PUBLISHED : Saturday, 28 July, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 28 July, 2012, 12:00am


Why close Airport Express?

Like many people, my travel arrangements were significantly affected by Severe Typhoon Vicente on Tuesday.

I can understand some of the chaos and logistical problems at Chek Lap Kok as the airport operators cleared flight backlogs and grappled with lack of parking bays for arriving flights. My flight from Shanghai was delayed for six hours and I waited more than an hour at Hong Kong airport before I could get off the plane. This is somewhat understandable.

What I don't understand is that the Airport Express still shut down just before 1am when there were thousands of passengers trying to leave the airport and get home or to their hotels.

My business guest who arrived from Tokyo on Tuesday evening experienced massive transportation chaos at the airport trying to get to his hotel in Admiralty, and this is completely unnecessary.

He landed before midnight and got to Admiralty at 4am because there were no transport options at the airport. He managed to get to his hotel only through luck. Moreover, he is a frequent traveller to Hong Kong and knows his way around.

Can the MTR Corporation explain why the Airport Express can't run throughout the night when there are thousands of stranded people at the airport?

This is outrageous and reflects very poorly on Hong Kong and its disaster planning. It seems to me that some simple foresight could alleviate a lot of inconvenience and stress for people travelling and using our world-class airport.

Francis Tjia, Pok Fu Lam

Services worked well in conditions

I wonder how many other readers are as fed up with the media's obsession with moaning about just about everything?

As if the childish and prolonged preoccupation with illegal structures was not enough, Wednesday's South China Morning Post was littered with insinuations of incompetence following Severe Typhoon Vicente.

This was the worst typhoon to hit Hong Kong in 13 years and the Civil Aid Service and other departments reacted with their customary speed and diligence and the city was up and running again as soon as typhoon signal No 8 came down.

If some travellers and commuters had to stay on a plane or in an MTR station for a few hours for safety reasons, that is unfortunate, but better that than risk injury. The MTR and Dragonair ('Trapped for six hours on plane', June 25) were surely correct in acting as they did.

We should be proud of the city's ability to respond so efficiently and the media (this newspaper included) should devote more space to publicising and acclaiming the work of the emergency services robustly and with enthusiasm, rather than leaning towards denigration whenever the opportunity arises.

Christopher Lavender, Mid-Levels

Empty cars a sign of city's selfishness

On Tuesday morning in the aftermath of the typhoon, I walked to Repulse Bay hoping to find public transport to Central.

While waiting for an improbable bus, people sweating at the bus stop had a clear illustration of Hongkongers' selfishness.

Before I gave up, more than 100 cars, most of them with just the driver, passed by showing a total lack of interest in the plight of pedestrians.

It is no surprise, then, to see this city struggling to cope with major social issues when such simple acts of solidarity are ignored.

G. Baron, South Bay

Beijing needs 21st century sewerage

The article by Wang Xiangwei ('A natural disaster made worse by underfunding', July 23) on the need for improved urban planning for Beijing, especially in its underground sewage system, deserves the critical attention of the city's leaders.

With its 1,000-year history and its 20 million residents, Beijing is a world-class city. But the heavy rains and floods that recently inundated its ring roads, causing massive traffic jams and disruption to city life, should impel the city authorities, with the support of the central government, to expedite the modernisation of the city's sewage system.

As China embarks on its 12th five-year plan to modernise the country, surely the urgent need to provide the capital with a 21st century sewage system should not be overlooked or delayed.

Hong Kong's seven million residents enjoy an efficient and sustainable sewage system that keeps road flooding and traffic disruption to the minimum, especially during typhoons and black rainstorms.

The ultimate aim is to protect life and property, and to allow residents to enjoy a better quality of life.

I first visited Beijing in May 1950 and stayed there for about a month. My admiration for and warmth towards Beijing and its people remain undiminished.

I truly hope that Beijing will have in the foreseeable future a sewage system that matches its status as the capital of China, a country with 1.3 billion citizens.

Hilton Cheong-Leen, To Kwa Wan

Cable TV's Olympics own goal

All the talk and newspaper space in the past month regarding Olympic Games coverage on local stations made me hopeful of Cable TV getting it right.

I tuned in on Wednesday night and again on Thursday morning to watch the ladies' soccer matches. I was soon looking for the red card as there was no English commentary.

I pay a hefty monthly fee to Cable TV for its service so I complained to its customer services representative about the commentary.

I was later informed by Cable that its English commentary will be limited for the duration of the Games. This has left me totally disgusted with the company.

Ian Marriott, Pok Fu Lam

Traditional virtues still valid today

Every government will strive to cultivate a sense of national identity in the younger generation.

This is understandable. In Hong Kong, people are not so much worried about why national education should be taught, but about what is to be taught.

Some parents, teachers and schools are not expressing outright opposition to the introduction of the subject, but want modifications to the curriculum that has been proposed by the Education Bureau.

There is a need to present a comprehensive picture of our motherland to the next generation. However, I believe it is also important to reintroduce teaching in the classroom of the positive aspects of Chinese culture. Courtesy, politeness, respect for elders, caring for the neighbourhood, protection of nature, to name a few, are virtues in Chinese culture to be valued.

After all, the subject is to be called civic and national education. There is no lack of elites in Hong Kong, but how about elites with integrity, free from corruption and dishonesty and not having a home with illegal structures?

Recent controversies might offer an opportunity for us to reconsider the goodness of our nation, and where exactly national identity comes from.

Iris Yu, Diamond Hill

Department will enforce smoking ban

I refer to Pang Chi-ming's letter ('Officials need to enforce smoking ban', July 14).

We share your correspondent's view that cooked food centres and public markets should be kept smoke-free.

To achieve this, authorised staff of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department will take enforcement actions whenever smoking activities are spotted during their daily patrols.

Furthermore, joint blitz operations with the Tobacco Control Office to further deter people from smoking are being arranged in these venues from time to time.

To remind market-goers and diners, warning notices as well as life-size signs featuring tobacco control inspectors are also displayed at conspicuous places, such as lift lobbies and along the escalators. This is what is being done in the Shek Wu Hui Market Cooked Food Centre in Sheung Shui, the centre referred to by your correspondent.

We will continue to take appropriate actions to keep cooked food centres smoke-free.

Chu Kam-chong, district environmental hygiene superintendent (North), Food and Environmental Hygiene Department