Letters to the Editor, January 19, 2014
Cut kitchen waste to ease landfill burden
Many tonnes of food waste are produced and being sent to Hong Kong's landfills every day. This imposes a heavy burden on these sites.
To cope with this, some schools in have introduced facilities to handle the waste and use it to feed plants after it is processed. Another way in which schools can deal with this problem of waste, is not give all primary school students standard portions, because they have varying appetites and some will leave food.
We could learn from schools in Japan. Students there are responsible for allocating different portions to their classmates. This reduces waste volumes and strengthens students' sense of responsibility by having authority delegated to them.
Some people are now recycling food voluntarily. They collect it from restaurants and distribute it to the poor.
The government should push the message of reducing food waste through TV, radio and other forms of advertising. People may not intend to waste food yet they do not know how to dispose of the waste.
The administration should also subsidise organisations (to cover administrative and transport costs) to improve the efficiency of distributing unwanted food to the poor.
Restaurants should be encouraged to recycle kitchen waste as some of them are clearly reluctant to do so.
I believe the measures I have suggested could cut kitchen waste and ease the burden on our landfills.
Christina Leung Ka-yu, Kwai Chung
Germany, not Japan, is now a 'normal nation'
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his followers at home and sympathisers abroad have been talking about restoring the country to the status of a "normal nation", with a view to becoming a permanent member of the UN Security Council.
I hope it is not lost on them that it has been consistently the five permanent members of the UN Security Council "plus Germany" but not "plus Japan" that have been conducting the negotiations with Iran on its nuclear programme.
So, if there is going to be a sixth permanent member of the UN Security Council, it is more likely Germany. Its sincere atonement over second world war atrocities and low-key payment of compensation to victim nations have made it a truly normal nation.
It is uncompromised by retrospective words and deeds of denial and duplicity, such as Japan's doctoring of its history books.
It redefined the meaning of "aggression", its officials have paid respect to war criminals, and it has ignored the undertaking given in the 1945 instrument of surrender to give up sovereignty on all territories previously seized in wars with China and Russia.
The above is not said without appreciation of Japan's feelings being strangled by the Western colonial powers from about 1850 to 1910.
Two wrongs don't make one right.
Peter Lok, Chai Wan
Keep harbour site for public, not the PLA
Society for Protection of the Harbour refers to the article by Bernard Chan ("PLA barracks protest won't further quest for democracy", January 10) and our letter ("Protests against rezoning waterfront must always be lawful", January 1) in which we both strongly discouraged the recent radical action by protesters.
However, members of the Executive Council like him and members of the Legislative Council who support the government should take the time and care to understand the frustrations of the 19,000 objectors.
They feel betrayed by the government's deliberate misinterpretation of facts and documents in order to justify giving a vital site on the Central harbourfront to the People's Liberation Army.
Over the past 12 years, this site has always been zoned "public open space" in seven outline zoning plans which also allow this site to be used for berthing PLA vessels whenever required.
The present objection is to the government breaking its solemn promise to the public and suddenly rezoning this vital harbourfront public promenade for exclusive military use and giving the site to the PLA.
In consequence, under the Garrison Law and the Town Planning Ordinance, any other use including use by the public would be unlawful and anyone found inside the site can, just as the protesters, be arrested.
Furthermore, once the site is handed over, the site will be beyond the control of Hong Kong laws and the PLA will have the legal right to construct a building on this sensitive harbourfront location.
The Defence Land Agreement signed between China and Britain only gave 14 sites to the PLA (but not including this site) and the right to the PLA to berth its vessels on the Central harbourfront whenever needed, for example, for ceremonial or social visits.
Our society had cautioned the government against making this completely unnecessary change which can only create antagonism between the PLA and Hong Kong people.
We hope that executive councillors like Mr Chan would study the matter and give wise advice to the government so as not to stir up ill-feeling and discord within our community needlessly.
Hardy K. C. Lok, chairman, Society for Protection of the Harbour
HKTV rivals must focus on quality content
After Hong Kong Television Network announced it will launch television services through the internet from July, TVB also introduced a pay-to-watch internet service, GOTV.
Although paying for GOTV is fair, is it really worth it? People stood up to the government not only because of the unfair standard for issuing the licence, but also in pursuit of a better television company. If they do not particularly like the programmes, there is no point in paying for services that they are not interested in.
Due to the unreliable network, audiences need to be more patient to watch HKTV's programmes. However, its service is almost free so it is acceptable.
Moreover, HKTV has released an episode of a new drama on YouTube for free. Most of the comments were positive.
The only method for the other television companies to hit back at HKTV is to enhance the quality of their programmes. It is meaningless for them to launch more services for the public.
Tsoi Yuk-yan, Kwai Chung
Success starts with hard work at school
Many people have complained that too much pressure is placed on students in the Hong Kong education system.
As a Secondary Four student, I do agree that we face a heavy workload. However, I just have to accept that this is how it is and get on with it.
It is just like in the workplace where you have duties you may not always look forward to.
It is really about no pain, no gain. And while many students may have objections over the Diploma of Secondary Education, we need to do our best in the exam.
Even if we don't like aspects of it, we have to accept that how we perform may determine how we will do in our working lives.
Phoebe Lo, Yau Yat Chuen