Vegas-style SAR dangerous gamble

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 November, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 22 November, 2001, 12:00am

While in Hong Kong on holiday, I read Albert Cheng's column, headlined 'Viva Las Hong Kong' (South China Morning Post, November 15).

Mr Cheng was criticising the Tourism Board for trying to place so much emphasis on the promotion of the SAR's country parks and other green spots. He felt that officials and the public should 'reconsider regulated gambling as an economic option for the SAR'. He saw the potential for Hong Kong to become 'an Eastern version of Las Vegas'.

Do we have to have one to the exclusion of the other?

My favourite activity while in Hong Kong was hiking along the country park trails and enjoying the peace and quiet, and the sea of greenery. I read about these trails in an article before booking my holiday. If I had thought such tranquillity no longer existed in Hong Kong, I probably would not have come here.

It is unlikely I would want to visit a city where gambling was the No 1 activity.

Las Vegas is cheap to get to, but I and many other Americans, avoid it like the plague. We abhor its wastefulness and the disregard for good environmental ethics. Why not keep and enhance the beauty of nature that already exists in Hong Kong? This is an attraction which is genuinely worth promoting.

I was interested to note that in some areas of the Peak, the concrete slopes were being covered with coconut fibre matting and that vegetation was being planted there. There also seemed to be an entomological study underway.

I applaud these efforts at nature conservation and urge those involved to keep up the good work.


Steilacoom, Washington, US