Letters to the Editor, November 17, 2012
Force property developers to sponsor golf
As a PGA European Tour accredited photographer, I find reports suggesting the Hong Kong Open golf championship may lose its elite status as a PGA European Tour event very worrying.
This is a sad reflection on the lack of support from big business to sponsor professional sporting events.
Since the open became part of the European Tour its status in world golf has risen considerably, and the appeal of the city, the golf course on which the event is played and even the history of the event have helped attract some of the world's leading golfers to compete at Fanling. This has been fantastic for local golf fans and has led to many youngsters here taking up the sport.
The obvious sponsor of the open would be one of Hong Kong's leading property development companies, as their owners are without doubt the city's richest people (many are probably members of the Hong Kong Golf Club).
Putting up US$5 million or US$6 million, which would probably be tax deductible, would be pocket change to these companies, so why they don't step up to support this and other professional sporting events is a complete mystery.
Perhaps the government should force these super-rich companies to financially support local sport at all levels by levying a small vendors' tax on all new property transactions.
The proceeds would go into a dedicated fund that would be used exclusively to provide better sports facilities for schools and colleges and also for the sponsorship of professional events such as the Hong Kong Open.
Richard Castka, Tai Po
'World city' a technology basket case
Hong Kong's claim to be Asia's world city sounds a bit overstated, to put it mildly.
On the technology front, Hong Kong is still a basket case. The local supermarkets are a good example of this.
Top supermarket chains such as Tesco in Britain or Delhaize in Belgium have fully automated cash counters.
You scan your merchandise, bag your goods, and then pay with your credit card (or even cash). The whole transaction takes only a few minutes.
Those who are technology-shy can still visit old-fashioned cash registers.
Unfortunately in Hong Kong's supermarkets, people have to cope with long queues, especially on weekends, progressing at a snail's pace.
The fact that the local retail market is a cosy duopoly with no competition to make the environment more customer- friendly is most likely the key factor behind Hong Kong's backward service environment.
Likewise, it is mind-boggling to me why petrol stations here don't offer their clients a self-service option
Kristiaan Helsen, Sai Kung
Premiership deal denial of free economy
Am I the only one who is frustrated by the constant switching of three-year premiership rights between Cable TV and Now TV?
I can't remember the last time (if there has ever been such a case) where a single provider was successful in renewing its contract.
While I congratulate the owners of both companies for what essentially is profit-sharing on a monopoly they've carved out between themselves, it really does reflect how much big business controls in Hong Kong and how little choice consumers have.
Whoever nominated Hong Kong as the world's freest economy should try living here for a few years.
Michael Lau, Tsim Sha Tsui
Glass safety code adheres to best practice
I refer to the letter by Berlin Chu Chim-ying ("Tougher laws can make glass windows safer", November 6).
Your correspondent claims that the Buildings Department's "standards for tempered glass are lower than the standards set in many European countries. The requirement for a heat bath … requires 24 hours in Europe but the requirement in Hong Kong was only two hours".
These comments are not completely correct and may lead to misunderstandings. On the quality control of tempered glass, the standard specified by the department on the heat- soak process for tempered glass has followed the European standard.
The department specifies in its Practice Note for Authorised Persons, Registered Structural Engineers and Registered Geotechnical Engineers APP-37: Curtain Wall, Window and Window Wall Systems (PNAP APP-37), that heat-soak process conforming to BS EN 14179-1:2005 or other equivalent international standards should be carried out on all tempered glass panes to eliminate tempered glass with nickel sulphide causing spontaneous breakage.
The BS EN 14179-1:2005 for heat-soak process requiring surface temperature of the glass panes maintained in the range of 290 degrees Celsius (plus or minus 10 degrees) for two hours minimum is in fact in full compliance with the European Standard EN 14179-1:2005, which is widely adopted in European countries and developed countries such as Singapore, Australia and the US.
We are not aware of any internationally recognised standard for heat-soak process for tempered glass of "a heat bath [of] 24 hours" mentioned in the letter.
Details of the PNAP APP-37 can be seen on the department's website http://www.bd.gov.hk under the "Practice Notes for Authorised Persons, Registered Structural Engineers and Registered Geotechnical Engineers".
In setting safety standards for private buildings in Hong Kong, the department always refers to international standards and experiences.
C.M. Koon, assistant director/New Buildings 2, Buildings Department
Ending British aid for India is a wise move
I refer to the report ("Britain to stop all aid to India by 2015", November 10).
The British government has made a wise decision.
Apart from the fact that New Delhi has financed its own national space programme for the past 10 years, if you look at the rich lists in Forbes and Fortune magazines, India's billionaire industrialists are among the world's wealthiest people.
For more than six decades Britain has provided all sorts of social aid to India and British premier David Cameron has made a wise decision for the sake of his nation.
K.M. Nasir, Mid-Levels
Together we can eliminate food waste
When I was young I was taught that it was wrong to waste food. I grew up believing this principle and am cautious about how much food I buy in stores and what portions to order in restaurants.
I was staggered to learn, while watching a TV programme recently, that in Hong Kong we produce on average 3,237 tonnes of food waste every day.
This saddens me when I think of the number of people, many of them children, dying of hunger in the world. Food waste is an ethical and environmental issue, because this waste ends up in nearly full landfills. We must all work together to combat the problem.
Households have an important role to play by not buying more than they need in fresh food markets. Also, there is a subtle difference between "best before" and "use by" date labels. A "use by" date advises not to consume food beyond that date, while this is not the case with a "best before" label.
Much of the food wasted comes from supermarkets. To give consumers the impression that their food is plentiful and fresh, these retail chains put excessive amounts on the shelves. I back the initiatives of some stores to donate unused food for distribution to the poor. This should become standard practice for our main retail chains.
I would also like to see a food waste charge. It acts as a financial incentive and will make people think twice before throwing away food.
Positive change is possible through a collective effort.
Lee Cheuk-ming, Discovery Bay
Bright picture for flourishing arts scene
I refer to Roy Cuthbert's letter ("Artists need more space to exhibit", November 6). In the past two years there has been a significant increase in gallery space, especially around Wong Chuk Hang; 3812 Contemporary Art Projects has the island's largest space, with more than 7,000 square feet dedicated to Asian contemporary artists.
Also, Fine Art Asia, a Hong Kong-owned and -developed art fair, drew record international crowds last October for its annual fine art and antiques fair. Fine Art Asia also sponsors a hotel lobby exhibition twice a year where artists' works are displayed for the public to see.
K11 continues its excellent support and development of art and artists under the guidance of Adrian Cheng. The vibrancy of Hong Kong's art scene is developing and this in turn is supporting local artists.
Para/Site continues its excellent work and the recent addition of the Hong Kong Commercial Art Galleries Association brings a new level of distinction to Hong Kong's role as an international art hub.
Mark Peaker, co-founder and CEO, 3812 Contemporary Art Projects