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Letters to the Editor, February 27, 2013

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 February, 2013, 4:55am

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

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This article is now closed to comments

pslhk
Feb 27 letters are still opento comments now
Hollander323
The pollution problem of HK is not as serious and urgent as it sound. Big corporations are exploiting environmental protection (EP) as a tool to help them to gain approval for more capital expenditures, the more the expenditure the more profit they can reap. The 2 power companies have succeeded in unreasonably incorporating some EP projects into their business plans, now the transportation companies want to follow suit. Emissions by car is in general a maintenance issue, they are entirely the car owner responsibility, when the vehicles are aged up to the point beyond maintenance, only then they should be replaced with the current higher EP standard vehicles. Forced replacement using public money does not worth the cost and we would not see any real benefits. HK people should be told that the poor air quality in town especially places near the harbor are in fact caused by the emissions by the moored vessels in western part of our harbor, as these vessels use very low grade heavy oil for power while they are snugged inside our harbor.
HK-Explorer
The government should start subsidizing the 2 public bus companies for hundreds of millions of dollars to switch their fleet to electric busses or new low emission vehicles. Air pollution is a public concern thus would be a wise use of public money to clean up the busses. If the Hong Kong government swapped out 100 polluting busses yearly we would see a remarkably lower level of roadside pollution. Using public finances to clean up polluting busses would be far more useful than allot of the other areas the government is throwing money at. Hopefully the budget will push money this way and improve the air quality and lives of the people living in Hong Kong.
kctsoi2
""They are only pretending there is a loss!"", megafun
This is a marketing strategy for them. Without a loss, nearly no bargaining power for KMB.
Be honest KMB, You are just making money from the poor!
megafun
the existing bus companies does not need any help. They are only pretnding there is a loss! Profits are taken out under underhanded sub-contracting! What we need is to OPEN the entire bus service, with more players. Then stipulate low emission incentives for new and old operators. Only with more, new GREEN, players will there be any changes. The head of KMB stated on many occassions that he does not reckons e-buses are technologically advance enough for operating here!
megafun
KMB is WRONG about e-bus, they just do not want their dirty carbon-emitters be banned!
 
 
 
 
 

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