Letters to the Editor, February 27, 2013
Jockey Club and HKU in united effort
I refer to the report concerning the groundbreaking research into "brittle tail syndrome" in racehorses ("Professor solves mystery in the tail", February 20).
The article, while correctly hailing the efforts of Professor Yuen Kwong-yung and his team at the University of Hong Kong, unfortunately overlooked the true extent of the collaboration between the Hong Kong Jockey Club and HKU.
It should be noted that the veterinary team at the Jockey Club first identified and named this novel syndrome back in 2004.
While it is right to credit Professor Yuen and his team for their very significant contribution to identifying the specific fungus responsible for causing the condition among horses at the Jockey Club, it should be noted that a large body of work performed by many others, including veterinarians at the Jockey Club, had previously identified that the syndrome was caused by a fungus.
It was after these experts had conducted thorough scientific investigation and identified a fungal cause that the club engaged Professor Yuen's team at HKU for further investigation through specialised micro- biological tests.
This was done in the correct belief that the university's advanced research facilities and Professor Yuen's expertise in this area would accomplish the headline breakthrough.
Scientists and clinicians thrive on constructive collaborative effort and I am delighted that we have seen this particular combined effort result in a discovery that will hopefully lead to a solution to the problem of "brittle tail syndrome".
It is satisfying, above all other considerations, to know that this research will contribute to the continued well-being of Hong Kong's horse population, but it is important for healthy collaboration within the scientific community that appropriate recognition is afforded to all those involved.
Dr Chris Riggs, head of veterinary clinical services, the Hong Kong Jockey Club
Containers are a feasible housing option
I believe that shipping containers stacked beneath flyovers would offer a potential solution to the rising housing demand of young people desperate for affordable housing.
I think it would be feasible to turn these containers into living compartments as it would require little time and little money.
The idea of living in shipping containers is, in fact, not a new idea in Hong Kong as I have seen them situated on hiking trails such as the Tai Lam Chung Country Trail, serving as dwellings for security guards who may stay there for the night.
These containers could shield tenants from adverse weather conditions and there would be no problems of water leakage, something that can be a constant dilemma for tenants living in subdivided units in dilapidated flats.
As long as there are essential facilities nearby, such as for washing, shipping containers can provide homes for many young Hongkongers.
If they were placed around Hong Kong, they could brighten up the city.
They would offer people a chance to showcase their artistic talent by decorating the containers with paintings, graffiti or even sculptures.
This would be a way for the government to show its determination to help Hong Kong's art sector while at the same time providing affordable accommodation to young people.
Leung Ka-yan, Ma On Shan
Hollande's socialist recipe for disaster
The recent dismal performance of the French economy does not come as a surprise to me.
The composite output index, which measures both manufacturing and services, plunged further, from 42.7 in January to 42.3 in February, close to a four-year low. (Any number below 50 indicates a contraction.)
The French administration, led by the inexperienced, radical socialist Francois Hollande, who said publicly that he "does not like the rich", has crushed domestic confidence with its economic policies.
Domestically, Hollande's policy pledges have included imposing a 75 per cent income tax bracket, and eliminating performance-related pay for civil servants.
The declining industrial competitiveness and the incompetence of the administration really leaves scant room for optimism on the French situation.
Samantha Datwani, Fortress Hill
City can be a hi-tech hub in the region
I attended a recent meeting with some information and communications technology veterans.
We discussed how ICT could most effectively support the future success of Hong Kong. We felt it should not only have a supporting role for other industries, but should be a major industry that could contribute to gross domestic product. Surely it is possible for Hong Kong to become a software development hub in the region.
It has one of the region's best ICT infrastructures. We have the most advanced mobile technologies available and mobile coverage is almost seamless everywhere. Our mobile usage growth is unprecedented. Our broadband network is also ranked one of the best among the world's leading metropolises. We should maintain the best infrastructure and ensure we have the most up-to-date technologies ready for government, business and individual usage.
With the best infrastructure and hi-tech adoption rate, we have the basis to create more ICT business opportunities in Hong Kong.
Over the past two years, many successful mobile apps development firms have been established and some have achieved international recognition. Also, there are many small and medium-sized ICT enterprises here which play an indispensable role in developing enterprise applications for Hong Kong companies. However, most of these SMEs do not have a chance to sell their products overseas due to budgetary constraints.
The government should consider allocating funding to launch a scheme for innovative ICT SMEs for research and development and to help them promote their products overseas.
The overseas opportunity would not only bring business to the firms but would also eventually bring new overseas practices back to Hong Kong. The applications could then be further improved.
As the ICT pie grows bigger young people will be keen to pursue a career in this field and can help make Hong Kong become a software development hub in the region.
York Mok, Kwun Tong
KMB's fare increase is acceptable
I refer to the report ("KMB to increase fares by 4.9pc after financial losses", February 20).
The bus company made losses of HK$15.2 million in the first half of last year.
It has decided to raise fares by 4.9 per cent from March 17.
I think the company's decision is a reasonable one.
More people are choosing to take the MTR instead of catching a bus while many people use their own cars. Sometimes I see a bus on the road with no passengers on board.
If necessary, the government should be willing to help those public transport companies which are struggling, because, if they closed down, it would affect many people who still depend on buses to get to work because of where they live.
Max Tsang, Tsuen Wan