Letters to the Editor, December 16, 2013

PUBLISHED : Monday, 16 December, 2013, 3:45am
UPDATED : Monday, 16 December, 2013, 3:45am

Reconciliation better than confrontation

Nelson Mandela represents a moment in history when changes were needed. 

More importantly, he helped us to  have a better understanding of the term "peace and reconciliation", thus offering hope for the future. He knew that only by South Africans working together could South Africa advance as a nation.

In Hong Kong, the debates on the constitutional reform are gathering pace.

There are different thoughts and ideas and this is to be expected.

Whatever will be the eventual outcome, we must not prematurely step too far beyond the line. We do not want a situation where, after the [political] dust has settled, peace and reconciliation are not possible.

Thus, abusive language and actions should not be considered the norm, as they can only destroy a future where we should be hoping to work together.

I like Sir David Akers-Jones' way of putting things that we walk a step at a time by "feeling the stones". With every step we adjust our course.

We might inadvertently step on something that unbalances us, but we know for sure that we are advancing.

This is important, as thoughts and ideas always need to be advanced in order to be sharpened. If we stand still, we can only repeat and ponder on what has been said many times before.

Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor faces tough times working with us to chart our future. I am sure she will face difficulties given that the outcome has yet to be defined.

I only hope that, as I said, when the dust finally settles, peace and reconciliation will prevail, and Hong Kong people can advance by working together. 

Edward Ng, Sha Tin


Basic Law is not a 'mini' constitution

In these tense times, as Hong Kong hurtles headlong into the buffers of ungovernability, I think it would do everyone good if we looked at the language we use and whether it isn't polarising us completely unnecessarily.

Firstly, the press seems fond of the term "pro-establishment", meaning, by logical inference, that everyone else is anti-establishment including, presumably, all pan-democrats.

The word "establishment" means the institutions, influential groups and customs that comprise our society; it does not mean Leung Chun-ying, nor even Beijing.

To be anti-establishment would mean you wanted to turn the whole of society upside down, which hardly anyone wants. The other favourite is "pro-Beijing". To be anti- or pro-Beijing is about as useful as being anti- or pro-broccoli or Tuesdays.

In the context of the debate over the need for the future chief executive to declare his or her love of China, the term "Beijing" unhelpfully puts the Chinese Communist Party, and China the country, into one homogenous lump, causing us to be pro- or anti- something when we clearly cannot be either.

Above all, can we please stop referring to the Basic Law as Hong Kong's "mini" constitution; it is a pathetic attempt to assuage the "Hong Kong is only an SAR not a country, so it can't have a real constitution" brigade.

Any kind of club, institution, or organisation can have a constitution - it doesn't need to be a country to have one.

The term deliberately belittles the only really important document in existence today that protects us from totalitarianism. Why do we deliberately denigrate it and antagonise everyone by relegating it to the status of "mini"?

Lee Faulkner, Kennedy Town


Science can advance with moon probe

There have been different opinions expressed about China's moon exploration programme.

Some have said China has expended too much in the way of resources on its space exploration programme for a developing nation. Others, looking at international relations, say it will damage the otherwise good relations between Beijing and Washington, because the US will perceive this programme as competition. But what is wrong with competition? 

I believe any nation, whether it is developing or developed, should have the opportunity to develop technologies using its own resources. Any advances in technology, such as the lunar probe, will, at the end of the day, bring benefits to people. 

Governments which invest in space exploration, can gather a lot of knowledge. This can have a knock-on effect by leading advances in different fields of science. When these programmes are carried out in a competitive environment, humans are pushed to strive harder and this is how major scientific advances are made possible. 

Anson Tam, Tsuen Wan


Lugard Road hotel could use rickshaws

From reading the different articles and letters on the planned hotel at 27 Lugard Road, it seems that the public opposition is mainly explained by increased traffic and the associated risk to pedestrians.

I would think guests checking into this boutique hotel won't be the usual business travellers who need quick access to business areas, but tourists who want to experience the heritage value of the place.

What about offering them the full package and use rickshaws for transportation?

All deliveries can be done by electric golf carts between 11pm and 5am.

Raphaël Blot, Sai Kung


Time to probe overspending authority

When the in-fighting over pet projects among board members of the Hong Kong Airport Authority has died down and a new  chairman has been found, I hope the relevant government officials will take a long hard look at how the authority is run.

I and other correspondents have called for action over gross overspending of taxpayers' money and bad management moves over the years.

The present squabble involves the building of a people mover stop at the mini golf course or another location.

However, no one has ever asked why a golf course was built there in the first place, and if it was ever open to anyone other than executives of the Airport Authority.

People are complaining about golf courses and private clubs in Hong Kong and yet no one has raised similar issues about this course constructed at the same time they built the white elephant that is called Terminal 2.

Even with its large workforce and with the help that it gets from agencies, the authority cannot put out its airport monthly fan letter on time - an e-publication called HKIA News boasting the achievements of the airport.

The November issue came out on December 6.

F. Wong, Mong Kok


Containers not used creatively in Hong Kong

Your editorial ("A novel solution to pricey offices", December 2) is correct that soaring property prices and lack of space are challenges for everyone in Hong Kong, and that the innovative use of cargo containers is a commendable idea.

However, I disagree with your statement that "few places can rival Hong Kong" in the imaginative use of these metal boxes.

We have a desperate housing crisis yet nowhere here has used the ample stock of containers now littering the New Territories to provide homes for our homeless and those poor people stranded in caged dwellings and coffin-size subdivisions.

London and Amsterdam are far in advance of us in transforming containers into self-contained studio flats, which feature bathrooms, and kitchens.

The stacked container homes have proved successful in Amsterdam as student accommodation.

It is noteworthy that some of these shipping container homes are fitted out in China before they are installed around Europe. Overseas, there are many examples of the use of containers in creating homes.

They span the full spectrum from single utilitarian units to multi-modular-designed luxury properties.

We have the shipping containers, and we have land in the New Territories, but we are missing a government initiative to think outside the box, or actually in this case inside the box.

I. M. Wright, Happy Valley


Adopt sensible ways to deal with stress

We all know that Hongkongers are stressed out because of their heavy workload, which is hardly surprising, given that the city is an international financial hub.

This appears to be getting worse. With downsizing in some firms, many people are agreeing to work even longer hours, because they are afraid of being fired. 

From an early age, you face keen competition, whether it is to do better than others in exams or excel in your job to get promotion. This may help with the economic development of Hong Kong, but there are adverse side-effects.

Chronic stress can damage people's mental and physical well-being. 

This can lead to low morale in the workforce and reduced productivity. 

We all need to strike a balance between work and rest. People need to set themselves sensible timetables. When they feel the pressure from, say, an important project at work, they must deal with the stress immediately. 

Talking with friends and exercising are good coping mechanisms. 

Chan Hei-ling, Ho Man Tin