PUBLISHED : Sunday, 04 March, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 04 March, 2012, 12:00am


Art form can help guide youngsters

I refer to the letter by Lynn Susan Seymour ('It is a great shame young Hongkongers show little interest in Cantonese Opera', February 26).

I agree that the younger generation does not think Cantonese Opera is fashionable and seem to prefer everything Western.

When they have opportunity teenagers should watch performances of Cantonese Opera. This can help them learn more about Chinese culture in Hong Kong.

I am pleased that the Sunbeam Theatre in North Point has been granted a reprieve, because it means this unique art form can continue to be enjoyed by audiences.

Veteran entertainer Liza Wang Ming-chun, chairwoman of the Chinese Artists Association, has criticised the government for not providing subsidies in the past to support Cantonese Opera. I hope it will now do more to keep the art form alive.

It is a traditional form of culture which has played an integral part in the development of Hong Kong. In 2009 it was recognised by Unesco as intangible cultural heritage.

With the right support it could prove a tourist attraction and help boost Hong Kong's economy. It expresses important values which seem to be lacking in modern society, such as filial piety and respect for your teacher. Cantonese Opera can help guide young people and preserve part of Hong Kong's heritage.

Heidi Chan Hoi-ting, Lam Tin

Computer games push out opera

I refer to the letter by Lynn Susan Seymour ('It is a great shame young Hongkongers show little interest in Cantonese Opera', February 26).

Hong Kong teenagers now place less emphasis on their Cantonese cultural heritage. They would rather spend time studying, playing computer games and enjoying their hobbies. Also, as Hong Kong concentrated on economic development, cultural development was largely ignored by the government.

Cantonese Opera has been accepted as intangible cultural heritage by Unesco and in the 1960s it was the most popular form of entertainment in Hong Kong. Nowadays, most teenagers see it as outdated and boring. I find this alarming, as this is part of our culture and should be preserved.

The government should be doing more to promote this art form among young people. And I would like to see the Sunbeam Theatre preserved for future generations. Time magazine voted as one of 25 Authentic Asian Experiences in 2009.

Also, the government must offer more support in the form of increased subsidies to Cantonese Opera troupes.

The opera companies can also help by adding new elements which could attract younger audiences, such as animations.

They should make use of what new technology can offer. Elderly people should also be encouraged to invite youngsters to accompany them to opera performances.

Preserving this art form can help teenagers develop their Cantonese sense of identity and improve the present state of affairs, which can be described as a cultural desert. It will be a costly loss if this part of heritage disappears and cannot be passed down to future generations.

Yang Lam, Tseung Kwan O

Russian government irresponsible

I refer to the report ('Nukes were on burning sub, official hints', February 22), about a fire in December on board the Russian submarine Yekaterinburg.

I do not think the Russian government has acted responsibly.

It did not ensure the vessel was safe and while being repaired in a dockyard it appears that 'intercontinental ballistic missiles' with nuclear warheads had not been removed. Had the damage been serious there could have been a radiation leak and obviously this would have posed a serious threat to people living near the scene of the accident. The health threat would have continued for decades.

This incident highlights the danger posed by nuclear weapons. Nations should not be trying to develop such weapons as they offer no solutions.

At the end of the day disagreements between nations should only be resolved by peaceful means. If more countries keep trying to become nuclear powers this can only increase the threat, some day, of nuclear war.

Anson Chan Long-yin, Tsuen Wan

Special zone for Zhuhai drivers

It seems Hong Kong has four rather serious problems regarding cross-border vehicular traffic and infrastructure.

First, there is the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge being built to southwest Lantau that can never be paid for with bus and truck traffic only.

Second, there are great MTR services to this part of Lantau and a new exhibition centre, both underutilised.

Third, many Zhuhai drivers want to visit Hong Kong for business, shopping, visiting and travel connections. Fourth, for several reasons Hong Kong's road system cannot handle this traffic.

I have a possible solution to all four problems. A secure part of southwest Lantau, near the bridge, can be opened to Zhuhai drivers, who will not be able to drive further into Hong Kong.

Hong Kong-bound traffic out of this area can be controlled by manned or electronic gates.

Shopping, hotel and entertainment facilities are available in this area for Zhuhai visitors and they can expand to meet the market.

There should be convenient parking facilities feeding cross-border visitors onto the MTR to visit the rest of Hong Kong.

The exhibition centre and secure airport parking should be included in this area. Authorised Zhuhai vehicles passing through Hong Kong immigration and customs will have a Hong Kong licence plate. Cars without this licence will get a pass limiting travel to the crossroads area.

A manned booth can be located at the Hong Kong side of the bridge to assure crossroads traffic is diverted off the main road. Normal visa regulations will apply.

Bill Kimley, Zhuhai

Opposition to motorists illogical

Much is being said about the possibility of more mainland drivers using our roads. Do we realise that we already cope with many other 'road maniacs' on our roads without any problem?

Has anyone been to Paris and seen how they drive, or seen the Italians racing through the mountains overtaking on a bend where they cannot see oncoming traffic?

I have had many a near heart attack on roads in Indonesia and Malaysia because of the drivers there. Then we have our local drivers racing their expensive sports cars on our public roads.

We hear that on the mainland they drive on the right while we drive on the left. The British also drive on the left, but this does bar them from the rest of Europe? Are Hongkongers banned from driving in the US?

Let any mainlander who wants to drive here do a test to get a Hong Kong licence and require anyone driving a car across the border to have internationally recognised insurance. A mainland driver who just wants to come for one time will not bother to go through that whole process.

What we will be left with are capable mainland motorists who use our roads frequently.

Jeffry Kuperus, Clear Water Bay

Put the spotlight back on Tang

Our current chief executive, Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, has successfully taken one for the team.

The limelight is no longer on chief executive candidate Henry Tang Ying-yen. Unlike Tang, Donald Tsang doesn't have that much to lose.

The issue at hand certainly demands some attention, but not all.

We should get our focus back to the more important issue of our well-being for the next five years instead of the next four months.

Ken Chan, Tai Po

Why Tsang is taking a bullet

Is it just me, or is all the coverage of Donald Tsang Yam-kuen making news at a rather convenient time when we should be focusing on Henry Tang Ying-yen's large underground and illegal basement?

We might think Donald is taking a bullet right now to keep his friend and Beijing's favourite candidate out of the headlines and potentially out of the courts.

Craig Sanderson, Lantau