Letters to the Editor, July 14, 2013

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 14 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 14 July, 2013, 1:50am

Traders who killed marlin no role models

Am I the only one who read the report ("'Once in a lifetime' catch for hedge fund traders", July 7) with some trepidation?

The glorification of a group of individuals who are not only well paid and obviously equipped with the latest fishing technology, but who went to great lengths to catch a 3.6 metre marlin is hardly good news for the rest of us.

Firstly, the numerous disputes over fishing rights, to enable local fishermen to catch much needed fish to feed hungry coastal populations, are not mentioned in the report, which implies that wealth can overcome such restrictions.

Secondly, from the statement that "there had been no reports of a blue marlin catch in local waters for at least 15 years", one can tragically infer we will be unlikely to see any more members of this species for a long time from now on.

Lastly, with the amount of resources poured into landing this noble fish, one reflects that these funds could have been put to good use in promoting stewardship of the oceans.

I would suggest that this, sadly, is not the type of role modelling that we should be encouraging if we are genuine in our concern for sustainable development for Asia's and Hong Kong's future.

Thomas Tang, Mid-Levels


Blue beauty's removal cause for sadness

I was saddened to see the image of a beautiful Pacific blue marlin which had been caught by six Hong Kong men ("'Once in a lifetime' catch for hedge fund traders", July 7).

When our global fish stocks are constantly diminishing, how can we possibly glorify this on the front page of a newspaper? How can anyone glean any satisfaction from removing this beautiful species from our waters?

Hong Kong is making some progressive steps in marine conservation with the trawling ban now in place.

Our fish stocks need to recover, so I hope this doesn't now entice more people into the sport.

Ellie-Kate Macalister, Mid-Levels


Elderly should not be left standing

As a senior citizen and regular passenger on Discovery Bay's bus routes to Tung Chung and Sunny Bay, I take very strong exception to Veronica Bennett's letter ("Seating of children on public transport a matter of safety", July 7).

Your correspondent was justifying children occupying seats on fully loaded buses to the exclusion of older passengers.

This is a constant and annoying problem on these buses and must be resolved.

As a recent example, I boarded an already fully seated off-peak bus at Tung Chung and by the time of departure there were 16 standees.

Alongside me was a very elderly lady with a heavy shopping bag, while on adjacent seats were a father and mother with a small child alongside each.

I suggested very politely to the parents that it might be a nice idea to place one of the children on a lap to allow the frail old lady to be seated.

Unfortunately, my suggestion was met by a torrent of abuse and a total rejection which caused quite a commotion on the bus.

I can quote other frequent examples where non-fare-paying children could quite reasonably be accommodated on laps when elderly passengers are standing and where parents refuse to co-operate.

When I was a child in the 1940s my parents drummed it into me that I must always give up my seat on a full bus or tram for a lady or senior citizen, and I still do.

There was no pampering in those days with the thought that the bus might jerk and cause me to fall down in the aisle, because one of my parents would always hold tightly on to me.

It seems to me there is a deplorable lack of courtesy and breeding in young parents these days and this is manifested all too often, particularly on the Discovery Bay buses.

There is a fundamental issue on the Discovery Bay buses, however, which requires urgent attention and that is an increasing lack of capacity, which both the bus company and Transport Department need to address.

There either has to be a more frequent service or, better still, larger capacity buses that provide seats for everyone and more adequate space for the other problem of aisle- obstructing push chairs.

Lyndon Rees, Tung Chung


Disregard for democracy and rule of law

According to M. C. Basquejo ("Extensive US surveillance is inevitable", July 3), in reply to my letter ("West needs to curb its own aggression", June 24), Mark Zuckerberg is someone we should all look up to.

Even a cursory search shows that, far from being a constant paragon of virtue, lawsuits have questioned his integrity.

As for Facebook, it is well known for its security and privacy breaches. Yet somehow it is Edward Snowden who is callow and Zuckerberg merely cuddly and benign.

M.C. Basquejo adds it is better the West is doing the spying rather than China. Aside from the fact they are both doing it, I find it difficult to tell them apart nowadays.

Preferring the West is like saying it is better to be spied on by the Stasi than the KGB. I am rightly concerned (not "hysterical") when secret organisations carry out secret surveillance, overseen by secret courts.

Who is to know which other legitimate groups are being monitored at the same time as the terrorists? Who is to be the judge of which of these groups is in "need" of watching?

The cavalier attitude continues with regard to the law ("by fair means or foul") and shows that your correspondent is willing to give up the rule of law and everything democracy stands for just to feel safer in bed at night.

I am sure Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes would love to feel the same; however, he was shot several times in the head by British police who mistook him for a terrorist.

Undoubtedly your correspondent believes this kind of collateral damage, as with our privacy, is the price we pay for safety. Try telling that to the de Menezes family, Reuters journalists in Iraq or wedding parties in Afghanistan [both victims of US air strikes].

Lastly, your correspondent called Snowden a "whistle-blower" - did they not get the memo? The US government made it clear he was to be referred to as a "leaker".

Gareth Jones, North Point


Have a no-go zone instead of shopping zone

A business group has proposed developing Lantau into a commercial zone, with more shopping malls in Tung Chung, to divert tourists from overcrowded districts such as Tsim Sha Tsui, Central and Causeway Bay.

With the airport being sited in Lantau, visitors are already on the island when they arrive. Developing a commercial zone there, goes the argument, can ensure a percentage of the tourists remain there, at least temporarily, so reducing numbers in other traditionally crowded areas in Hong Kong and Kowloon. However, this thinking is rather simplistic.

According to Tourism Commission figures, Hong Kong received a record 48.6 million visitors in 2012, almost 72 per cent of these from the mainland. Since most of these arrive by crossing the Shenzhen-Hong Kong border, developing Lantau into a commercial zone is unlikely to greatly affect their willingness to travel to traditionally favoured, overcrowded, districts.

Moreover, developing Lantau into a commercial zone will attract only those visitors interested in shopping, missing those seeking, say, heritage or local food.

Besides, some tourist spots can never be replaced, or replicated, such as Victoria Harbour, Lan Kwai Fong, and so on.

In conclusion, I support limiting the number of mainland people arriving, which increases each year. Although this can benefit Hong Kong's economy, we simply can't accommodate unlimited escalating numbers, which might deepen evident existing Hong Kong-mainland antipathy.

Ho Chien-chang, Sha Tin


Put freeze on visit scheme to ease inflation

I am opposed to any extension of the individual visit scheme and multiple visit permits.

The purpose of the individual visit scheme when it was introduced in 2003 was to boost the economies of Hong Kong and Macau, which had been hit by severe acute respiratory syndrome. In particular in Hong Kong, the tourism industry had been adversely affected. The scheme helped it to recover, bringing profits to businesses and more jobs.

But it has brought problems, such as fuelling inflationary pressure on the price of food, consumer goods and flats, and on rents. Rising inflation affects the livelihood of Hong Kong people. Also, the influx of visitors has led to overcrowding in certain areas of the city.

The local and mainland governments must look at the benefits and drawbacks of the scheme and it should not be extended until Hong Kong has sufficient infrastructure to cope with more mainland tourists.

Phyllis Lee, Yau Yat Chuen