PUBLISHED : Monday, 30 January, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 30 January, 2012, 12:00am


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Ease bad air with better driving

If it is not already obvious enough when looking out across the city's dreary haze, not a day goes by without commentary on how bad the pollution is in Hong Kong.

While one solution seems obvious enough - to finally ban diesel-guzzling buses and other dreadfully inefficient cars, trucks and taxis - political expediency and business pressure seem to be preventing any such change from happening.

But why not push through some intermediate reforms that would cost private operators little to nothing? Idling-engine bans are a start, but stricter regulation on maximum vehicle speeds on busy inner-city roads and air-conditioning usage are needed.

There is nothing more frustrating than seeing a double-decker bus zoom as fast as possible between stop lights while passengers don sweaters in the middle of the summer. And as any unfortunate passenger who has feebly tried to stand on a bus will attest, the maddeningly jarring driving technique pervasive in Hong Kong needs to change. Fast starts and aggressive braking have been shown to increase fuel consumption by as much as 40per cent and toxic emissions by more than 500per cent.

If acceleration during city driving consumes nearly 50 per cent of the energy needed to power a car, Hong Kong needs to teach its drivers that smooth and easy acceleration is more efficient than a ubiquitous yo-yo lead foot. Please, my lungs are counting on it.

Tip Fleming, Mid-Levels

No excuse for mainlanders' rudeness

I would like to point out that Alex Lo's take on Hongkongers' feelings towards mainlanders is not typical or shared by the majority of us ('No need for shouting at your own people', January 21).

Many of us have relatives living on the mainland. When I was growing up, it was common for Hongkongers to send money to friends and family, and take sacks full of electrical goods, food and branded clothing on annual visits home to the mainland.

We didn't despise them and we don't despise them now. We are simply disgusted by their conduct and attitude towards us. We are also becoming increasingly frustrated with the government and some members of the managerial class who seem to believe that money forgives poor manners. They turn a blind eye to this and it encourages the sort of behaviour demonstrated by the mainland women on the YouTube video.

It is clear that there is now one set of rules for locals and no rules for our neighbours.

The Hong Kong man was performing his civic duty by indicating to the mainland group that eating on the MTR was prohibited. The local man was very patient in light of the verbal abuse by the mainland women and with the MTR official who clearly didn't want to be in the middle of this unseemly war of words, and didn't seem to know what to do until the second man reminded him that a fine was due.

The poor abused Hong Kong man was finally driven to say out loud what many of us were thinking at that point in the video clip.

I don't believe his tone was supercilious; it was more a tone of righteous indignation after being on the receiving end of a string of abuse and seeing the MTR marshal so helpless.

I object to the suggestion that because mainlanders spend their money in Hong Kong that we should accept and put up with their poor manners. One legacy of British colonial rule is civility. We should remind our mainland neighbours that manners maketh the man.

Helen Cheung, Ho Man Tin

Excellent series victim of stupid cuts

Even though I recently saw the entire series of the British drama Downton Abbey in California, thanks to a friend with the complete DVD set, I have been watching the show again on TVB Pearl because it is such a wonderful treat.

But I want to register my great disappointment at finding that TVB seems to have made some cuts in the shows.

There are enough adverts interrupting the flow which one has to sit through, but to sacrifice any part of this excellent series to accommodate the ads is annoying and stupid.

Beatriz Taylor, Cheung Chau

Trap, neuter, release is humane

The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department must stop killing Hong Kong's dogs. This current culling practice of the department is a neanderthal practice that should be outlawed.

The alternative method of 'trap, neuter and release' (TNR) is humane and civilised, as we people of Hong Kong pride ourselves on being.

The current high number of stray dogs is a direct result of the government's decision not to neuter dogs previously and the situation will never improve unless a neutering programme is put in place.

I am sure that nobody actually wants to kill these innocent, defenceless animals, so why are lawmakers still allowing this barbaric process to occur?

They must do whatever they can to change the policy of the department and change Hong Kong's current legislation to allow the implementation of TNR instead of killing these animals. We can all make an effort to ensure this happens.

Much of the overpopulation stems from Hong Kong people's lack of understanding that purchasing a dog is a lifelong responsibility.

We suggest a higher tax on new puppy purchase via puppy farm tariffs or higher first-time registration.

This may cover any costs involved in neutering. Not unlike Hong Kong's new car tax, raising the price of acquiring a new farm-bred puppy and reducing the registration cost for adopted animals may push the idea of adopting a previously unhomed animal instead of adding to Hong Kong's oversupply of domestic dogs.

Lower licensing costs for housing neutered animals would also be helpful. A civilised city like Hong Kong should not still have a practice of brutally killing domestic animals.

Darren and Rachel Whitfield, Pok Fu Lam

We should respect voters' choice

I refer to the letter by Peter Lok ('Small-circle election for us, please', January 20).

It is a shame that there are people in Hong Kong who hold such views about Taiwan and have a selfish mindset regarding universal suffrage.

Your correspondent claims that, because the Taiwanese could have elected a president and party, in his words, 'threatening to secede', with Tsai Ing-wen 'emulating' the former Kuomintang's Lee Teng-hui and the Democratic Progressive Party's Chen Shui-bian, Hong Kong people should reject universal suffrage.

According to democratic principles, everyone should respect the choice made by the Taiwanese by popular mandate, even if we don't like the outcome.

To reject our inalienable rights to universal suffrage is an immature way to deal with democratisation.

In any country, it is the people who matter. They should decide who will run the country, and how it will be run, not the so-called rulers.

Virginia Yue, Fanling

Visitors may still steer clear of US

I read with interest the report ('US to cut red tape for tourists', January 21).

I appreciate US President Barack Obama's efforts to boost tourism and in the process improve his country's economy.

I am afraid that as long as the attitude of the immigration staff and their treatment of people entering the country do not show any improvement, many people, especially non-whites, will still be reluctant to travel to the US.

Simon Yau, Kowloon City

Flats plan good for local residents

I welcome the idea of the Housing Society to give priority to Hong Kong residents when selling flats in its latest projects.

It is proposed this will be done without any restrictions on income or assets, and it would seem to be a quite an effective way to protect the welfare and rights of local residents.

However, further discussion will be needed on this proposal.

For example, could it adversely affect the city's reputation and should young people born in Hong Kong with both parents being from the mainland also be allowed to participate in such a scheme?

Alice Li, Sha Tin