Letters to the Editor, December 19, 2013
Officials must scale down columbarium
As a resident of Pok Fu Lam, I have been following the developments around the construction of the columbarium by the Hong Kong Chinese Christian Churches Union on Victoria Road with mounting frustration.
The Town Planning Board has just rejected the application for a 21-storey columbarium in Kwai Chung ("High-rise columbarium plan must be scaled down", December 14).
This was because of concerns over crowd management and traffic, particularly during the Ching Ming and Chung Yeung festivals. I am glad sanity prevailed.
Meanwhile, the Christian Churches Union continues with the construction of a columbarium in Pok Fu Lam, despite similar and significant safety concerns.
In Kwai Chung, the developer proposed to build a 21-storey building, of which 12 floors would be dedicated to house 50,000 niches, or about 4,000 per floor. This would pose a risk, which is why the board called for it to be scaled down.
In Pok Fu Lam, however, the Christian Churches Union was given approval by the Buildings and Transport departments to construct a giant 10-storey building, where eight or nine floors will house almost 40,000 niches.
This is more per floor than was proposed for the Kwai Chung building. And this in a building with a smaller footprint and less internal space to accommodate the visiting crowds than the design just rejected for Kwai Chung.
Logic suggests that with even more niches per floor, in a smaller building and a hopelessly inadequate infrastructure to support thousands of visitors, the Christian Churches Union building poses a greater risk than the building proposed in Kwai Chung.
It is high time that the relevant government department issued instructions as soon as possible for this monster project in Pok Fu Lam to be scaled down.
This must be done to avoid the chaos that will ensue and associated risk posed to the visiting public and local residents.
Horace Wong, Pok Fu Lam
Confrontation is not good for our society
Earlier this month Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah had an egg thrown at him by a protester attending a government forum.
Attacks like this at officials can influence teenagers' behaviour and moral judgment. They are at an impressionable age. If they see an adult acting in this way they may think it is acceptable for them to behave in an anti-social manner.
Incidents like this can adversely affect their moral development and they may misbehave at school.
Protesters who do things like throw eggs are undermining social harmony. This is not the way to resolve the problems that we face.
They are not expressing their ideas in a constructive manner, but just venting their anger.
There is no dialogue in such a situation, no communication between the different parties.
Individuals who behave in this manner and in more extreme, violent ways, may find they lose public support as a consequence of their actions.
Many people will say that such antagonistic behaviour is unacceptable.
I would rather see non-violent resistance being promoted in Hong Kong.
It has been employed successfully in the past by such people as Mahatma Gandhi and Aung San Suu Kyi. They fought for liberty and equality in their countries in a non-violent way.
I would prefer to see Hongkongers express their political views in a moderate and rational way.
Although we have freedom of speech in Hong Kong, that is no excuse to resort to offensive or violent actions.
Joyce Chung Nga-lok, Yau Yat Chuen
Lufsig a sign of people's frustration
The Lufsig toy has become the talk of the town, with everyone joking about it given that Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has been nicknamed the "wolf" by some, because of his alleged cunning.
It has now sold out at Ikea's branches in Hong Kong.
I think most Hong Kong citizens understand this craze for the soft toy.
They are unhappy that universal suffrage, the free-to-air licence saga and lack of kindergarten places are all issues that the government has failed to tackle. Under such circumstances how can people be expected to stay calm?
Sheri Ong, Sai Kung
CY should not be surprised by protests
Lufsig became famous in Hong Kong after one of the stuffed wolf toys was thrown at Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying.
The toy is popular because people are dissatisfied with the government. Also, there is the association with C. Y., because he is seen as being as cunning as a wolf.
I do not approve of the action of throwing the toy at C. Y., but I think he should face up to the fact that there is growing discontent with his administration. He was chosen by a narrow voter base and therefore does not enjoy the support of most Hong Kong citizens.
However, people who oppose him should express themselves in peaceful ways.
Rowina Lo Wing-nga, Yau Yat Chuen
Put an end to live poultry sales in HK
I cannot understand a mindset that seemingly places the value of having fresh, live poultry for sale over people's lives.
Despite the outbreak of the H7N9 bird flu strain claiming lives on the mainland and now spreading to Hong Kong, live poultry vendors are still allowed to carry on their business.
Why is this allowed simply so that people can continue to have something which is seen as part of "their culture".
An official in Guangdong was reported as saying that Chinese people love fresh chicken so they would not shut down live poultry sales unless a more serious outbreak occurred. How is this a wise response from a government?
How many people have to die before the vendors are shut down?
Live poultry imports from the mainland should be halted at this time and sales halted permanently in Hong Kong. Also we need to set up a central slaughtering house in the city.
It has been talked about for years, but as so often happens in Hong Kong, it is a case of too much talk and very little action.
Terry Scott, Sha Tin
Monetary Authority has gone too far
I refer to the letter by William H. Strong, of the Financial Services Development Council ("HK market must match global rivals", December 7).
First I do not agree that it is an advantage not to know Hong Kong's history and I would not be proud of this fact, especially working for a development council.
Also the statement, "I am looking only forward" looks shallow when considering the latest developments in Hong Kong's financial industry.
I own a small start-up fund management company and I have experienced over the last 12 months how the business environment in the financial industry has been unnecessarily tightened here.
One year ago it was straightforward to open a bank account with a bank in Hong Kong for a Cayman Islands-based investment fund.
Today it is nearly impossible for a small fund management company to do the same due to regulatory tightening by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority.
The result is that more of my service providers are now based outside Hong Kong, for example in Singapore.
Is Mr Strong really sure Hong Kong citizens will reap the benefits of over-regulation and tightening?
Thomas Hugger, CEO, Asia Frontier Capital Ltd
Boutique hotel rooms will be very small
The idea of having a boutique hotel on a heritage trail is ludicrous.
27 Lugard Road is a five-bedroom house. Converting this into a 17-bedroom hotel brings all kinds of problems.
Sewage and water issues pose a serious concern to the surrounding beautiful country park. Plus you will have to create 17 micro rooms, hardly a boutique hotel.
Raphael Blott suggested the hotel could use rickshaws and electric golf carts ("Lugard Road hotel could use rickshaws", December 16). Peak Road is not zoned for such and really how will they be able to get up the hill?
The site at 27 Lugard Road is one of the narrowest points on the Hong Kong Trail. On any given Sunday it is packed with people, strollers, bikes, scooters and dogs - how can we add vehicles to this mix?
More than 50,000 signatures have so far been collected of people who are adamantly opposed to this hotel project.
We already have a McDonald's, 7-Eleven and a handful of tourist-oriented shops on The Peak. Can't we try to preserve what remains to maintain a spot of peace and tranquillity there?
Hong Kong has lost so much history. The Peak must be saved.
Tasha Lalvani, member, Alliance for a Beautiful Hong Kong