Letters to the Editor, July 7, 2013
PLA ready to respond in Central protest
I refer to the article by Anson Chan Fang On-sang ("By popular demand", June 28).
She talks of a campaign "by some chambers of commerce and other bastions of vested interest" which claim that Occupy Central will "cause economic mayhem and irrevocably tarnish Hong Kong's image as a global business and financial services centre".
If Occupy Central is not calculated to do these things Benny Tai Yiu-ting would not have made the threats he has made regarding the group's actions.
I fail to understand what Mrs Chan meant when she talked about "a concerted effort to vilify and intimidate potential supporters of the campaign".
Let's stop beating about the bush. All that the government is doing is to democratise step by step in accordance with what was promised in the Basic Law from day one and the timetable given by the National People's Congress Standing Committee in 2007. And universal suffrage is all that has been promised.
The democratic camp condemned it as not being true universal suffrage and true democracy so they have the excuse to cause maximum obstruction to effective governance and in turn to have the excuse to topple Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's administration.
Obstructing the roads in Central cannot be tolerated. If the police are unable to remove the obstructions or put down what then turns into riots, the chances are the People's Liberation Army will have to be called in to restore order. And the PLA has been rehearsing for it.
Peter Lok, Chai Wan
Pity sleepless in Sai Yeung Choi Street
While light pollution is a problem in Hong Kong it is particularly bad in urban areas where there is a mix of commercial and residential properties, such as Mong Kok and Causeway Bay. For example, in Mong Kok, Sai Yeung Choi Street and Nathan Road can be singled out.
There have been calls for the government to deal with this through legislation, but instead it has opted for guidelines and in what form they will come is now the subject of discussion.
The guidelines by their very nature will rely on self-regulation on the part of the business sector. The idea will be to reduce the amount of bright outdoor lighting that stays switched on late at night, especially at business premises which have closed. Officials want to stop these lights shining into the homes of nearby residents who are trying to sleep.
However, over the past few years neon lights have been getting brighter and for the government to believe that businesses will adhere to a system of self-regulation and bring about the necessary improvements is wishful thinking.
Many cities have rules to control outdoor lighting. Bringing in tough rules is a global trend and Hong Kong should be no exception.
The government, along with society, should tackle this pressing problem together. Although we cannot dispense with adequate lighting, we can do without excessive lighting.
Hong Kong should live up to what is expected of an international metropolis, making good use of artificial lighting while reducing the negative effects of light pollution. The government must consider tackling the problem through legislation as soon as possible.
Sharon Chan Sze-wan, Sha Tin
Education the only answer to waste crisis
I'm writing to respond to Tim Lo's letter ("Landfills not only solution to our waste", June 24).
Whether to expand our landfill in Tseung Kwan O or not has been a hot topic in recent weeks.
There were many voices in opposition to the expansion, complaining it harms both the environment and the quality of life of Tseung Kwan O residents.
In response, Mr Lo proposed alternative solutions to the increasing problem of the rising amount of municipal solid waste, such as sending it to Shenzhen's "not fully utilised" incinerators.
It is undeniable that sending waste elsewhere for further treatment has its advantages, such as decreasing the burden on our society and offering a solution without creating conflict between government and the residents and environmentalists.
However, I think such a potential solution requires second thoughts.
Societies send waste beyond their borders because they cannot solve their own waste management problems, or want to buy time to develop waste treatment facilities. However, this is a defeatist attitude to solving our own problems, while increasing the burden on the mainland. It would be selfish and unethical for us to do this.
There are many alternative methods, but each has its own constraints. All the ways mentioned in my letter are merely temporary solutions.
The only way to solve the core problem is to educate citizens through schools and the media to stop the wasteful consumption habits we have in Hong Kong, and to encourage recycling as a common practice. It takes time, but better late than never.
Jessica Fong, North Point
Green shoots of change offer recycling hope
Landfill offers a possible solution to our waste crisis without using incinerators, though Patrick Wilson ("No time for delay over waste crisis", June 20) urges instead that we go full speed towards a recycling plan.
This seems to ignore the subtle changes already taking place in response to the government's environmental protection message.
I see more people bringing along their own reusable shopping bags instead of using disposable plastic bags; litter bins seem less full than they used to be; government and estate security officers enforce bans on handing out leaflets (distribution of which is expensively assisted instead by Hong Kong Post Office's mailing services). Meanwhile, internet junk mail is increasing, but this is all just one click away from being deleted in the computer.
Hong Kong society is gathering momentum, slowly but in the right direction, on recycling. Of course we could all do more. Supermarkets could offer e-receipts instead of paper ones; takeaway food shops could offer discounts to those providing their own reusable container. Handkerchiefs could be promoted instead of disposable paper tissues.
There are many other ideas successfully used in other countries that we could replicate, to help reduce waste in daily life.
Pang Chi-ming, Fanling
Appalling M+ choice a blot on landscape
I wish the image, and competition-winning design, of the M+ Museum on the Kowloon West waterfront, as shown on your front page ("M+ design goes to 'Bird's Nest' team", June 29) was a delayed April Fools joke.
The architects whose design was chosen came up with, well, two rectangular blocks forming an inverted "T"?
A toddler of fewer years than the units forming the museum design, could have come up with a more visually creative concept in just minutes of play, let alone the hundreds of hours and months of planning the current design must have taken.
This building, however stunning the interior may be, no matter the wonder of the artworks on display, is what we and the world will have to look at and marvel upon in the coming years?
It is quite appalling.
What panel chose this, as I have not seen any of the other works displayed previously, and I can only wonder if this was the best of the six shortlisted submissions. Just what did the other five come up with?
Museum committee chairman Victor Lo's comment, that the winning submission was a "very Hong Kong" design, seems wholly out of context.
This makes the Cultural Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui, which has often been criticised for its bland, windowless form on a prominent waterfront location, look awesome.
Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder and "art" is very subjective, but please can someone have a rethink and check the building blocks for something even slightly more creative and worthy of Hong Kong and a world-class museum which we have so far waited well over a decade for.
Clive Miners, Aberdeen
Mainlanders destabilising retail balance
I refer to the report ("McDonald's loses prime slot in Causeway Bay to Sa Sa make-up chain", June 27).
The restaurant giant is moving out of its location in Russell Street, Causeway Bay, to make way for a cosmetics chain which sells a lot of its products to mainlanders and is willing to pay a much higher rent.
Hong Kong's retail structure relies heavily on mainlanders. Businessmen recognise that shops selling cosmetics, high-end fashion and luxury accessories are most profitable.
These popular streets in Causeway Bay could become the sole preserve of mainland shoppers. Local people will find cheaper places to shop and eat.
We could see an over-reliance in Hong Kong on mainlanders' spending power. This does not equate with sustainable economic development.
Tseung Cheuk-yee, Boston, Massachusetts, US