Put power price rise in perspective
We seem to take for granted the high quality of service afforded to our sophisticated community by both our power companies over the last decades of continuous growth.
Thanks to their wise and effective long-term planning, they have never impeded Hong Kong's rapid progress towards becoming a highly successful economy by world standards.
CLP Power has embarked on major capital investment in order to comply with higher environmental demands. Acting responsibly towards our community cannot and must not be ignored.
The rapid increase in fuel costs, which is totally outside the control of any power company, has dictated a 35 per cent increase over the last two years in the average domestic tariff in Spain, despite the fact that more than 40 per cent of its total energy generation is by nuclear and renewable energy sources (wind and solar).
This has been gracefully accepted despite the country having an unemployment rate of 21.6 per cent.
Hopefully, this puts things in the correct perspective and makes us realise that we are not getting such a bad deal from CLP Power and Hongkong Electric, remembering that they both complied with the terms of the scheme of control that was laid down by the government.
Let us cut out the hysterical criticism, thank our lucky stars and face the real world of ever- increasing fuel costs.
Shalom Levy, Tsim Sha Tsui
Urgent aid for tenants of tiny flats
I agree with Joey Wong ('Subdivided flat tenants need help', December 20).
The present public housing policy needs to be overhauled. The two candidates running for chief executive, Henry Tang Ying-yen and Leung Chun-ying, both support building more public rental housing to help tenants living in cubicles and subdivided flats. However, it is easier said than done. Land supply has always been the root cause of the city's inability to expand public rental housing.
In the future there will be land available in Tin Shui Wai, Tseung Kwan O and the new development areas such as Kwu Tung, Fanling North and Ping Che/Ta Kwu Ling. These new development areas are in remote locations with limited public transport.
It will take years to build the necessary infrastructure to support housing developments.
The Development Bureau has come up with a lead time of 12 to 13 years to implement programmes in these areas.
That is a long wait for tenants of subdivided flats who have to stay put in their substandard accommodation.
In the meantime, the tension between rich and poor will be exacerbated.
I do not believe that society can wait that long.
The government should be looking at immediate relief measures.
It should provide financial aid to these subdivided-flat tenants without delay.
James Tsui, Kowloon Bay
Rizal earned great place in history
It is indeed a pity, as historian Paul Harrison says in Post Magazine, that Philippine national hero Dr Jose Rizal, who lived briefly in Hong Kong in the early 1890s is so little known and honoured here ('Doctor Who?' December 11).
As the late British historian Austin Coates said, and as acknowledged by other scholars on Asia, Rizal is 'one of the greatest men Asia has ever produced'.
Of Filipino and Chinese heritage, he was an extraordinary man of immense intellectual abilities. His encyclopaedic knowledge, scientific bent and artistic qualities showed him as being ahead of his time, someone comparable to Sun Yat-sen in China, Mahatma Gandhi in India, Simon Bolivar in Hispanic-America and Abraham Lincoln in the United States.
Plaques honouring our national hero were set up two decades ago by the Filipino community - one in D'Aguilar Street, marking the site of Rizal's medical clinic, and another by Rednaxela Terrace, where he rented a house for his family. There are ceremonies held at those sites every year-end, marking the anniversary of his death.
Sadly, many among the younger generation of Filipinos today seem to find politician Benigno Aquino Jnr, who was assassinated in 1983, more relevant than the earlier martyr Rizal, often forgetting what a towering figure the latter was in many more ways.
It is only natural that Chinese historical figures would feature more prominently in this city, but one wishes that, since Filipino migrant workers have numbered among the largest group of foreign residents here over the past few decades, more acknowledgement was made of this important man.
In an essay on other Filipino patriots once exiled in Hong Kong, I once pondered whether Rizal, if he were around today, would ask, 'Why are there so many Filipinos here, especially women?'
The reply would be, 'Life for many is still as hard as it was when you were here at the turn of the 20th century - and this time it's mainly daughters, mothers, wives and sisters who bear the brunt of the hardship.'
Isabel Escoda, Lantau
Safety rules need to be enforced
The central government took action following the road accident last month in which 19 children and two adults were killed on an overloaded school bus in Gansu province.
Under draft guidelines, traffic police will give priority access to school buses and the vehicles will be allowed to use lanes reserved for public transport.
In the past, insufficient funding and a lack of accountability have led to safety problems, particularly in rural areas.
While I accept that the central government has now taken measures following the fatal accident, some critics say those measures fail to deal with the core issue of rampant safety violations.
I do not believe Beijing has done enough to address the problem of school bus safety.
It must establish safety regulations that can be enforced. It is similar to the scandals in the food production sector. Once rules are drafted, there must be adequate supervision of all the relevant sectors.
Katiryn Cheung Suen, Fanling
Ticked off by tactless camera click
On MTR trains, I have noticed an advert for a new Japanese camera with the smart slogan 'Merry Clickmas'.
The word Christ has been substituted with Click, certainly the brilliant idea of a smart publicity executive, albeit an insensitive one, taking into consideration the values of Christianity.
This company, Olympus, is already in the news for its massive corporate loss and unethical behaviour. Does it think that by making such jokes it may right its wrongs? It is not the first time this has happened. Can't advertising executives follow the golden rule: leave out race, religion and politics?
Angelo Paratico, Sheung Wan
Spare cash for city's strugglers
I sincerely hope I was not the only one this year who donated their HK$6,000 cash handout from the government straight to charity.
Anyone who considers themselves able to spend HK$6,000 this festive season in overpriced shops, restaurants, bars and other establishments in Hong Kong - where rents are forced high by landlords and the government has long buoyed the property market for its own ends - ought to spare a thought for people in the city who get by on only two square meals a day.
I gave to Operation Santa Claus. I urge readers to spend it wisely on those who really need it.
Anthony Lawrance, Discovery Bay
Give drivers breathing space to wait
The report on the introduction of the idling engine ban law illustrates the need to rethink our traffic schemes ('Breezy start to idling engine ban', December 16).
It described traffic wardens asking drivers of private cars who were illegally parked outside the Fook Lam Moon Restaurant in Wan Chai to leave. The same story is repeated in Central, Causeway Bay and Mong Kok where dozens of vehicles are forced to circulate and clog up busy streets simply because someone painted yellow lines along the side of the road. Why not let the drivers wait?
The Transport Department, police and Environmental Protection Department should get together and come up with a traffic plan that makes our roads friendlier to users and to the environment.
Edmund Kwok, Mid-Levels