Letters

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 26 May, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 26 May, 2011, 12:00am

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Inconvenient truth ignored by leaders

I am most concerned about the remarks made by the chief executive in the Legislative Council (''Certain party' is hurting city: Tsang', May 20).

There was no reference at all to possible shortcomings in the processes adopted by those members of the Environment Bureau involved in the environmental impact assessment [of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge], which was the subject of a recent judicial review, and the impact that this has had on the assessments related to other proposed infrastructure projects around the city.

Instead, the criticism was saved for those who pointed out the shortcoming with which the court agreed. Rather than taking the opinion of the court on board and instigating a review of environmental studies to reassure the public it is complying with the ordinance, the government chose to defend its position.

Hong Kong has long promoted its respect for the rule of law and the independence of its judiciary - these have been cornerstones of our position as a leading city in Asia. To imply that the judicial system can be abused for purely political ends is to do a disservice to Hong Kong.

Those who believe in passing on a liveable city to their children and grandchildren, with lower pollution and a better quality of life, come from all walks of life and many have no formal political affiliations.

Hongkongers must face an inconvenient truth - in order to improve the Hong Kong of the future, we have to forgo some financial and economic gains today. Many thinking residents of the SAR recognise this and are willing to embrace the consequences.

Unfortunately it appears that those to whom we look for leadership have not yet grasped this reality. We can only hope that the next administration has a different attitude.

Margaret Brooke, Wan Chai

Attempting to shoot the messenger

I commend Mike Rowse for his clear perspective ('Reform plan for by-elections is just spitting the dummy', May 23).

Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Stephen Lam Sui-lung is following the lead of Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen who has used the same heavy-handed approach at Legco to criticise the legal challenge to the environmental impact assessment report on the Hong Kong- Zhuhai-Macau bridge.

Instead of attempting to shoot the messenger for preventing progress on major projects, and then highlighting probable cost overruns, Mr Tsang should have acknowledged that environmental protection is important and that the present levels of pollution in Hong Kong are unacceptable. Further, he should have apologised to the community for the lack of professionalism on the part of his government, as the Environmental Protection Department did not handle the impact assessment properly.

The administration should genuinely recognise that economic development no longer trumps all other social considerations.

P. C. Law, Quarry Bay

MTR route maps puzzle passengers

As a regular MTR traveller on the Tung Chung and Island lines, I note the inconsistent way that maps light up destinations. The MTR should ensure the same system operates across the network.

On the Airport Express and Tung Chung lines, stations that the train has already passed are lit up and stations yet to come are unlit. The exact opposite is true for the Island and other MTR lines. I often see passengers, especially tourists, catch the wrong train or jump off the correct train after misunderstanding the flashing lights on the platform or in the train.

It would also help commuters if the Tung Chung line would adopt more informative displays on the platform electronic boards, in the same way as all other lines in Hong Kong. I don't really need to know that 'today is 12 May, 2011'; I would rather just see how many minutes I have to wait for the next trains to Tung Chung and Tsing Yi, at all times. The MTR needs to improve consistency and talk to its customers more.

Thomas Tan, Sham Shui Po

We should learn about mistakes, too

Concern has been expressed about introducing a national education subject to primary and secondary schools.

The government claims that it will help foster a sense of belonging to China and patriotism and that students will acquire an appreciation of the nation's culture.

Critics suggest this is tantamount to brainwashing and that the course will overlap with Chinese history and liberal studies.

It is good to help pupils learn more about the nation. But it is important that they are not just taught about the positive aspects. They must also learn about the mistakes that have been made by our motherland.

Cheung Yin-ting, Fanling

Allow pupils to think on their own

Asked who the vice-president of China is, most Hongkongers need time to think about it and some, lamentably, do not know. Despite reunification, many Hongkongers still only have a vague understanding of our motherland.

Having a national education course in schools can go some way to dealing with this problem.

It has been suggested this will open the door to 'political brainwashing', but that depends on the syllabus. The information covered should be politically neutral and teachers could then invite free and open discussion. This would let students develop their own views towards China and develop a sense of belonging to our country.

There could be minimal changes to the curriculum by modifying Chinese history and Chinese culture classes to include national education.

Given the rapid development of China, pupils should learn about the motherland.

Frederic Lam, Kwun Tong

New pool not designed for swimming

On Sunday evening, after much anticipation, I decided to go to the newly opened swimming pool at Kennedy Town.

Having taken in its futuristic design and its prime location, my expectations of a pleasant, refreshing swim in a convenient location were, to say the least, somewhat high. How disappointed I was to find that the pool was no deeper than 1.1 metres.

Considering the amount of money that must have been spent on this new site, and how user-friendly the old Kennedy Town pool had been, I was completely underwhelmed by the whole experience.

I have no objection to recreational paddlers as long as they are in the paddling pool areas provided. However, upon pointing out to the duty manager that it was impossible to swim due to people wandering around in the swimming lanes, he directed me to a sign stating that this was only a 'Secondary Pool' , whatever that means, and a regular pool would be opened at some indeterminate date in the future

In the future, the Leisure and Cultural Services Department should be slightly more accurate about the description of service they provide at this location, 'swimming' certainly not being one of them.

Stuart Brookes, Sheung Wan

Serious noise pollution problems

Tsim Sha Tsui residents are facing serious levels of noise pollution. It is particularly bad in Minden Row where public areas are often blocked by cargo trucks.

They bring cargo from the mainland, repack it in Minden Row and then send it to cargo terminals. They ignore traffic signs, double yellow lines and restricted zones. This kind of work should be done at proper parking spaces or, better still, in warehouses. The noise pollution that is caused by this work, dismantling the boxes, repacking them and keeping engines idling, is extreme. It also disrupts the whole traffic system in Tsim Sha Tsui.

I have written many times to Tsim Sha Tsui police station about this problem and to the police commissioner. However, officers only issue verbal warnings to people who keep repeating the offence.

This has made conditions unbearable for Minden Row residents, given that they have to deal with this problem on a daily basis from noon to 8pm.

I have seen officers just pass by these trucks and sometimes do nothing. When officers do not enforce the law, this encourages individuals who are breaking ordinances to feel they can act with impunity.

Sunny Sandhu, Tsim Sha Tsui