Letters

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 18 October, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 18 October, 2011, 12:00am
 

Follow Olympic Park's lead

I refer to the report, 'Planners think big for Kowloon East' (October 14), and support Secretary for Development Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor's plans for the area that includes Kowloon Bay and the old Kai Tak airport.

However the planners are not thinking big enough, as the tip of the old airport runway is crying out for a bold architectural feature that can emphasise our harbour.

This is a truly unique site and deserves a focal point attraction that can be viewed from most parts of our city.

Our civic leaders should be bold enough to mirror London Mayor Boris Johnson's statement that the Olympic Park needed 'something extra' to 'distinguish the East London skyline' and 'arouse the curiosity and wonder of Londoners and visitors'.

In 2009 a well-supported design competition led to the selection of the ArcelorMittal Orbit with a planned construction completion in 2012. Hong Kong should embark on a similar initiative.

In this context I agree with concept architect Nigel Reading ('Ferris wheel plan 'not good enough'', October 13).

We should not meekly follow Singapore (which copied the London Eye) in building a vertical Ferris wheel; and the Central waterfront is not a suitable location for such a structure.

Mr Reading's 'Hong Kong Spin' could be resubmitted in a new design competition.

Such a tower could be accessed by a cable-way gondelbahn running between Kowloon City and Taikoo Shing, which could be extended along the new Central waterfront to connect with the ferry piers (similar in idea to the Torre Vasco de Gama cable car in Lisbon which was built for Expo '98).

One of the most aesthetically effective harbour installations is Geneva's Jet d'Eau which was first constructed in 1886.

This now pumps a single jet of water to more than 70 metres high, and is a major attraction. If London can get from design competition to completion in under three years Hong Kong should be able to at least match this, though the recent experiences on West Kowloon and the Kai Tak sites belie Hong Kong's reputation for fast action.

Roger Emmerton, Wan Chai

Lawmakers set bad example

President of the Legislative Council Tsang Yok-sing was right to expel legislators Wong Yuk-man and Leung Kwok-hung from the Legco chamber because of their misbehaviour.

We live in a civilised society and people should express their opinions in a well-mannered fashion.

At this Legco meeting, these two members broke council rules.

It is important to maintain social stability rather than have a chaotic society.

Moreover, Leung Kwok-hung threw an egg at the chief executive.

Luckily he was off-target, but Donald Tsang Yam-kuen might have been hurt.

This kind of behaviour sets a bad example to teenagers.

Some of them might feel it was OK to throw something at the chief executive or another celebrity.

Hongkongers must always try to show civic-mindedness when they express their opinions.

Rhombus Lo Ling-ying, Sha Tin

Two sides refusing to back down

Legco President Tsang Yok-sing ordered two pan-democratic lawmakers out of the chamber on Thursday because of 'disorderly conduct' ('Angry exchange sparks mass walkout in Legco', October 14).

Fair treatment is widely respected in Hong Kong, but I feel this was an incorrect decision by Mr Tsang.

In my view, Wong Yuk-man [one of the lawmakers who was expelled] did not use offensive words.

When Mr Wong was questioning Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen he was clearly angry and raised his voice. This may have unsettled Mr Tsang and it was impolite, but Mr Tsang also lost his temper.

He was being asked questions that he should have answered even if he found the questions insulting.

By failing to answer some of the questions put by pan-democrats he was being disrespectful. Will he only take seriously questions put by lawmakers with whom he is in agreement?

It seems as if both sides in this dispute are unwilling to compromise. They stand by their views and will not back down.

Sometimes a problem can only be solved if the different parties are willing to seek a compromise. If people act impulsively they could undermine stability in our society.

Chan Pak-hei, Ma On Shan

City needs more CCTV cameras

The city is so scared of any future acid attacks that it went on high alert when corrosive liquid leaked from drainage pipes and six people were injured on Saturday ('Mong Kok acid scare', October 16). Although this incident was an accident it brought back memories of acid attacks in Mong Kok and Causeway Bay between 2008 and 2009. These attacks scared people and led to police offering a substantial reward to catch the culprits. The Mong Kok incidents remain unsolved.

The government began to install more closed-circuit television cameras in locations like Mong Kok. However, the attacks subsided and plans for widespread use of CCTV seem to have been put on hold.

Our administration only appears to look for water when the fire has already started.

In London and other English cities there are thousands of CCTV cameras. This enabled the police to make arrests following the riots in August. Singapore and Tokyo also have an extensive network of cameras.

Knowing that these cameras are in place in large numbers can act as a deterrent to criminals. With crime, prevention is always better than the cure.

The community will feel more secure if the CCTV strategy is revived as soon as possible. The cameras should only be used to detect genuine crimes and people's privacy must be protected.

A. L. Nanik, Tsim Sha Tsui

Scrap plans for third runway

I do not think it would be the right decision to build a third runway at Hong Kong International Airport.

It might be good for the economy, but not for our precious natural resources.

There would have to be more reclamation and the water around Hong Kong is already polluted.

Reclamation causes irreversible damage to marine life, including precious species of coral and Chinese white dolphins.

I am also concerned that a third runway would increase the number of flights into and out of Chek Lap Kok thereby increasing air pollution.

If these air pollution levels get worse then this could put off tourists and potential foreign investors.

What we need to consider here are quality of life issues.

This additional runway will cost a fortune and it is taxpayers, Hong Kong citizens, who will end up paying for it.

I would rather see that taxpayers' money spent on more welfare and housing, where there is already an urgent need.

The government has pledged that it will reduce the impact on the environment if the airport expansion goes ahead but it has been good at keeping such green promises in the past.

For the sake of the ocean and marine eco-systems the third runway project should not go ahead.

Jacqueline Tse, Wan Chai

Bonds will be better than MPF scheme

It is a good idea to force people to save for a rainy day.

However, when they end up actually losing money along with the purchasing power of a Mandatory Provident Fund investment because of inflation, then such an investment stops making sense.

I believe that it is time to have a rethink and ask if the MPF really meets the aspirations and needs of the Hong Kong public.

I am not suggesting a government-funded guarantee of principal of MPF investments.

Rather, the administration should provide a product that it has backed for potential investment. That is, it should give individuals the option to buy consumer price index-linked bonds issued by the administration to be invested by a newly-created government-backed entity.

These funds would have the backing of the entire machinery of government, thereby enhancing public trust.

Such bonds would be of greater help to the lower middle class than the present MPF funds available.

Mohan Datwani, Pok Fu Lam

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