Tidying-up process in countryside can go too far

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 04 September, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 04 September, 2001, 12:00am

I refer to the well-written feature by Sherry Lee headlined 'A dream destroyed' and the editorial, both of which appeared in the South China Morning Post on August 21.

It is a pity they were not both written two years earlier when they might have had an impact.

Any shrine of whatever religion has something meaningful to say. And certainly those old temples now demolished, near the slopes of Lung Fu Shan off Hatton Road, had a special, unmistakable aura about them.

I wrote to these columns on June 29, 1999. My letter was headlined 'Show mercy on treasured old temple', and Janice Thorpe followed up with another letter headlined 'Save unspoilt sanctuary' (Post, July 9). Yet neither the Post nor the public saw fit to respond. Nor did anyone seem to appreciate at the time that the bottom was about to drop out of the world of a few elderly people.

I have no doubt that what the Government has done on the slopes leading up to the Peak was with the best of intentions.

I agree the temples were ramshackle, but nonetheless, they were always clean, tidy and lovingly tended. But the fact remains that many of us prefer the countryside to be left in its natural, unspoiled state as far as possible. We prefer to run or walk on a hardened, earthen path, with a few boulders to scramble over, rather than on an expensive granite path.

There is a perceived threat to other hillside temples and open spaces from well-intentioned government initiatives to 'just tidy things up'. Let us hope such temptations can be kept within reasonable bounds.