donald Tsang Yam-kuen
and the administration for ramming the Tamar project through or the
Legislative Council for having given him $5.2 billion of taxpayers' money to
finance it.
If all the letters the South China Morning Post has printed concerning the
Tamar project are even vaguely representative of public sentiment, it is a
gross dereliction of duty that our legislature should have approved this
funding. It shows that lawmakers are just as self-serving and out of touch
as the government.
I would be interested to know where the 10 absentee voters of the Legco
Finance Committee were. Was the issue not sufficiently important to take
priority over other appointments?
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They are, presumably, the same legislators who Albert Cheng King-hon
argued should get an outrageous 70per cent pay rise in his opinion-page
piece the following morning ('Good work deserves good pay', June24).
To quote Mr Cheng: 'If legislators are too timid to seek public support for
their pay rise, how can the public be assured that their representatives will
fight for their rights?'
Fight for their rights, Mr Cheng? It is very clear that they have no intention
of doing any such thing. They do not appear to represent anyone but
themselves.
A final point to consider: such blatantly misleading claims as Mr Tsang's
'70 per cent public support' would find the head of government in a
democracy fighting to keep his job. If a company tried to raise funds using
such claims, its directors would end up in jail.
TIM GALLAGHER, Causeway Bay
Top-class campaigners
Executive councillor Bernard Chan's comments in 'Making the most of
Tamar' (June 23) give the impression that it is somehow suspect for
middle-class, overseas-educated members of the community to getting
involved in community action. His reference to 'expatriates' seems
intended to raise a hiss from readers, too.
However, he is ignoring history. Many of the best-known social changes in
China, Russia, France and the United States (to list the obvious) were
started by just such middle-class community members, and they almost
always included a smattering of non-locals. Even the Chinese revolutions
of the 1910s and 1920s included a few foreigners.
Not that the Tamar campaigners are calling for a revolution - don't get me
wrong. Rather, they have been working their tails off simply to offer options
to the government's badly produced and poorly justified plans.
Mr Chan suggests that the community does not support the 'activists', but
the evidence collected after the chief executive made a similar comment
suggests the opposite.
He also suggests that activists should work with the government in the
months ahead. Trust us, Mr Chan, that is all we have ever wanted to do,
but it takes two to tango. If anything at all has come out of the continuing
harbourfront campaigns, it is that community involvement in civic projects
is essential.
The old model of pre-1990s 'consultation' is dead and gone, and for that I

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believe you can thank the middle-class, overseas-educated campaigners
and the thousands of community members who supported them on
Tamar. And by the way, Mr Chan, you'd be amazed how little some of
them are paid.
JOHN BOWDEN, Save Our Shorelines
Judicial integrity safe
In his article 'Guarding judicial independence' (June 23), Greg So argues
that the revelation that two members of the Civic Party are part-time
judges raises fears for the integrity of our judicial system.
However, the United Nations' Basic Principles on the Independence of the
Judiciary, adopted in 1985, affirms that members of the judiciary are 'like
ordinary citizens, entitled to freedom of expression, belief, association and
assembly', provided their conduct does not undermine judicial
independence. In Britain, a part-time judge, or recorder, can even be a
member of parliament.
We have to make a distinction between part- and full-time judges. A parttime judge is still a full-time lawyer and will resume his or her legal
practice after the judicial appointment. If the political background of parttime judges does not undermine people's confidence in the British legal
system, I cannot see why it should here.
ALAN WONG, Wan Chai
More than a provider
As a father-to-be, I feel rather upset by Helen Wong's letter 'Paternity leave
unfair' (June 23). I know that many people in Hong Kong consider a baby
the sole responsibility of the mother. The father, if lucky, gets to see the
baby in the evening after coming home from work late, and his role
appears merely to make sure there is enough money on the table. I think
this is very sad.
But to come back to Ms Wong's letter, I would like to turn her reasoning
around. Having a baby is very much a couple's choice. Looking after a
family is their choice, not their employers'. Therefore, a mother-to-be
should be allowed to take maternity leave only if her duties will not have to
be shouldered by her colleagues and her employer's operations will not be
affected.
Sounds reasonable, does it, Ms Wong? Now explain to my wife that she
should take only a day or two of annual leave to give birth.
This is not physically possible. Therefore, there is maternity leave, which

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means my wife's colleagues will have to do her job, and her company will
have to pay her salary while she is away.
Three to five days' paternity leave would be a great recognition that fathers
do have a role to play in families other than bringing in the money. It may
sound unbelievable, Ms Wong, but fathers care about their wives and
children, and would love to have some time to care for them.
WOUTER VAN MARLE, Hunghom

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