PUBLISHED : Saturday, 04 August, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 15 August, 2012, 10:58pm


Airport train must stop in typhoon 10

I would like to thank Francis Tjia for his letter asking why Airport Express services were not extended during Severe Typhoon Vicente ('Why close Airport Express?' July 28).

We understand that passengers would feel frustrated if they were not able to get home.

However, I wish to emphasise that the safety of our passengers and our staff was - and always is - our first priority. Typhoon Vicente was the most severe typhoon to hit Hong Kong in 13 years, requiring the issuing of the No 10 hurricane signal late on Monday night.

Airport Express tracks are mostly along open sections close to sea and the Airport Express is vulnerable to adverse weather conditions. In fact, out of safety concerns, service of the Airport Express will be suspended when the No 10 hurricane signal is issued.

Airport Express services were still maintained at 12-minute intervals on the night of the typhoon between AsiaWorld-Expo and Hong Kong stations until the Observatory raised the No 10 signal. The service returned to normal on Tuesday morning.

We wish to thank passengers for their patience and understanding of the difficult situation during the storm. We also hope they would understand that the MTR always regards the safety of passengers and our staff as our top priority.

Kendrew Wong, media relations manager, MTR Corporation Ltd

Olympics give Chinese citizens pride

There has been growing concern over the implementation of national education in Hong Kong's schools.

However, despite the misgivings of some people, it is hard not to acknowledge China's achievements at the London Olympics.

The country has stunned the world by growing into an athletics powerhouse, as can be seen by its position in the medals table.

The admiration we feel for our national athletes is not a fleeting emotion, so common in an era where people have such short attention spans.

We appreciate that this sporting success is a genuine story of the underdog facing adversity and coming through to triumph. These are inspirational stories, because these Olympic athletes have proved the sceptics wrong and faced their challenges.

Leaving other areas aside and focusing only on the sports scene, I take pride in saying the words, 'I am a Chinese citizen.'

Samantha Datwani, Pok Fu Lam

Hostility to course is unjustified

It seems that nowadays in Hong Kong, every government proposal will encounter opposition, and national education is no exception. Some parents and students seem to have been easily manipulated by powerful groups talking about brainwashing.

I began my education in a Christian primary school and went to a Christian college but I have not become a Christian.

If we assume national education will lead to brainwashing, then why has this not happened with other subjects? The course allows teachers and students to discuss the changes that have occurred in our motherland.

'One country, two systems' does not mean we exist in a shell cut off from external influences.

Adopting a hostile attitude towards the government and motherland will make our children stubborn and arrogant and they will find it difficult to get on with people coming from the mainland. If this happens, who will be the ones losing out?

Tommy Chan Tam-yee, Sai Ying Pun

Professionals should head departments

The announcement that the new director of lands will be Bernadette Linn Hon-ho, the former private secretary to the last chief executive, indicates everything that is wrong in the current structure of government.

I know nothing about Ms Linn, but suspect that she also knows nothing about land matters.

How can a professional department function properly when administrative officers are parachuted in like this? It has now become a trend in government.

Professional departments should maintain their independence and be there to advise the bureaus on professional matters, and administrative officers should be confined to the bureaus where they can judge how to deal with that advice.

Bringing in someone who may be very talented academically but who knows nothing about professional issues ( which professionals have spent many years in training to deal with) can only be detrimental to the functioning of that department.

Whatever happened to succession planning in these departments where professionals with proven ability could rise to the top ?

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, as a professional surveyor, should appreciate that this is wrong, and if he wants to improve the structure of his government, he should give all professional departments back to the professionals, and all administrative officers should stay within the bureaus.

Allan Hay, Tai Po

New store might disrupt pedestrians

I read with great delight about the opening on August 11 of Abercrombie & Fitch's flagship Hong Kong store in Central ('Double delight as Sandro, Abercrombie head to HK', July 30).

While this will have a positive impact on the economy, I am concerned about the impact on pedestrian traffic.

With a limited-edition photo album featuring 'Abercrombie's best looking models' for the 'first 50 people in line', it would be no surprise to see the area around Pedder Street being overrun.

Would police, the relevant government department and the store's management explain what contingency measures are in place to ensure the free flow of pedestrians?

D. Lai, Yau Ma Tei

Hold errant bankers accountable

It is interesting to see that HSBC made headlines on both your front and back pages on July 31, with the report, 'HSBC says sorry for 'shameful mistakes'', and Tom Holland's column ('HSBC can't avoid Senate's rocket-propelled grenade') regarding the bank's 'lax anti-money-laundering controls'.

We read of provisions to pay fines in America for lax compliance and provisions to reimburse clients in Britain for mis-selling insurance. And there was also mention of the 'investigations around the [fixing of the] London interbank offered rate [Libor]'.

In all this, it appears that nobody has or will face criminal charges. Just pay the fine, say you will put in more controls (whether you do or not) and we move on to the next scandal.

Of course the people who perpetrated the wrongdoing or the senior managers and executives do not pay the fines. Such payments are made at the expense of profits and dividends to the shareholders.

When are the authorities, in any country, going to actually hold some of these bankers personally accountable for their actions?

Michael Jenkins, Central

Cultural park should be for arts groups

I refer to the letter from Garmen Chan, of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority ('Events aimed to get people used to attending West Kowloon arts hub', July 17), in reply to my letter ('Winter event not suitable for arts hub', July 12).

He listed a number of planned events and some that had taken place.

I would question the wisdom of holding the Mobile M+ exhibition in Yau Ma Tei. Why not at the arts hub site, under a marquee or inflatable tent? People will come if there are good shows.

Checking the cultural district website, I note there are no programmes for the next few months.

I feel the authority is taking the easy way out, the typical Hong Kong way of making money from property by leasing out the site to non-cultural operators who can afford to pay a high rent. This runs counter to its assigned mission of promoting culture for Hong Kong.

The authority is now sitting on HK$23 billion (HK$21.6 billion from the government plus interest earned).

It could afford to spend the HK$1.4 billion interest on getting the green park area ready and leasing the site to cultural stakeholders and groups for a nominal fee for them to run their own events from now until 2015.

J. W. Chan, Tsim Sha Tsui