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February 2012
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April 2012

Despicable foreigners (again)

Is the SCMP really so short of letters to publish that it can always find room for the incoherent ranting of Pierce Lam?

This time he seems determined to make a more general point about a single incident in an under 12 football match.  You won’t be surprised to hear that the player who committed the foul was Caucasian and playing for an ESF team. 

Probe kick incident thoroughly

South China Morning Post - Mar 31, 2012

Your editorial ("Adults must set sporting example", March 21) prevaricates and is clearly partial.

To provide a context for the attack [at a schoolboy soccer game], it referred to circumstances not captured in the video, by referring to emotions that swelled on the losing side - the players, their parents and the coach who were losing hope over the game.

Overenthusiastic parents and coaches are not uncommon in all kinds of junior competitions that take place all over the world every day.

The main issue that your editorial sidestepped is why such a common experience of immense pressure to win resulted in such unusual violence in Hong Kong.  The comment about "parents rushing onto the pitch and getting into a shoving match with the coach" after the assault is misleading and irrelevant.

Why is it misleading and irrelevant?

It was imperative, and not just sensible, that concerned parents intervene in an unfair game that had turned violent, especially as neither the referees nor the losing team's coach commanded confidence. All along, Kitchee Escola played a graceful and very respectable game.

Was Pierce Lam there at the game?  Or has he just watched a video on You Tube that has been edited to highlight the fouls committed by the ESF team?

The culpable English Schools Foundation Lions boy was a scapegoat if, as your editorial alleged, he "paid the penalty", although he "would not have harmed a fellow player and gained notoriety had those around him set the right example". Who are these real but unpunished hidden culprits?

Surely the SCMP meant the parents at the game.

Ben Lam Chan-bun, a spokesman for the league to which the two teams belonged, tried to wrap up the horrific incident, saying that Kitchee "only wanted an apology" and that "we don't want to cause any trouble with the ESF; we know they are good schools" ("Shock at head-kicking in boys' soccer match", March 13). This is a grossly myopic and irresponsible attitude.

The parents and members of the winning team demonstrated remarkable self-restraint, and we must ensure that we will see justice fairly administered in the head-kicking case.

The kicking incident was not a private issue between two boys or two teams.

Really? Oh yes, because Pierce Lam hates the English Schools Foundation (ESF) and wants it closed down.

Both Hong Kong and the world at large are concerned about the question posted in the headline of Jamie Spence's letter ("What is root of violence in junior sport?" March 16).

I don't think a similar kicking incident would happen in Singapore, Tokyo or Shanghai, so why Hong Kong? To prevent a similar incident from happening here in the future, the concerned parties must investigate the case thoroughly and report their findings to the public.

Pierce Lam, Central

Does Mr Lam have any evidence to support his assertion that this would not happen in Singapore, Tokyo or Shanghai?  I don’t think so.   

All fingers and thumbs

What is with people and their mobile phones?  There was a crazy woman in the airport today, chattering away on her phone whilst trying to complete the normally unchallenging business of getting through the automated immigration channel.

You might think that putting your thumb on the reader would be easy enough, but this half-wit put her index finger down instead.  Not just once, but three times.  And with long pauses inbetween, whilst she talked on her phone.

Eventually the Immigration Officer came and escorted her out.  I think they should refuse entry to anyone without the wit to know the difference between their thumb and forefinger.

More mad letters

I don’t know whether to laugh or scream when reading the nonsense some people write in letter to the SCMP.  Cynthia Sze is one of the small group who are occupied on a full-time campaign to remind us of the horrors of Hong Kong’s colonial past.  This is ever so slightly undermined by the hysterical language they use.  Here is one of her recent efforts (the last letter, at the bottom, from today’s SCMP)

Hire nurses from the Philippines

Since the Philippines has not had the good fortune of being a former colony of Britain, or of Australia, should Hong Kong not consider hiring Filipino nurses because of their second-rate US-style medical training?

Roger Philips implies this and is entitled to his opinion ('British degree is superior', February 14) in reply to my letter ('Hire Filipino nurses to cure shortage', February 11).

My point is that there is a simple solution to the city's perennial nursing shortage by hiring Filipino nurses, as has been done with domestic workers over the past few decades.

