Letters to the Editor

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WTO protest

A native Washingtonian, I came to Hong Kong about a decade ago because I could not find a job in the Pacific Northwest. At the time, the unemployment rate here was less than 2 percent, and my university professor’s salary in Hong Kong was twice what I would have earned in the U.S. When I arrived here, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that more than 50 percent of Hong Kong people live in government subsidized housing. They also have free medical care provided by the government, a low crime rate, a flat 15 percent income tax, and excellent education and public transportation systems.

This year Hong Kong was ranked for the sixth year in a row by the Heritage Foundation as the world’s freest economy. I think there is a lesson to be learned here — namely, that free trade and capitalist economies have immediate, direct benefits for ordinary people, not just big corporations. So, when I saw protestors on television in Seattle yelling, “Down with capitalism!” and opposing liberalized trade, I could not help questioning the depth of their understanding. If opponents of the WTO are concerned about the effects of capitalism on the environment, then I invite them to tour China, which has nine of the most 10 polluted cities in the world — and a socialist economy, I might add.

Name withheld by request
Sha Tin

Local film industry

I would like to express my disappointment with the Hong Kong film industry. The Hong Kong film industry in now at its ebb and it has been there for a long time. Unfortunately, no one knows when it will shine again like it did in the ‘80s.

Recently, Anna and the King has become the talk of the town. Why? Is it only because it is another one of Mr. Chow’s Hollywood movies? Superstar Jackie Chan has repeatedly said that local movies could be good movies and he always claimed that his productions were up to standard. However, I wonder how many of them are of good quality. If you just flip through the film reviews, it is not difficult to see that local productions do not score very good marks.

To rescue the industry, there has been a reduction of prices for tickets, but to little avail. It’s not difficult to understand why. Just think: Why should people go out and pay $30 for a bad movie if they can stay at home and watch bad television programmes for nothing?

M. L. Yan
Wong Tai Sin

Not yet a millennium

There is a general misconception about the correct date for the beginning of the new millennium.

As many people have finished celebrating the coming of such a “great” day, few of them think that the new millennium should begin on 1 January 2001 instead of 2000. An article in Varsity (May 1999) pointed this out: “The year 2000 has generally been mistaken as the beginning of the 21st century, but actually it is the last year of the 20th century.”(May issue, 1999)

I just cannot understand why many people are going to celebrate a false beginning of a new century.

In my opinion, people should rethink what others are doing instead of just following what others do. In the case of celebrating the coming of the 21st century, it is obvious that not many will stop and think about if year 2000 is really the first year of the new century.

I also heard one of my friends say, “If everyone is doing the same thing, why shouldn’t we follow?” I feel very disappointed about his opinion.

Ada Wong
Ma On Shan

A forgettable New Year’s Eve

I would like to express my disappointment about the celebration event organized by the government on New Year’s Eve.

First, the show that night was more like a concert than a New Year’s celebration variety show. All night long, singers came up and sang new songs. This is totally meaningless. Why didn’t they have a review of the important things that happened in the 20th century? Or why didn’t they talk about the important people of the century?

Also, I cannot see why they organized horse racing just after the countdown. On that night, I asked my friends what were their New Year’s resolutions, and all of them said they would like to win a horse race. I felt really sad when I heard their answers. It was the beginning of a new century and all Hong Kong people were thinking about was gambling. I think the government really made a big mistake in organizing a horse race after the countdown.

Although I probably will not live to see the next century come, I still hope the government will do something really meaningful in the celebration.

Name withheld by request
Chai Wan

Distribution of hostel places

I would like to express my anger about the distribution of hostel places in Shaw College at the Chinese University.

I live in Sham Shui Po. Although it is not very far away from the campus, I have to go home late at night very often because I have to stay on the campus to do my homework. Going home late at night on my own is very dangerous. However, the college did not take my situation very seriously and I ended up having no hostel space. I feel very disappointed by the marking system of the college.

When I appealed, they should not have just focussed on how far I live, but the actual situation. If they just consider how far one lives, what is the purpose of having the appeal system?

I suggest that the college should really take students’ situations into account and consider each and every individual case carefully and thoroughly.

I know that I am not the only one who suffers from the poor system and I really would like the college to think about my suggestions and to improve it.

Name withheld by request
Sham Shui Po

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