Culture hub site should be green park
The latest public uproar over a trivial incident in the West Kowloon Cultural District tender process which took place 10 years ago is a manifestation of people's dissatisfaction over the opaqueness of our government's policies and practices these days.
Nonetheless, opening this long-buried can of worms has led the two leading chief executive candidates getting involved in mud-slinging instead of focusing public attention on their proposed policies.
Given the serious and legitimate uproar over the collusion between the government and property tycoons, the Hong Kong public is entitled to know why, how and by whom the decision was made to turn this supposedly world-class cultural green park into a hotel, offices and residential project?
How was it that this green land space clearly indicated on our original town planning map, was manipulated into a commercial hybrid?
How can the government justify the allocation of 20per cent of the site for residential housing, right next to the most densely populated urban centre in the world?
Hong Kong Alternatives wants to appeal through these columns to all members of the Legislative Council to go directly to the source of the problems, while they are opening this can of worms.
We believe the silent majority is eager to see that Legco is capable of identifying the source of the problems and has the knowledge and integrity to identify and take a critical path to remove the stumbling block which is obstructing the future progress and growth of our city.
K. N. Wai, Hong Kong Alternatives
Donald Tsang blind to reality
I would like to assist Elsie Tu to understand the explosion of general resentment (Tsang's contribution to HK has been buried in a cruel effort to destroy him', March 8).
Our chief executive is from the administrative class of the civil service, which is not a good place from which to gain the common touch and an insight into the problems of common folk.
It can and has been done by some officers at that level, but most manage to insulate themselves and concentrate on their careers.
I had 30 years as a lower-class professional in government and I can't remember seeing him, much less speaking to him.
What has incensed the public over what some consider fairly trivial excesses accepted by our chief executive from his super-rich friends is the perceived identification with and protection of our ruling class. These fat cats, particularly the big developers, are allowed to continue to double-park where and when they like and deceive potential property buyers with misleading advertising and weasel-worded fine print.
These stupid excesses show how blind the man is to reality and are being seen as payment for the wrong kind of services rendered. His televised attempt to talk his way out of it in front of Legco was met with hoots of derision by locals on Lamma.
Peter Berry, Lamma
Declare mansion as monument
Ho Tung Gardens at 75 Peak Road must not be demolished. The public good must always come before personal interests. This is a sacred duty that has to be discharged for the benefit of future generations of Hong Kong citizens.
The government should show some mettle in dealing with Ho Min-kwan, using a firmer hand with her.
Her mansion should be declared what it is - a monument. Our chief executive should personally intervene to solve this deadlock. [The government should] acquire it, paying her what is due to her and transform it into a museum, with libraries and galleries that will attract millions of tourists.
The proposal by Secretary for Development Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor to save only the facade is just rubbish.
King Ludwig of Bavaria was deemed a madman for squandering huge sums for building his fanciful Bavarian castles. But today they are one of the main money-spinners for the state.
Angelo Paratico, Sheung Wan
Officials failed to respond
The thought of mainlanders coming to Hong Kong and enjoying benefits that are meant for the city's citizens angers me.
I do not support mainland mothers being allowed to come here to give birth.
It makes it difficult for local mothers to have access to public hospital facilities.
The SAR government has only limited resources.
I am not saying local people never misbehave. But I realise that when large numbers of mainlanders come here and act impolitely, it disrupts our otherwise disciplined society.
If the administration does not control the influx of mainlanders, our limited resources could all be used up.
If the government controlled the flow of mainland mothers coming in the first place, then the present disputes would not have arisen and there would not be as much discrimination as there is now.
I understand mainland women want better lives for their children, so I am not blaming them.
It is the government that should be blamed for allowing these problems to arise in the first place. It should have foreseen the problems we are now experiencing and dealt with them in advance.
I feel sure that would have meant fewer disagreements between Hongkongers and mainlanders.
However, even though there are a number of disadvantages, without any doubt, there are advantages, too, as there are two sides to everything. These visitors have done a lot for Hong Kong's economy.
This is because many mainlanders are willing to spend money for medical treatment when they come here to give birth.
I do not approve of discrimination and I think it can be avoided if we try to stand where the mainlanders stand and have a deeper understanding of them.
Brittany Chan, Tuen Mun
Car plan could hit problems
There has been a public debate on the government's cross-border driving plan. This will allow private cars from Guangdong into Hong Kong and vice versa.
While the plan is an attempt to build closer transport links between Hong Kong and the mainland, some people have been critical of the proposal and are hesitant about it.
I hesitate to support it.
We have to consider the differences between road rules and between local and mainland driving habits.
Just because a mainland driver may have a Chinese driving licence does not mean that he would be able to drive competently in Hong Kong.
Roads in our city are narrow and congested and different from conditions in many parts of the mainland.
I think allowing cars from across the border will exacerbate our pollution problems as mainland vehicles use a different kind of fuel.
Once the plan is implemented, there will be no turning back.
Although there are some positive aspects, we cannot ignore the drawbacks, and they may lead to conflicts between mainland and Hong Kong drivers.
There should be more consultation between affected parties on both sides of the border, before the government implements the scheme.
Chan Cheuk-sze, Tseung Kwan O
Police tests can curb drug use
I refer to the report ('New tests to catch drivers on drugs', March 11).
The tests will target drivers who have taken drugs before getting behind the wheel of their car.
Motorists who are under the influence of drugs can cause serious accidents. They are generally more seriously impaired than drivers who have consumed alcohol. This was a growing problem that had to be addressed by police before it got worse.
I agree with the new tests. Hopefully, the publicity will raise awareness about the danger a driver poses to other road users if he takes drugs.
Even if drivers have not been involved in any accidents, they must realise the pointless risks involved.
It is important that the tests are compulsory as this will lead to a drop in accident rates.
The government must get the message across, especially to teenagers, that taking illegal drugs is bad for your health.
The fact that the drug tests are compulsory, and drivers know they will face penalties through the courts, can act as an effective deterrent for many motorists.
Ken Lam, Tsuen Wan