Following is the speech by the Secretary for Home Affairs, Dr Patrick Ho, at a press conference today (June 18) to launch the public consultation exercise on commemorating the spirit of Hong Kong in the SARS crisis (English only):
The Chief Executive announced on May 28 the setting up of an advisory committee to gather opinions from all sectors of the community with a view to finding a permanent way to commemorate the spirit of Hong Kong demonstrated in the SARS crisis.
The advisory committee met on June 12 and it was agreed that the community will be widely consulted.
Today we publish a consultative document to gather views on three topics:
- What sort of Hong Kong spirit has been demonstrated in the SARS crisis?
- What are the appropriate ways to commemorate the spirit of Hong Kong?
- When will be the suitable time to commemorate this spirit?
In this crisis, Hong Kong has shown to the world that we are a society of professionalism, caring with solidarity, good sense of public hygiene, civil and highly transparent.
The advisory committee has proposed various forms of commemoration:
- A day on which activities, such as a cleansing day, will be organized.
- A memorial plaque or a construction be put up in memory of the spirit of Hong Kong.
- Recording of SARS stories - many touching stories during the crisis can be recorded in books, documentaries, video disks or other forms of artistic creation.
- A hospital, a park, a street, a pavilion or other buildings be named after those who have sacrificed or made great contributions in the crisis.
- Setting up of scholarships or trust funds to encourage medical research or to train medical staff.
- Honours and decorations - whether making use of the existing system or the creation of a particular class of decorations.
Members of the advisory committee also have different views on when should be the appropriate time to commemorate Hong Kong's fighting spirit against SARS. However, now is the appropriate time to begin discussion and to gather opinions so that when the time comes we will be fully prepared.
Residents can forward their views to us by July 10. They can do so by fax, e-mail or in writing.
We will organize three public forums next week to gather views from the public.
End/Wednesday, June 18, 2003