Letters to the Editor, January 27, 2014
CY deserves praise for policy address
Protests in Hong Kong are becoming more frequent and sometimes turn violent. Officials attending public forums hope the protesters will stay away, but they keep turning up.
There has been a marked increase in these demonstrations since Leung Chun-ying became chief executive. The activists object not just to his policies but also to his personality.
It is clear a large section of society is still dissatisfied with him and would like to see him quit his job. Demonstrators hope their actions will make that happen.
Some people have urged them to be less radical, pointing out that the government wants to engage with the public through various channels, including forums, and that individuals and groups can also write to officials expressing their views. The activists would argue that that is futile, as they do not even know if officials read these letters.
This leaves citizens with the feeling that the government is largely ignoring them and they need to find a way to attract its attention. If protests cause chaos in society, the government will have to take notice and might make the necessary improvements.
I think the latest policy address has shown that C. Y. has listened to the public and is trying to make some changes.
This is the right attitude to take and I hope top officials follow his example. These officials should take note of a quote from the late Steve Jobs, "Stay hungry, stay foolish".
The policy address will have improved the government's public approval rating, but it must be aware of the areas where people feel it is still falling short.
Wayne Lam, Sha Tin
Doctors and their patients will benefit
The Lion Rock Institute would like to compliment the chief executive on two measures from his policy address. These are the removal of barriers for doctors trained overseas to practise in Hong Kong and the funding of Hong Kong students to study at institutions abroad.
Increased flexibility for internationally trained doctors so they can practise here will benefit these physicians and their patients.
The current requirements for doctors entering Hong Kong, who may be highly specialised and highly qualified, to work as junior doctors again for a year is highly detrimental. They are progressively being deskilled over this year and their expertise is not being utilised. A removal of this internship period or, at least, a reduction in its length, is necessary. This will allow doctors trained abroad not to be stuck abroad.
The funding of Hongkongers to study at institutions abroad will give them a priceless opportunity which they otherwise may not be able to afford.
This also liberates students, as they can study courses which are not available in Hong Kong. It also subjects local universities to competitive pressures, because they will have to improve or perish.
The Lion Rock Institute supports these policies and is ready to defend the government on the implementation of these initiatives.
Samantha Denford, research assistant, Lion Rock Institute
30-storeys proposal is just not feasible
I refer to the report ("Law won't stop small houses getting bigger", January 16).
Surely Lau Wong-fat, chairman of the Heung Yee Kuk, was joking when he suggested the government study the case of Shenzhen, where some villagers can build homes up to 30 storeys, in order to meet the apparent demand by indigenous villagers to build small houses.
I would like to know how it could happen in villages like Ho Chung in Sai Kung district or Kat Hing Wai in Yuen Long, where there is chaotic planning when it comes to the layout of houses.
If houses could be built up to 30 storeys high, these villages would end up looking like the old Kowloon Walled City. The ground floor of buildings would hardly see the light of day.
Did Lau forget that such a building would require piled foundations just to support the structure?
With villages such as Kat Hing Wai, moving a piling rig with all the associated equipment into position to install the piles would be a difficult, if not impossible, exercise.
But for the likes of Lau and the Heung Yee Kuk, it doesn't matter.
They won't care if the villages end up looking like the Walled City. All they ever care about is their land and how that forms the basis of their wealth and apparent power.
The sooner the small-house policy is consigned to the dustbin of history, the better.
Danny Chung, Tai Po
Dozing in car on double yellow lines
On a beautiful afternoon you can see sunlight reflected off the half dozen or so people carriers nestling peacefully on the double yellow lines of Ice House Street in Central.
The drivers are relaxed, reading, eating or sleeping. A couple of these monsters have no driver in situ so I guess they are technically parked.
You hear the sound of honking vehicles echoing off the walls as vehicles try to make their way down from Glenealy.
A similar scene no doubt is repeated in other parts of Central. The car is definitely king of this town.
Norman de Brackinghe, Pok Fu Lam
Orwellian practice must end in HK
I would like to know why Hong Kong still adds fluoride to its public water supply.
Perhaps by raising the matter through these columns I will be able to get some answers.
Surely the weight of up-to-date research is increasingly against doing this.
Furthermore, adding anything to the entire population's water removes any choice and does not account for those whose bodily systems can't handle it.
It seems to me like madness.
The mainland authorities do not fluoridate their public water supply and neither do most countries in Europe. Why does the Hong Kong government support this outdated, Orwellian practice?
Surely, if there is any doubt at all about the safety and efficacy of fluoridation then it should be discontinued, especially when it comes to adding literally poisonous waste to a population's water.
Is there no movement to stop this, or has the population become so used to it that people do not even think about it any more?
G. Holloway, Lantau
Focus on waste reduction and recycling
I refer to the editorial, "The way ahead on tackling waste" (January 20).
You say that Hong Kong will need incineration and the expansion of landfills and that it is not enough to ensure that people become less wasteful and embrace recycling.
However, I am not so sure about this argument.
If we expand existing landfills and construct an incinerator, we seem to be accepting that substantial volumes of waste will continue to be generated.
When looking at ways to reduce that volume significantly, we have to go to the source of the rubbish.
Basically, if a lot less waste is generated in Hong Kong, then we will not need such extensive disposal facilities as have been anticipated by the government. In this case there would be no need to expand landfills.
This would be possible if the waste charging scheme for households proved to be effective.
Besides, any expansion of our landfills is just a short-term policy. The day will come, even if they are enlarged soon, when they reach capacity. As to incinerators, many people have concerns about possible air pollution, given some of the waste that will be burned in the plant.
It comes down to the city producing less refuse, and I think this can best be achieved through people learning to be less wasteful and recycling. The levy will help to achieve the former objective, because residents will not want to pay charges. The two policies would go hand in hand.
Provided they are successfully implemented, then that should enable Hong Kong to deal with its waste problem.
Dorothy Chan, Tseung Kwan O
Paying lip service to involving staff
I thank Dr Alexander Chiu, of the Hospital Authority, for his reply ("Authority does care about consultation", January 20) to my letter ("Hospital staff left out of discussion", January 15) but he has misunderstood the point I was making.
The fact that the media was briefed before clinical staff is merely insulting; it does not directly impair patient safety. What is much more important was the plan to release the report on the same day as the forum, and thus preclude clinicians from a meaningful discussion of the results.
This indicates the authority continues to pay lip service to involving all staff in patient safety, despite nominally acknowledging its importance.
Over five years ago, I wrote to this newspaper making the same point, so, while it is encouraging to receive Dr Chiu's assurance that the authority is moving in this direction, it would be more reassuring to see evidence of progress.
Charles Gomersall, Sai Kung