Isabel Escoda, Lantau

Nurses need professional dignity

I refer to the letters of Melody Wong Wing-fong ('Shortage problem can be solved', February 23) and Isabel Escoda ('Hire nurses from the Philippines', February 23).

Ms Wong rightly notes the importance of moral education in our nurses' training.

To discharge their duties well, health care personnel need professional dignity and a socially relevant self-image.

Since Hong Kong's reunion with China, we have been proudly committed to full decolonisation within the Basic Law's 50-year term.

We don't want Filipino nurses if they, like Ms Escoda, are besieged by a colonial malaise of self-doubt.

Instead of showing us why the professional quality of Filipino nurses is reliable, she diverts attention to her doubt about whether the Filipinos could have been better educated if their nation had been colonised by Britain and not the US. We mustn't suffer such servitude in our health care professionals.

Cynthia Sze, Quarry Bay

Grateful to Filipinos who nursed dad

Isabel Escoda suggests that Hong Kong should recruit nurses from the Philippines ('Hire nurses from the Philippines', February 23).

In 2006, when my late father underwent serious surgery in Leeds General Infirmary in England, he was looked after by several nurses, some of whom were from the Philippines.

I remember with gratitude the deep care and affection shown to him by the Filipino intensive care nurse as he lay unconscious after his surgery.

His own observations were that the Filipino nurses were 'lovely people' who did a 'great job' and 'they can't half sing'.

If Britain's National Health Service thinks nurses from the Philippines have what it takes, then surely they have what it takes to work in Hong Kong.

Mark Ranson, Sai Kung

No substitute for nurses' compassion

I refer to the letter by Cynthia Sze ('Nurses need professional dignity,' March 3).

Irony is apparently lost on your correspondent since she misconstrued my suggestion that Hong Kong could do with Filipino nurses ('Hire nurses from the Philippines', February 23), despite their having what Roger Phillips declares is just second-rate US-style medical training ('More depth to British first degrees,' March 2).

More irony is reflected in a report about National Health Service staff in Essex being given courses in compassion. Compassion can't be taught, but the TLC in Filipino nurses' genes is reflected in Mark Ranson's description of the tender loving care his late father received from his nurse ('Grateful to Filipinos who nursed dad,' March 3).

Isabel Escoda, Lantau

Genes claim has no basis in science

I read with interest Isabel Escoda's allegation about TLC in "Filipino nurses' genes" ("No substitute for nurses' compassion", March 14).

What we, peoples of various races, all have in our genes is DNA. Genetic stereotyping based on anecdotes is anathema. Lieutenant William Calley's premeditated murder of innocent Vietnamese villagers at My Lai is no more a proof of murderous genes in Americans than any allegation of a good Filipino nurse at a British hospital is proof of compassion in Filipino genes.

It makes no sense to generalise anecdotes. For every positive example, there is at least a counter-example.

Cynthia Sze, Quarry Bay

All business to London

Oasis tried to convince us that it was the world’s first long-haul budget airline.  It wasn’t, and it went bust.

The one area where Oasis had a competitive product was Business Class.  Substantially cheaper than its competitors, for a perfectly reasonable old-style seat and good service.

Enter Hong Kong Airlines with a new service from Hong Kong to London Gatwick.  They are operating Airbus A330s with 116 seats in two classes: “Club Classic” is old-style business class with fares roughly equivalent to Premium Economy; and “Club Premier” which provides flat-bed seats at a lower price than Business Class on BA, Cathay or Virgin.

The airline is well-established and has much stronger financial backing than Oasis, so there is no risk of them going bankrupt, but it remains to be seen whether it will be successful.  Gatwick is a smaller airport than Heathrow, which can be good (less time spent in the airport) or bad (if you want a big choice of connecting flights). 

If you are travelling to Central London there’s no big difference – both airports have fast train services to a London terminus (and slower, cheaper, stopping services).  Heathrow is on the tube network, but Gatwick has direct train services to various locations to the south.  Both are next to motorways (M25 & M4 for Heathrow, M23 for Gatwick), so it really depends where you want to go.

Meanwhile, Cathay has started adding Premium Economy cabins to its long-haul flights.  Virgin Atlantic has been offering Premium Economy between Hong Kong and London for 18 years, and British Airways has also been offering it for many years, so what took Cathay so long?