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Letters to the Editor, April 25, 2013

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 25 April, 2013, 2:20am
UPDATED : Thursday, 25 April, 2013, 3:03am

Project will cause misery for residents

The government proposes reclaiming 60 hectares of land at Ma Liu Shui.

The proposed reclamation would turn part of Tolo Harbour into an extension of the Shing Mun River. The flow of the already polluted river (which is really a nullah) would be impeded, further worsening the water quality.

The government pledged to improve the living conditions and environment of Hong Kong people. How would such a huge reclamation project benefit the residents of Ma Liu Shui and Ma On Shan? The reclamation and subsequent construction works mean water, air and noise pollution. Who wants to live next to a huge construction site that will last for around 20 years? 

It is heartless for officials to put such a construction site next to the people whom they are supposed to serve.

I adore Hong Kong's dolphins and believe that they should be protected. But  what about the habitat of people living in Ma Liu Shui and Ma On Shan? Shouldn't we be offered the same protection as the dolphins? I and my two children are allergic to dust and that is why I put my life savings into a waterfront unit at Ma On Shan.

I cannot afford to move because property prices elsewhere are now completely beyond my reach, exacerbated by the drop in the value of my property because of the proposed reclamation. A caring government should settle for the 25 hectares of land (which is already huge) that would be freed up from the relocation of the sewage treatment facilities at Ma Liu Shui.

Officials should put themselves  in the shoes of the residents living in the vicinity and abandon the  60 hectares proposal.

Susan Leung, Ma On Shan

 

US 'war on terror' lacks legitimacy

I refer to Alex Lo's column  ("Victims of war must be humanised, too", April 19). 

I am grateful for his impassive take on an issue that has concerned me since the Vietnam war;  America's lethal force on people (in other countries) it dislikes and, the slaying of innocent civilians during the conduct of its immoral and unethical killing campaign.

I have a slightly different slant  to Lo. I am deeply troubled by the way in which the US gives up its moral and ethical dimensions of a just and democratic society, and unrighteously revokes  citizens' rights in other countries when it suits it.  In sum, it is the old adage of, do as we say, not do as we do.

The US "war on terror" is not an internationally sanctioned war, and many critics have  talked about its illegitimacy.

I am firm in my view that the killing of these seditious and civilian people are murders, not just collateral damage; murders the US continues to perform with absolute impunity.

While I despair at the ongoing carnage, I have a strong conviction the international community will ultimately develop the courage and determination to take the US to an international court.

It  will make the nation and its leaders (past and present) accountable for these crimes and the enduring, intense 8sorrow and anger now burdening the families and friends of the deceased.

Eric Comino, Pat Heung

 

Give eateries new home in Central Market

It was with great dismay I read of the closure of yet one more eating place in Hong Kong, the Ngau Kee Food Cafe, where those working in and visiting this great city could enjoy an 8inexpensive meal in surroundings harking back many decades ("Sheung Wan cha chaan teng closes after 62 years", April 22).

It was another victim of the boundless greed of Hong Kong's landlords. 

It is surely now high time to call a halt to this inexorable destruction of the city's popular 8culinary heritage.

On Sunday it was  a cha chaan teng.

We have also seen the disappearance of noodle shops, hawkers' handcarts, ice-cream vendors with their scooters and sidecars, hole-in-the-wall places selling fish balls and other snacks on a stick. Soon we will lose altogether the aroma of sweet potatoes and chestnuts roasting in charcoal by the roadside on winter days.

But here is an idea. The Urban Renewal Authority is now seeking the public's views on the future direction of  Central Market.

It says in its publicity that, among other things, it wishes "to create an amenity space for the public, especially the working population in Central, for their enjoyment of a variety of leisurely and relaxing activities throughout the day".

So why not make affordable space available in the  revamped Central Market for these lost and threatened food outlets, which will serve to protect us in part from the colonisation of the commercial and business districts by chains of fast food outlets, and fashion  and jewellery stores?

If your readers agree, then let them express their views on the plans for the Central Oasis at (centraloasis.org.hk/eng/%your_suggestions.aspx). 

Russell Jones, Sai Kung

 

Initiative can heal rift with mainland

I refer to the report ("CY offers formula for mainland mums" , April 12).

I agree with the proposal of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to re-export baby milk powder directly from Hong Kong to the mainland once it arrives at our ports or airport.

After the government imposed limits on the number of tins each person could take over the border, supply of powdered formula stabilised in Hong Kong.
This has also led to a drop in prices. This means that Hong Kong would be able to help meet the mainland's needs for infant formula.

The action of imposing a daily quota for people taking milk over the border damaged relations between Hong Kong and other parts of China, because many mainland mothers rely  on the milk powder sold here. 

If Hong Kong can co-operate with this new initiative then this can help to mend fences. 

However, it deals with the issues in a superficial way rather than getting to the root of the problem. 

The fact is that citizens north of the border have lost confidence in products made on the mainland.

Even though some famous foreign brands have opened factories there, some people still will not buy their products.

This has an adverse financial impact on China, because some famous foreign firms which make food products may be put off opening plants on the mainland. 

The central government must do more to restore confidence by beefing up monitoring of factories and curbing incidences of tainted food, such as the scandal of melamine in milk. 

The sooner this is done, the sooner consumers will go back to buying mainland-produced food. 

Christy Cheung Hoi-Lam, Kwai Chung

 

Assessment system piles on more pressure

School-based assessment will be abandoned for three subjects in the Diploma of Secondary Education (DSE) and deferred for nine others ("The results are in: it's back to exams system", April 19).

This has been done after a period of evaluation because of worries over the workload of teachers.

Those teachers consulted said that this assessment system had not minimised exam pressure. 

I welcome this decision by the Education Bureau. The purpose of the school-based assessment was to ease the pressure students faced from a single public exam. However, as these teachers have pointed out, it has had the opposite effect.

Students wanting to get a place at a university want to concentrate on their academic targets but have found instead that they are being distracted by the assessment. It takes a long time to complete assessment work and this is seen as being a waste of time and affecting revision schedules. 

The assessment mark contributes little to the final grade. It is of little help if you do badly in the exam. Also, it is not fair as different schools have different marking schemes so it is not an accurate reflection of standards. Besides, a lot of manpower is needed to conduct the assessment and this has meant that teachers' workloads have become heavier. 

I think it would make sense for the bureau to scrap the assessment system and give students more time to concentrate on studying. 

Shirley Kwok Wing-shuen, Tsuen Wan

 

Angered by defence of incinerator

I was aghast by the letter from  Elvis W. K. Au, assistant director of environmental protection ("Traffic generated by waste management facility will be light", April 17).

He suggested that building the proposed incinerator in an unspoiled area of natural beauty would not affect the eco-system around Shek Kwu Chau.

Cheung Chau had a ferry accident earlier this month and there have been other incidents given the constant flow of routine traffic between Hong Kong and the outlying islands, as well as barges to the Pearl River Delta and fast ferries to Macau, sometimes in dense fog.

Apart from traffic, the eco-system is very fragile in Hong Kong after years of neglect.

The government, in recognition of that fact, has banned trawling so Mr Au presumably is aware of the fragile state of affairs, yet is very persistent in implementing a very expensive project of reclamation, building and servicing.

I would like to know what company is involved in implementing the project.

Robert O'Brien, Cheung Chau

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