Talkback

PUBLISHED : Monday, 18 August, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 18 August, 2008, 12:00am
 

What do you think of the revised plan for the Mega Tower?

I refer to the report ('Hopewell to unveil new tower proposal', August 9).

The developer of the Mega Tower in Wan Chai is considering reducing the development intensity by 5 per cent in order to placate criticism of excessive size. This is laughable as, in 2005, a similar proposal to reduce gross floor area by 5 per cent was rejected by the Town Planning Board.

Furthermore, the developer may apply to the Buildings Department for a bonus plot ratio of five based on the area of public thoroughfare, which would again boost the density.

It is also reported that the company had abandoned efforts to obtain a land swap, but this is hardly surprising as some of the land at Queen's Road East that was proposed for exchange in the 1994 scheme has been built on. What is surprising is that construction could proceed despite the Town Planning Board having rezoned this land as 'open space' in 1994. It is still zoned open space.

A 5 per cent reduction does not address the planning board's stated concerns of excessive scale, visual impact, traffic impact and tree felling.

The public land is required to make up for the critical shortage of open space in the planning area, so for this scheme to gain public support it needs, first, to reinstate the public park at Ship Street to its full size of 5,880 square metres.

Frank Lee, Mid-Levels

What do you think of air-con levels?

Despite the high temperatures on the streets of the city during the summer, it is not surprising to see a lot of people carrying a jacket on their way to work, because their offices are so cold. Our shopping malls are also freezing.

Having to go from the extreme heat to the extreme cold is not good for our health, and having the air conditioners in these malls at such low temperatures is damaging the environment. I appreciate we all get into the habit of turning our air conditioners on automatically when it is warm. But the fact is we are using them too often and relying on them too much. We could at least increase the temperature a bit, as it makes no sense for people to be sitting in their offices wearing jackets and sneezing with the cold.

We are wasting too much money and energy and accelerating the pace of global warming. And obviously, as the planet gets warmer, we risk being subjected to more extreme weather patterns and more natural disasters. We need to recognise these risks and adopt the appropriate lifestyle changes.

The government should promote energy-saving measures. It should urge organisations to pay more attention to indoor room temperatures of offices and other indoor areas. Firms have to appreciate that if they introduce energy-saving measures it will reduce their costs. They also have to be made aware of their social responsibilities.

Parents also have a role to play. They should educate their children so they grow up with good habits.

Emily Lau Lai-fan, Ngau Tau Kok

Should there be more Form Six places?

It would be best at present not to add to the present number of Form Six places.

The major reason that more students met the minimum requirements for studying in Form Six this year was because of the lower standard of the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination. The Examinations and Assessment Authority has been changing, indeed reducing, the syllabus for Form Four and Form Five students. The levels of the Chinese and English language papers have been adjusted repeatedly.

If standards are lowered then the quality of students will decline. In the future this could adversely affect the city's competitiveness.

In a competitive educational environment, students have an incentive to work hard and improve. If fewer places are available this will make the competition tougher. Indirectly, it can raise the quality of students. If more Form Six places are provided, students will no longer have to work as hard as before and will not have to compete with their peers. They will be accepted with just a pass grade and will take the Form Six place for granted. At the moment students really cherish getting a place.

Not all young people are good at studying. Some of them would not be able to handle the heavy burden of A-levels. Students who clearly cannot cope can set their sights on what they can do, rather than struggling in Form Six and realising they have wasted their time.

Even if Form Six places were increased, the students with limited ability would face an even tougher struggle if they tried to get into university. We have to think positively. The intense competition for Form Six places can actually give the young generation a chance to experience what it is like in the real world, to appreciate the stiff competition they will face when they start their working lives. In fact, we could consider a further reduction in the number of Form Six places.

Vinky Wong, Kwai Chung

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