Letters to the Editor, August 10, 2013
Criticism of Paul Chan is unfounded
I refer to Alice Wu's column ("Fuel to the fire", August 5).
Ms Wu's criticism of development chief Paul Chan Mo-po is interesting but I will not take it seriously.
Mr Chan's family bought the farmland in question some 19 years ago, presumably as a long-term investment.
When he was put in charge of the development project in Kwu Tung North, he declared his interests in accordance with prevailing rules that applied to government ministers and this was confirmed by Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying. No rules were breached.
Mr Chan should not be forced to disclose further details regarding financial arrangements between his family members. He and his family are protected by the Privacy Ordinance like everyone else.
The unfounded criticism levelled at Mr Chan is unbelievable, and these attacks show up his critics in a very bad light and raise questions about their motivation.
Prior to the farmland issue, Mr Chan had been criticised for his family's involvement in subdivided flats. What's wrong with running a small business like that?
In the 1950s in Hong Kong, it was common for people from the grass roots to live in subdivided flats. There was not an abundant supply of public housing and many citizens could not afford private apartments.
In those days entrepreneurs ran the businesses which provided grass-roots citizens with this kind of shelter.
Citizens who come from well-to-do families have no idea how people lived during those years when Hong Kong was under colonial rule.
Mr Chan's credibility and integrity have never been in doubt. Our government needs able and tough people like him to meet the challenges that lie ahead. I encourage Mr Chan not to feel frustrated, as he has support.
Sam Wong, Sha Tin
Civil servantsnot long-term visionaries
I refer to the report ("Tycoon praises Tsang for 'open-minded' approach", July 30).
The chairmen of both Sun Hung Kai Properties and Lai Sun Group have weighed in to counter the stinging criticism of our financial secretary by the chairman of the Hang Lung Group.
The main controversy surrounding John Tsang Chun-wah's approach is not whether he is open- or closed-minded, but whether he has the necessary long-term vision to guide Hong Kong financially.
Tsang thinks that "there is a difference between prudent management of public finances and being a miser". He was neither prudent nor a miser when he indiscriminately doled out the HK$6,000 sweetener.
By constantly trying to justify his poor decision Tsang is exposing, in true bureaucratic fashion, the fact that he will not learn from his mistakes and thus retains the propensity to make similar knee-jerk handouts. This is a serious failing for a senior politician.
This exposes the structural weakness of Hong Kong's governance, where civil servants are appointed to the posts of bureau secretaries and are then required to formulate long-term strategies and make far-reaching decisions.
K. Y. Leung, Shouson Hill
Tunnel bus rule adds to slow traffic
Why doesn't the management of Aberdeen Tunnel allow buses to use the right lane?
This is silly and it creates unnecessary congestion to the Wan Chai exit during rush hours.
This is an example of substandard management.
Joseph Lee, Ap Lei Chau
Sugary foods belong 'down the drain'
Now that the sickeningly rich cronuts are being promoted in Hong Kong, it seems the city is headed down the same road taken by the heedless developed countries where obesity and diabetes are rife ("Cronuts: the hole story", August 2).
Why is it local entrepreneurs love to ape the dumbest Western trends, no matter how toxic?
I am surprised that your report did not recall the brief saga of the equally nauseating Krispy Kreme doughnuts, which were being sold here not long ago. Those were even more cholesterol-laden sugary concoctions that sold like hot cakes at first but soon petered out with the public.
Let's hope this cloying new product goes down the drain as well.
Vandana Marino, Lantau
Airport suffersunder rival masters
I refer to the letter by Keith Moran ("Air-traffic controllers the key element", July 27) which refers to Albert Cheng King-hon's column ("Hong Kong must exhaust all other options before building third runway", July 19).
They both showed there is no genuine need for a third runway at Hong Kong airport, but there must be more efficient take-offs and landings.
The present problem is created by the fact that the Civil Aviation Department operates flight movements while the airport property is run by the Airport Authority. It has dual roles as property developer and property management company.
As a property developer and management company, the more property the authority holds the better, as it can also collect more rent. But unlike a genuine developer, developments are all financed by taxpayers and airport users, while the so-called profits are credited to the authority. And being a typical government department, the Civil Aviation Department is not interested in creating more work for its staff, which by its own standards are already overworked.
The department and authority will never work together because they have different vested interests, one in doing as little as possible and the latter empire-building and paying airport staff high salaries. They will not work together unless forced to.
This can only be achieved by having a government think tank do an independent study. This is necessary as studies for more developments at the airport have been financed or sponsored by the authority. Without an independent review, billions in public money will again be wasted, which is what happened with the building of Terminal 2.
It is full of empty restaurants which serve as airport staff canteens, and shops for staff and Tung Chung residents, all built with taxpayers' money.
The authority's overstaffing and high salaries must also come under the spotlight.
Dora Li, Admiralty
Health care should tap intoyoung minds
Having seen my mother tortured by lung cancer, I could not help but wonder why it has taken researchers and doctors so long to create more effective methods to detect the often terminal illness, given that the survival rate of patients at the early stage is usually much higher.
The vicious nature of the disease definitely has a part to play, but I wonder if there are perhaps any structural problems in health-care systems which are failing to encourage the kind of innovation which makes medical breakthroughs possible.
I was really impressed to read about American high school student Jack Andraka, who was able to develop a dipstick diagnostic test for a biomarker for pancreatic cancer despite the very negative response given by the medical research community initially.
The test can be also used for lung and ovarian cancer.
His personal experience has driven him to make innovations.
What kinds of opportunity and support are being given to young people with scientific talent to help them create breakthroughs in the field of medicine?
Seeing his confident presentation of the new method, which is cheap and simple, I am convinced that the key to solving many of the medical problems facing us is to create an environment which encourages creative thinking.
Priscilla Tang, Sha Tin
Hong Kong needs more citizen action
I reckon that most road accidents are due to the carelessness of road users and can be prevented.
One afternoon late last month, while outside Lok Fu MTR station, I spotted a hole where part of the surface of the road had collapsed.
It was clear that it posed a threat to road users, especially drivers.
Realising that unwary motorists could be at risk of injury, I felt that I had to do something about it to prevent casualties.
I therefore called 999 and alerted police.
I then stood by the side of the road for 20 minutes waiting for officers to arrive and alerted oncoming traffic to the presence of the hole in the carriageway by placing a traffic cone next to it.
I was able to prevent a cyclist from possible serious injury by making sure he knew about the hazard as he cycled towards it.
I think all Hongkongers have to recognise the need for good citizenship.
We all have a responsibility to take action like this when we see this kind of hazard if we feel that by doing so we can prevent unnecessary accidents and help stop fellow citizens from being injured.
Kwok Tak-ming, Wong Tai Sin