Letters to the Editor, October 19, 2012
Safety at sea tightened after ferry tragedy
I refer to the letter from Vanessa Ng ("Government can learn from tragedy", October 16).
The Marine Department is deeply concerned about the vessel collision off Lamma Island on October 1 and its staff are saddened by the tragedy. After the incident, the department immediately strengthened various measures to enhance maritime safety. These include requesting ferry and launch companies to adopt immediately feasible measures to ensure the provision of adequate life-saving appliances on board and to enhance safety management.
The department and the companies have also set up a working group to study how to raise vessel safety standards, including the requirements for personnel and safety equipment. Also, the department will continue its spot-checking of local vessels, in particular checking the life-saving appliances and their placement on board.
If equipment is found to be defective during an inspection, we will follow up, including issuing warnings, and the shipping company will be required to make improvements for us to carry out a re-inspection within a specific time frame.
Furthermore, the department will convene a Local Vessels Advisory Committee meeting on October 26. At this meeting, the department will discuss with the local vessels industry feasible measures to enhance vessel and navigational safety.
We will also organise seminars for operating companies of launches, ferries and kaidos to promote the safety of passenger vessels. The seminars will cover navigational safety, emergency response, and analysis of the causes of accidents in the past and the application of life-saving appliances. Representatives of the outlying islands will also be invited to the seminars.
The department will also publish pamphlets and produce announcements in the public interest to promote safety awareness.
Leung Wing-fai, general manager/ local vessels safety, Marine Department
Waste culture shames city and must end
Hong Kong is an international city and yet there is still a wide gap between rich and poor.
You often see well-off people eating out in restaurants and leaving a lot of food uneaten, which is so wasteful.
By contrast, you will see elderly people collecting cardboard on the streets to sell and they struggle to make the money they need to have enough to eat. Therefore, I cannot understand why so much food is wasted in restaurants and homes every day.
Our children grow up taking food for granted. They see a plentiful supply in the supermarket and do not appreciate the effort that goes into growing and harvesting it so they do not learn to treasure it.
There has to be a change of attitudes with schools and parents taking responsibility to teach the next generation about the importance of food and the need to cut back on waste.
The government must also consider charges for restaurants based on the volume of food waste they generate.
Tracy Yu Ming-chui, Yau Yat Chuen
Recycling effort starts with using less
I share the views expressed by Heidi Chan Hoi-ting ("Further ideas on recycling of mooncakes", October 10).
Reusing mooncake tins will reduce the pressure on our landfills. The recycling rate of these tins has increased as Hongkongers acquire greater environmental awareness.
While recycling helps, it uses up a lot of energy. Reduced consumption would offer an even better solution.
People will often buy two or more tins of mooncakes for relatives and friends, and nowadays they come with excessive packaging and disposable knives and forks.
In fact there is a lot of needless waste at other festivals in the city, such as red lai see packets during Lunar New Year, and paper money during Ching Ming. I am not saying that our traditions should not be continued but we should try to minimise the impact we have on our vulnerable environment and seek more environmentally friendly options. For example, people could make virtual offerings online and reuse old red packets.
We need to focus on reducing waste at source.
Leung Kit-yan, Diamond Hill
All have stake in helping Leung succeed
In his National Day speech, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said that Hong Kong "must achieve a higher and sustainable economic growth rate in order to address various long-standing problems, including housing, poverty, an ageing population and pollution".
He said the way forward was through continuing integration with the mainland to boost Hong Kong's economy and sustainability. As Executive Council convenor Lam Woon-kwong advised: "It is inevitable that conflicts will arise in the integration process. We should sort them out using a positive attitude, but we should not dodge the problem" ("Integration is 'inevitable and essential', Leung says", October 2).
As to social and political integration with the mainland, I believe this has to take place at an evolving pace under the "one country, two systems" concept, which recognises that our local history and systems have established links with international norms of human rights and the rule of law.
For Hong Kong to evolve productively and harmoniously with the mainland, there will have to be prolonged dialogue and communication between the chief executive and his team with all sectors of our community including the emerging civil society and the post-1980s generation.
Winning the trust and confidence of Hong Kong people in order to forge a "patriotism, HK-style" that is true and honourable, will be one of C.Y. Leung's greatest challenges in the coming five years.
Hongkongers should look ahead and reach out to assist him as chief executive to rise to the challenge for the sake of our coming generations.
Hilton Cheong-Leen, To Kwa Wan
Need to think again on love and religion
Rishi Teckchandani has got it all wrong when he says people should follow the religion of love ("Love is the true religion for all people", October 4).
The solution is to teach everyone critical thinking skills from an early age. People will then realise that they don't need to follow anybody or any religion.
They don't need to let anyone or any organisation tell them what to do. They can work it out for themselves. We're all individuals.
Will Lai, Western District
Hinduism's long history of tolerance
In his letter ("True religion a model of compassion", October 6), David Chamber claims to have read about religions over a long period and mentions Judaism, Christianity and Islam as the major religions.
I agree with him about their importance but cannot understand why he overlooked Hinduism as a major religion.
People I have met from Eastern and Western countries who have a deep knowledge of religions all agree that Hinduism is one of the world's most ancient and peace-loving religions.
Unlike other religions, it has not spread but has been confined mostly to India.
The major reason for this is that there is no suggestion that there should be an effort made to convert non-Hindus.
I believe there are close to one billion followers of Hinduism.
Our temples and holy places are open to followers of other religions. It has a liberal outlook and a Hindu who converts to another religion will not be harmed.
Hinduism puts all religions on an equal footing.
Unlike some countries, India, being a democracy, allows all minority religions to have their places of worship.
There may be certain aspects of Hinduism that people do not agree with, but for 5,000 years it has preached a philosophy of equality, love, peace and mutual respect.
Ranjit Bhawnani, Tsim Sha Tsui
Bus crush conflicts with safety mantra
I read with great interest Gary Wong's letter regarding the safety standards of KMB ("KMB places emphasis on safe driving", October 1).
Mr Wong, head of KMB's safety and service quality department, stated that "a stringent safety governance framework is the key to ensuring the highest levels of safety performance".
Over National Day holiday weekend, I witnessed a constant stream of very overcrowded buses heading to and from Sai Kung.
Passengers were allowed to stand crammed up against the windscreen and also on the upper deck, no doubt listening to the regular "for your safety, please hold the handrail" announcements in three languages.
This disregard for passenger safety and comfort does not tally with Mr Wong's assertion that as "a company (KMB) … is committed to offering the safest and best services to the public".
How long will it be before there is yet another major accident along Hiram's Highway?
Perhaps Mr Wong would like to comment on this and explain why KMB allows overcrowded buses on Hong Kong's roads.
John Croft, Sai Kung