Letters to the Editor, October 4, 2013
Place golf club out of bounds to developers
I refer to Solomon Lam Chun-yin's letter ("Tycoon has got it wrong about country parks", October 2).
I agree with his argument that country parks should not be used to build housing and are enjoyed by many Hong Kong residents and visitors, from all walks of life.
What I don't agree with is his suggestion that we should use the Hong Kong Golf Club's Fanling courses to build more housing, simply because substantially fewer people use them, and [as other correspondents have argued] because the club is considered a facility reserved for "fat cats". There may be fewer golfers than hikers, but the courses are enjoyed by many golf enthusiasts in Hong Kong, both members and non-members.
They are not only some of the oldest courses in Asia but are a world-class sporting facility. The club has long hosted the annual Hong Kong Open golf championship, and puts the city on the golfing map.
The government should leave all leisure facilities alone and look for land elsewhere. As most of us know, although Hong Kong is often perceived as a "concrete jungle", about 70 per cent of the territory is rural. If anyone has been out to the New Territories, they would agree there is an abundance of potential land that could be used to build public housing. So why is our government struggling to search for more land?
I'm sure many people would concur when I say the small-house policy is long outdated and has got to go. The government should act in the best interests of society as a whole and not kowtow to a handful of selfish villagers.
Andrew Nunn, Tai Po
HK not ready for electric car revolution
I refer to the letter by Raymond Chan Kwun-hin ("More electric cars reduce emissions", September 26).
As a matter of fact, having more electric cars on our roads can not only reduce the greenhouse gases produced by using oil and coal, they are also more efficient than conventional models.
However, your correspondent has failed to recognise that there is a feasibility issue with regard to electric vehicles on the roads of Hong Kong.
I do not think that at present there are sufficient electric car charging stations in the city to meet the future demand of electric car users.
I know of only a few of these stations at locations in Hong Kong, such as Cyberport and Taikoo Shing.
Also, because of production costs, the purchase price of these vehicles is quite high and I do not think the models that are currently available would be suitable for Hong Kong's topography.
Lynn Cheng Yuk-lam, Tsing Yi
Let us pay to overcome waste crisis
The government has launched a public consultation period that will last four months on its proposals to charge users for waste disposal.
Hong Kong people generate large volumes of waste every day, and most of this municipal solid waste ends up in one of the city's three remaining operational landfills.
This is not a sustainable way to deal with the refuse since it is estimated that these three landfills could reach capacity by the end of the decade.
There is therefore an urgent need to reduce these high waste volumes. At the same time, we will have to extend our landfills as well as look into other methods of waste treatment.
While extending landfills may deal with the problem in the short term and building incinerators is another option, the long-term objective must be to raise citizens' level of awareness of the need for waste reduction.
Much as I don't want to pay to get rid of the rubbish I generate, I have to admit that it is the only way to get people to cut back on waste.
Two of the options put forward by the government are to impose a levy on a whole building or charge individuals. I support the latter proposal.
The number of people in each household varies, which means the amount of waste that different households generate will inevitably vary.
If a levy is imposed on an entire building, all households will pay the same amount, irrespective of the number of people living in each flat. This would be unfair to those people who do not produce as much waste as others; also, this may encourage some people to produce more waste.
If this happened, the aim of implementing the waste charge would not be achieved, as some people would still be generating a lot of refuse.
In tandem with the scheme, people must be encouraged to recycle. They will see the logic in doing this, eventually recognising that the more material they recycle the less they pay in waste disposal charges. In this way, useful material can be converted into something new.
A rubbish disposal charging system should be implemented as soon as possible.
Jinnie Lin Ching-yee, Tsing Yi
Trials exhibit small steps in right direction
A number of high-profile trials have been under the media spotlight on the mainland recently, including on the microblogging website Weibo.
They have included those of ex-Chongqing party boss Bo Xilai , businesswoman Ding Shumiao - accused of colluding with former railways chief Liu Zhijun - and former bank chief Gong Aiai , found guilty of forgery.
It might be thought that the frequency of the hearings indicates that the central government wants to improve the rule of law and is willing to change. Greater internet accessibility might suggest more transparency. However, it could also be argued that it is only a gesture on the part of Beijing to try to improve China's image. The trials might be seen as an effort by the government to alleviate the public's concerns.
Despite all the scepticism, I think there was greater transparency at these trials than we have seen in the past.
Jack Mak Sui-hin, Kwun Tong
Sophisticated Japan a great Games host
I refer to the letter by Christina Wong Yuen-yi ("Tokyo the wrong choice for Olympics", September 24).
I disagree with her view and I am glad that Tokyo has been awarded the 2020 summer Olympics.
After all the bad news about the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, the Japanese now have something to feel good about.
Also, Japan is an advanced, hi-tech society with a fascinating culture.
Cities like Tokyo are clean and the Japanese are very polite. Therefore, I think foreign visitors will enjoy going to the country for the Games.
Chau Tsz-wing, Kowloon City
Moonlight illuminates city of marvels
Sometimes it seems, and increasingly so recently, that Hong Kong is becoming unable to see the wood for the trees.
Amidst the unproductive wrangling and the resulting social/political impasses, do we risk overlooking the city's special - in some cases unique - characteristics?
With this in mind, I relate the following personal experience.
On the night of the moon (Mid-Autumn) festival I walked across Lamma Island, from Yung Shue Wan to Sok Kwu Wan.
I set off at about 10pm, along the path high above the coast; and returned two hours later, close to midnight.
The island's spine, a dark mass cutting across the moonlit sky, was wild, jagged and supremely beautiful.
Beyond it, across the East Lamma Channel's silky waters, the lights of southern Hong Kong Island gleamed beneath its soaring peaks - such a magical, brilliant scene.
On the way back, about midway between Yung Shue Wan and Sok Kwu Wan, and except for the moonlight in complete darkness, I saw a light approaching, soon revealed to be the glow from a mobile phone.
Between path-side boulders we passed in a moment: I heading home - she, a young woman, going unhurried over the coastal hills.
Where else in the world, in such rugged terrain, near a teeming city, would a woman have the confidence to walk alone across dark hillsides?
And in what other place might there be such dramatic wild landscapes so remarkably close to a major metropolis?
Edward Stokes, Lamma
Lawrence a fine fellow well remembered
Stephen Vines wrote a fine obituary of the selfless journalist Anthony Lawrence ("Legendary BBC journalist and community worker", September 26).
Lawrence was a wonderful person who spent his entire life serving the community (especially the poor) of Hong Kong without expecting anything.
He was an active BBC/RTHK radio journalist and also a kind of social worker. He continued to serve people here until the end.
He was awarded a Bronze Bauhinia Star in 2012 and OBE in 2013. He was very humble and renowned for his modesty and charm.
As Vines noted in his obituary, Lawrence said he could not see why he had got the latter honour in Britain's Honours List.
Even when he was moved to Singapore, his love for Hong Kong was undiminished.
He was regarded by those who worked with him as helpful and friendly and he will always be respected in this city and will be missed by Hong Kong people.
A. L. Nanik, Tsim Sha Tsui