PUBLISHED : Monday, 30 July, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 30 July, 2012, 12:00am


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Leung must solve housing problems

As a keen supporter of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, I agree with those commentators who have asked him to be given the chance to do his job.

Whether it was a superficial gesture or he genuinely cares, Mr Leung has tried to reach out to the people of Hong Kong.

I am counting on him to implement policies which will help my children have a home of their own. I know my grown-up children's needs. They find it hard to support themselves. They earn a decent salary but it all goes on rent. My eldest son lives in a 280 sq ft room with four family members.

Contrast that with former chief secretary Donald Tsang Yam-kuen who stayed in spacious hotel rooms during overseas trips without giving a thought to the cramped living conditions of so many Hong Kong citizens. This was not a wise use of taxpayers' money. He always hid behind his church, saying he was praying for the people of Hong Kong.

Given Mr Tsang's track record, it is now time to allow Mr Leung an opportunity to implement his policies. Critics say he has no experience in government. Mr Tsang had that experience but did not govern well. And there are some government departments that are inefficient and waste our money on unnecessary projects.

Now we have a new government and we must allow Mr Leung to concentrate on his job.

Joey S. Tong, Wan Chai

Rainwater resource has limitations

We appreciate Professor Wyss Yim's observations in his letter ('By using much more rainwater, Hong Kong can reduce imports from Guangdong', July 16).

We are exploring various initiatives regarding the utilisation and protection of local water resources.

About one-third of Hong Kong, mostly within the country parks, is gazetted as water gathering grounds, supplying on average some 295 million cubic metres of rainwater annually for local use through our catchment facilities.

The rest of Hong Kong is mostly urbanised or developed, where rainwater is not able to infiltrate to the subsoil and the surface run-off may contain too many impurities for viable economic use. Nonetheless, we have implemented trials to harvest rainwater in areas outside the water gathering grounds for non-potable applications to boost utilisation of this resource.

Regarding greater use of groundwater, hydro-geological studies revealed the presence of groundwater in the joints and fractures of our volcanic rocks, but significant water flow cannot be sustained from this source over long periods. The volume of groundwater in sediments has been assessed as too little to be significant.

Studies concluded that while water supplies for small villages or local irrigation could be obtained from sediments, the quantities available would be too little to warrant development of groundwater as a quantifiable resource. The use of groundwater may also have a detrimental impact on buildings and local ecology, causing pollution problems in the lower reaches of streams.

With limited water resources, we would like to see enhanced efforts in the community towards water conservation while also exploring the use of new water resources. With these goals in mind, we initiated the Total Water Management strategy in 2008, and will maintain our efforts to ensure a secure and reliable water supply for Hong Kong, including the further evaluation of alternative water resources as warranted.

Gabriel Pang, senior engineer/public relations, Water Supplies Department

Misguided view of violent films

I refer to Kelly Yang's column ('Time to rethink Hollywood culture of violence', July 25).

It's disappointing to see Ms Yang blame films like The Matrix and A Clockwork Orange for violent crime. This is such a typical knee-jerk response from people who seem to have no understanding of crime statistics. According to the FBI, violent crime is now at an all time low in the US. It would be nice for Ms Yang to stop blaming films for inspiring violence when 99 per cent of healthy adults can tell the difference between fantasy and reality.

Just because she will not watch certain films and TV programmes doesn't mean she needs to ruin it for the rest of us by encouraging self-censorship.

Peter Call, Wan Chai

Publishers should strike a balance

As textbook prices keep rising, parents have to dig deeper in their pockets to buy those books which are compulsory for primary and secondary schools.

Because of the financial burden, it is high time unscrupulous textbook publishers thought about corporate social responsibility. It is immoral for them to make astronomical profits at the expense of families from the grass roots of society.

These firms have even sought to maximise profits through the New Senior Secondary curriculum. They keep producing new editions but frequently these books contain only minor changes. In some cases, there may only be alterations to the dust jacket and some illustrations, but parents are forced to purchase it even though their children could do just as well with an older edition purchased in a second-hand shop.

Some grass-roots families cannot afford the high prices and their children are deprived of important learning material. I appreciate that publishers are running a business and need to make a profit, but they must accept that they are providing books to young people, some of whom will become tomorrow's leaders.

These publishers must strike the right balance. While they are entitled to make profits, they also must shoulder their responsibility to the community.

The government should stipulate that the price rises cannot exceed the rate of inflation. It should also ensure that books can be bought by schools from public funds and distributed to students. But publishers must also voluntarily play their part when it comes to pricing.

Cheung Chun-pui, Ma On Shan

National education already exists

I do not think it is necessary to introduce what is, in effect, a 'patriotic education' course into our schools.

Students already get national education during their history lessons.

I know of no similar courses being taught in schools in Britain or Germany and yet their citizens love their country.

The best way to judge a nation is through an honest evaluation of its history.

Knowledge is the key and it is something that can be shared by all nations and races and can transcend language differences.

Given the fact that Hong Kong is so prosperous, we should have a much better education system.

Why is it that so many senior government officials have sent their children abroad to study or enrolled them in one of Hong Kong's private international schools?

I would like the government to disclose how many of these officials have taken this course of action. If our education system is so good, why don't they enrol their own children in our local schools?

As I said, we should forget this new national education course. Let pupils study history through courses that already exist.

That is the best form of education for our children.

Tommy F. K. Hui, North Point

Differing views of renaissance

Barry Sautman ('Time for rethink of China view', July 20) misses the point of my letter ('China has not yet had 'renaissance'', July 13) deploring Alex Lo's claim in his column that Hong Kong people were failing to recognise China's current 'renaissance'.

In searching for a definition of 'Chinese renaissance' I provided not my own, as your correspondent suggests, but rather that proposed by Hu Shih (1891-1962), probably the greatest Chinese intellectual of the last century. And he remains one of the most influential intellectuals, not least in China.

It is odd to me that Professor Sautman does not mention him.

Hu insisted that freedom and democracy were integral to renaissance, and I agree.

Professor Sautman points out that economic development can take place without them, at least for a while.

This is true enough. But Lo was not deploring the failure to admire China's growth.

He was suggesting that growth equals renaissance, a view that Hu Shih rejected, as do I, and as too, evidently, do the people of Hong Kong.

Arthur Waldron, lauder professor of international relations, University of Pennsylvania, US