PUBLISHED : Saturday, 23 April, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 23 April, 2011, 12:00am


Opponents of market project miss the point

Oren Tatcher writes in a disparaging manner on the merits of the Central Market building ('You can't turn a concrete block into an urban oasis', April 12).

In his opinion it should be demolished and redeveloped into a couple of grade A office towers. He believes that the public would benefit from the provision of landscaped open spaces, like Three Pacific Place.

Another architect, Tsui Hing-cheong, ('Central Market machinations much ado about not much', April 15), comes to much the same conclusion.

Is there some conspiracy afoot to amend plans for Central Market and perhaps introduce a swap option in view of the strong public objections to the controversial plans to redevelop the west wing of the Central Government Offices? A two for the price of one deal as a panacea to the navel-gazing obsession with grade A office facilities perhaps?

Nobody is touting Central Market as the eighth wonder of the world. Its attraction is that it is a low-lying building amid the curtain-wall canyon effect of the district. Its human scale brings temporary relief to pedestrians overpowered by the oppressive rows of tall office blocks.

As regards architectural merits, what are the architects comparing Central Market to? The overbearing blandness of surrounding office buildings certainly provides no competition. The only iconic buildings in the district, HSBC Building and Bank of China, date back to the mid-1980s.

Three Pacific Place has very little open space; it has benefited merely from the existence of a small park close by and to the setting that precludes the development of any further behemoth to its west.

Any public space provided by two tall office towers would be nothing more than a concrete stand-up area between large planter boxes, like Cheung Kong Centre.

Central Market has been promised for public use as part of the Conserving Central project. Disingenuous claims at this stage are both unwelcome and misplaced.

Candy Tam, Wan Chai

Better ways to gain sympathy

There is a growing feeling of discontent towards what some activists call the 'property developer hegemony' in Hong Kong. Sometimes these feelings are expressed in innovative ways. For example some protesters effectively laid siege to a supermarket owned by one of tycoon Li Ka-shing's companies.

All these activists did was to cause trouble for shoppers and supermarket staff. They wanted to express their dissatisfaction with Mr Li, but this was just one ParknShop. I doubt if Mr Li was directly affected by their actions.

There are better methods which these activists could have adopted. They could have written a letter to the government, or organised a march or a sit-in demonstration.

At the same time the government should not ignore the problems being highlighted by these youngsters, many of whom are future pillars of society.

Leung Ho-yan, Sai Kung

Democracy is about respect

Many political parties have emerged since the handover.

They all claim to fight for the rights of citizens and they organise various demonstrations to make their views known.

Many of these parties' politicians choose to mock high-ranking officials with insulting slogans and caricatures. And this state of affairs has got worse with even some lawmakers throwing things at officials in the Legco chamber. These so-called democrats are effectively trying to brainwash Hong Kong's youngsters.

I find their actions puzzling. What kind of moral values are they trying to instil in our young people? Without proper guidance many teenagers will follow blindly, but I wonder how many of them have a real understanding of democracy.

People must fight for their rights, but they must do so in a responsible manner. The younger generation should be taught to respect others.

Grace Pow, Ho Man Tin

Jewel of the mango republic

As a native Cebuana who claims that our Guadalupe mangoes are Asia's best, I found your piece on Indian mangoes interesting ('Mango mania: India romances the stone fruit,' April 16). I've often heard from Indian friends that Alphonso mangoes are far superior, but no one has told me where I can find them in Hong Kong so I can judge.

I once tried outsized Australian mangoes from Cairns which are occasionally sold at supermarkets here, and in California I tried Mexican mangoes. They were too fibrous and not very sweet.

You suggested that spoons be dispensed with because 'the messier the eating, the merrier the experience'. I like to peel and savour the fruit while leaning over the kitchen sink.

Like those strange folks who join competitions to see who can eat the most hotdogs in five minutes, I am sure I could win a contest to eat the most mangoes in record time, so long as the fruit is from Cebu.

Incidentally, there are those who say that the Philippines is a Latin banana republic, but I think I can (chauvinistically) call it a mango republic instead - a sweet-sour country with (often) pleasant people and (always) bad politics.

Isabel Escoda, Lantau

Village house design illogical

The way village houses are built defies logic. The gap of 1.2 metres between houses is simply unhealthy.

I am not worried about the odd pool that is being built without permission but more concerned about the overall planning. It seems that everyone that owns a minute piece of land can and will build for the sake of cash without much serious planning from the government.

We have a beautiful countryside. Why not enhance it with interesting, efficient design. What legacy are we leaving for our grandchildren?

Peter Ortmann, Clear Water Bay

Cattle fence poses danger

I refer to the report ('Bovine invaders create a stink at Sai Kung estate', April 15).

What has happened is the result of barbed-wire fencing that was put up all around the village of Che Ha.

These water buffaloes were living on a farm in a neighbouring village until about two years ago when for some reason the farm was left unoccupied.

For the past two years they have been minding their own business, peacefully coexisting with human residents on the land between Che Ha, Tseng Tau and a piece of land adjoining Che Ha village.

About three weeks ago a barbed-wire fence was put up all around their grazing sites in these areas.

The fence is unprofessionally laid and is a hazard to children and residents walking in the area.

Foreseeing that the barbed wire would prevent the buffaloes from accessing their grazing sites and lead them further along Sai Sha Road, I contacted the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department two weeks ago.

The SPCA said it could do nothing and the department gave me a case number.

The water buffaloes are peaceful animals and they should be provided with an animal sanctuary, especially in a city like Hong Kong that is slowly destroying all its local wildlife.

Michael O'Sullivan, Sai Kung

Bridge fears vindicated

Your columnist Jake van der Kamp has a history of taking the government to task for basing infrastructure construction on strong growth projections for the use of Hong Kong's port facilities.

One of the principal reasons that the administration gave for spending HK$80 billion on the bridge being built across the Pearl River estuary to connect Hong Kong with Zhuhai and Macau, was that it will be a vital link for enhancing the development of our port.

Your report ('HK, Shenzhen losing export role as factories move inland', April 19) appears to substantiate van der Kamp's argument and exposes our government's spendthrift ways.

In order to give this bridge a better economic profile I suggest that electricity-generating micro wind turbine panels should be suspended beneath the bridge deck to make use of the natural wind corridor.

Frank Lee, Mid-Levels

Let department publish texts

I refer to the letter by Ho Kam-tong ('Education Department should control textbook publishing', April 19).

Your correspondent argued it not only prevents the almost ceaseless price increase but also mitigates the frequent revision of the textbook.

These are reasonable arguments and these publishing arrangements are practised in some countries.

The Curriculum Development Council think tank under the department is responsible for developing teaching syllabuses recommended for use in primary and secondary schools.

Its publications, such as curriculum guides and consultation documents, are regarded as the blueprint and guidebook for the publishers to follow when producing textbooks. This council could act as the publisher and produce good-quality and inexpensive textbooks in key learning areas.

Its published textbooks would at least be another option for schools to select before the new school year, among the many publications currently available.

Parents would welcome the chance to buy reasonably priced and professionally written textbooks published by the Education Department.

Andy Seto Wood-hung, North Point