PUBLISHED : Saturday, 11 June, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 11 June, 2011, 12:00am


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Rock from caverns won't be wasted

I refer to the letter from Wouter van Marle ('Stay alert over plan for caverns', May 31), expressing concerns over the future disposal of the rock excavated from the proposed rock cavern schemes.

It has been the Civil Engineering and Development Department's practice to make the best possible arrangements to ensure that good quality rock from major construction projects is reused beneficially in the construction industry.

In Hong Kong, the construction industry requires about 10 million tonnes of rock products annually, including rock aggregate for concrete and asphalt and various other uses.

At the moment, local rock product supply can only meet about one-third of demand. The local supply comes largely from Hong Kong's quarries. The remaining two-thirds of the rock product supply relies on imports from sources on the mainland. The good quality rock excavated from the proposed cavern schemes is well suited for use by the Hong Kong construction industry.

With suitable planning, the rock excavated can be processed into useful rock aggregate and other rock products in the local quarries and nearby rock crushing sites.

Such an arrangement can ensure the quality rock excavated will be processed into a valuable asset to the benefit of the Hong Kong community instead of being turned into waste material.

The added benefit is that additional local rock product supply can also help ease our heavy reliance on mainland imports and save the long haulage from the mainland, thus reducing the carbon footprint.

Terence Lam, senior geotechnical engineer/public information geotechnical engineering office, Civil Engineering and Development Department

China's legal system faces isolation

A question implicit in Jerome Cohen's article ('Turning a deaf ear', June 7), is how foreign lawyers and lawyers' associations can respond more effectively to the increasing repression of China's 'human rights lawyers'.

There is no easy answer, and foreign lawyers' associations are utilising multiple approaches. In addition to the public letters and statements Mr Cohen mentions, these associations are also pursuing channels for ongoing and direct engagement with Chinese justice officials. For example, last week in Washington, the American Bar Association hosted the opening session of the US-China Legal Experts Dialogue, a focus of which was the importance of and mechanisms for protecting lawyers' practice rights.

Opportunities for this type of dialogue are increasingly few and far between. Despite Chinese commitments in both the January 2011 and November 2009 US-China Joint Statements to increase co-operation in the field of law and exchanges on the rule of law, increasing surveillance of international organisations working on rule of law issues in China, and restrictions on Chinese lawyers' ability to engage directly with international organisations on rule of law issues, continue to be staples of the current conservative political climate.

The result is a bifurcated system in which Chinese lawyers can participate with relative freedom in international commerce, but face increasing isolation from the international legal community when it comes to issues of rights.

The way forward is unclear, but it may involve international lawyers' associations and law firms speaking with a more unified voice to demonstrate that the suppression of rights lawyers in China is not only a concern of a few scattered organisations, but rather increasingly places China outside the mainstream of a global legal community.

Hyeon-Ju Rho, former country director, American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative China Programme, Oakland, California

Now TV cut interview for adverts

Li Na had just won a historic victory in the Ladies' Singles Final at the French Open and was about to be interviewed.

What did the clods at Now TV do? Cut to commercials. It beggars belief that those people can be so disconnected from their programming and viewers.

No doubt Now TV has obligations to the sponsors but given that Li is the first female Chinese (and Asian) to win a tennis major championship one could have hoped for a tad less insensitivity.

Neil Russell, Discovery Bay

Professor should visit a NET class

As a native English-speaking teacher (NET) in the Hong Kong public school system, I noted with interest some of the follow-up comments related to Andy Kirkpatrick's comments regarding English language acquisition in Hong Kong.

Other than ignoring the benefits that a good and effective NET brings, Professor Kirkpatrick's ideal of a lingua franca environment for this part of the world has led to some people barking up the wrong tree.

Chan Yiu-cho ('Divert NETs cash to train local teachers', June 3) correlates Hong Kong to Singapore in regards to the standards of English spoken in each city.

The catalyst for English in Singapore is vastly different to that of Hong Kong. Singapore is a truly multicultural society where English is seen as a binding language or lingua franca.

Furthermore, it is not true that I am paid more than my colleagues ('well-qualified local' teachers). I, like them, am paid according to a transparent pay scale that is based on the effectiveness and time served in the profession. I do receive certain benefits, but I do not get a pension.

Your correspondent's call for more training courses is ironic. It is ironic in that training seminars often go on long into the evening and are therefore in themselves a cause of workplace stress.

Furthermore, unlike Jeff Bell ('Bilingualism vs fluency is a trade-off', June 3) I do not consider Professor Kirkpatrick to be my 'senior' in the aspect of teaching language.

To the contrary, Professor Kirkpatrick needs to visit a NET's classroom in order to witness the various achievements that are taking place in the teacher-led classes.

Justin Hayward, Sha Tin

Give careful thought to possible risks

It has been argued by some people that buying property is a good way to fight the effects of inflation.

I feel that buyers in the mass market who take this approach may be taking a major gamble. The days of borrowing cheap money are almost over.

Everyone needs to consider their own appetite for risk. And maybe they should trust their own tuition rather than listening to the professionals, because after the correction in the property market, you can only blame yourself for the load of debt you are carrying.

Brokers and bankers will change, but you and your debt remain.

Rishi Teckchandani, Mid-Levels

Idle online chat could prove costly

A recent survey has found that what you post on Facebook could harm your career prospects. Some prospective employers will check an applicant's Facebook profile.

Facebook is the best platform for people to keep in touch. However, it would be a shame if a young person lost a career opportunity because of something they posted online. Some users do not think before chatting on Facebook and may even use foul language.

This can create a bad impression with a prospective employer. Young people must take care what they say on Facebook and protect their privacy.

Regina Chan Ka-yan, Tsz Wan Shan

Education key to being eco-friendly

As many countries' economies grow, pollution problems get worse. We must recognise the importance of focusing on different environmental problems, such as air, sea and noise pollution.

The best way to try and reduce pollution levels is through education. This can encourage more residents to behave responsibly and do their bit to protect the environment. Hopefully this will lead to a reduction in the generation of waste. Education is better than governments having to draft more legislation.

The Hong Kong administration must try to get a green message across to students. Parents should be role models and teach their children the importance of trying to protect the earth's resources. Businesses also have to promote corporate social responsibility and reduce their pollution levels.

Heilyan Lam, Ngau Tau Kok