Letters to the Editor, July 17, 2013
BMX cyclists want to ride on track at night
I refer to a letter from Donna MacIntosh, the chairwoman of the BMX HK Association ("City's only BMX track in poor state", July 15), and wish to add my own views.
I believe that the BMX park in Kwai Chung, especially the track, should be open to everyone, 24 hours a day.
Security staff must not block any biker from entering, at any time, unless the person is drunk. If someone is under the influence on a bike, then the police should be called to deal with the matter.
Security staff should only intervene where bikers are intentionally damaging the facilities. Crashing into barriers should not be regarded as wilful damage.
I would also like to see several small shops at the site which could offer bike repairs and upgrades. Also there should be a retail outlet, like a 7-Eleven, which would offer food and drinks at reasonable prices.
I do not agree with your correspondent that the Leisure and Cultural Services Department should take over the running of the BMX park as I think this would result in most bikers not being allowed to use the facility.
The department would be opposed to my suggestion of keeping it open throughout the night. But, people prefer to ride their bikes on a track like this at night, when the air is clearer.
I hope the Jockey Club and the Hong Kong Cycling Association will change the present management style or let someone else run it.
Nigel Lam, Tin Shui Wai
School will be off limits for some parents
In his letter ("See school fees not as cost but investment", July 4), Nicholas Pike suggests that parents should consider school fees an investment rather than a cost.
This rather patronising comment appears to be coming from a position of considerable privilege.
There are many parents in Hong Kong who are not in the position to be able to consider how to label their children's schooling expenses as anything other than another cost, adding to their other financial commitments to housing, transport, food and monthly household bills.
Mr Pike's child is already enrolled in a popular and high-achieving school, and he is happy for the school to begin charging fees. The simple truth is that if St Stephen's Girls' College does become a fee-paying school, it will become off limits for parents with more restricted incomes.
If you do not have money, it doesn't matter whether the fees are an investment or a cost, it simply isn't there to be spent.
A. Cable, Cheung Chau
There is a downside to smartphones
Smartphones are growing in popularity and you see many people who appear to be constantly looking at them. Increasingly, they communicate with others via the phones rather than face to face.
This is not a good trend and we should see these devices simply as accessories in our daily lives. They help us send and get messages and also provide entertainment in the form of games. But there are downsides, one being that the gap between older and younger generations is growing wider. Some older people struggle to understand how to use the phones, or they may simply not be feasible for elderly people with poor eyesight.
Another negative trend is that some youngsters feel it is important to purchase the newest model as soon as it comes out.
Smartphones also create social problems when you have youngsters who become obsessed with using them. They pore over them and stay at home rather than going out with friends and talking to them.
They will send text messages to family members rather than calling them directly.
People need to learn to use these devices sensibly and ensure they spend more quality time with friends and family.
Chloe Siu Kin-yiu, Tsuen Wan
Bright lights harm humans and wildlife
I wonder if Hong Kong citizens know how serious the city's light pollution problems are.
The bright lights at night from advertising hoardings, commercial buildings and shopping malls are excessive.
They are bad for our health, for the environment and also adversely affect wildlife.
For humans, excessive lighting can cause headaches, fatigue and stress. It is particularly bad when people suffer sleep deprivation if they live near an advertising sign which stays switched on at night.
Action must be taken to curb this problem. At the very least, lights should be turned off in buildings and on ad signs when they are not needed.
Kelly Chan Lok-yi, Yau Ma Tei
Few parking options for residents
Further to the letter from Richard Gerrish ("Too many cars allowed into country park", July 15), I should like to point out that in the week following his observation of June 30, those entering Sai Kung Country Park (mainly residents, as it was during the week) received a notice about the illegality of parking on the pavement.
Given that illegal parking is a weekly occurrence on the road to Wong Shek Pier, it would appear that the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department and the police are not co-ordinating their activities. One is issuing permits for entry by cars while the other is warning of the consequences of parking.
I should also like to point out that there are places where there is simply no option for residents but to park on the pavement. The village where I live, Pak Sha O, is an example. Parking in the village is impossible as there is no road access, and Hoi Ha Road is too narrow to allow on-road parking.
There is a need for a co-ordinated and considered approach to the issue of safety and parking in the country parks, one that takes into account the real black spots as well as the practical difficulties faced by residents in certain places for whom options are severely limited.
In considering applications to build houses in the country park, impacts on the demand for parking spaces, including the cumulative impacts, should be taken into account by planning officials.
Given the poor public transport provision, any house construction there is likely to result in a requirement for multiple parking spaces, the provision of which is usually ignored.
Geoff Carey, Sai Kung
Inadequate education on breastfeeding
Your leader on baby milk offers an admirably succinct analysis of supply chain management ("Supply is at core of baby milk row", July 12).
However, it completely overlooks one glaringly obvious aspect of the situation, which is the role that breastfeeding could and should be playing in all this. If new mothers were given the education and proper maternity leave they needed, and the opportunity to continue breastfeeding after returning to work, then the proportions of this problem would shrink dramatically.
Of course, the issue of good quality dairy products and unpolluted food for young children would remain, but there wouldn't be the same critical dependence on formula powder.
Plus, of course, babies would gain from the immunities and other health benefits of their own mothers' milk.
Amanda Snow, Lantau