Letters to the Editor, August 08, 2015

PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 August, 2015, 4:31pm
UPDATED : Friday, 07 August, 2015, 4:31pm

Submerged village focusof research

It is interesting and enlightening to learn that members of a Hakka clan are planning to recreate their Tai Uk Wai village, which was submerged in 1956 as a result of the construction of Tai Lam Chung Reservoir ("Bucking trend, indigenous village rises again", August 1).

The research team in the department of real estate and construction at the University of Hong Kong has studied Tai Tam Tuk, which was the first village submerged due to construction of Tai Tam Tuk Reservoir a little more than a century ago.

The village might have been established in the 18th century. Fifty people were counted in the 1841 census, and in 1911, there were 52 males and 24 females. Three-quarters of the residents had the surname Chung, and were originally from Mui Yuen of Ng Wah, Guangdong. There were also two Yau families (12 people) and two Chan brothers before the relocation took place.

It was reported that their resettlement had been in negotiations for a considerable time, but without success. Eventually 15 houses were re-established at a total cost of HK$5,834.84, and they apparently resettled in Chai Wan.

A photo survives (from Ko Tim-keung) showing the layout of the village houses, which substantially matches the description that James Hayes gave in The Hong Kong Region, 1850-1911.

Members of the research team conducted investigations underwater to confirm the existence of the village. Despite the turbidity and silt, photos taken show its remains underwater, such as two structures made of masonry - a retaining wall and a pier. Further investigation hopefully will be carried out in the near future.

The research team wishes to explore more about the village by talking with descendants from the Chung, Yau and Chan families.

Dr S. W. Poon, department of real estate and construction, University of Hong Kong

Extra classes work for some, not for others

I refer to the letter by Rosalind Chan ("Not all teens benefit from tutorial classes", August 4).

As a student who will sit for the public examination next year, I could not agree more with her.

I do not take any tutorial classes, but many of my friends and schoolmates do, especially for the four core subjects. Many of them do this to consolidate what they have learned in school, and to acquire exam skills, so that they can get better results.

However, it is one's diligence and eagerness to learn, in addition to a sound foundation of knowledge, that determine academic success.

Students who go to tutorial classes because they like the tutor or want to follow a trend are wasting their time and money.

I am not denying that these classes have benefits, but students need to determine what the most appropriate method is for them to strive for their own excellence.

Ben L. P. Tsang, Yuen Long

Israel sent experts to help quake victims

I read with interest Ephraim Aviram's letter ("Israeli teams help villagers hit by quake", July 27), detailing the psychological and social assistance offered to remote and poor villages in Nepal, which were hard hit by the earthquake in April.

This help came from some 20 organisations grouped under the Israel Trauma Coalition (ITC).

They provided the vital follow-up psychological assistance needed to help people cope with the major devastation unleashed by nature on this poor country.

After the quake struck Nepal, countries around the world mobilised to respond to the serious devastation it had caused.

Some sent skilled rescue teams, particularly to remote cut-off areas in this mountainous country, while others sent medical teams to help the injured victims.

Some countries were simply satisfied to make financial contributions. By the end of April, Nepal had received US$10 million from the US, US$6 million from Switzerland, US$5 million from Britain, US$4.1 million from Canada, US$3.9 million from Australia and Norway, US$3.25 million from the European Union and US$75,000 from Singapore.

Needless to say, the countries that had the greatest impact were those that sent rescue workers and field medical assistance.

Britain sent 68 rescue workers, followed by China (62), South Korea (40), Taiwan (20), Italy (15), France (11) and Switzerland (6).

While Israel does not feature in the league of big or rich nations, it can be proud of having sent more rescue and medical workers to Nepal than any other country, adding up to a 260-strong team.

They set up a complete field hospital, fully equipped with surgeons, medical doctors and nurses.

They were able to deal with any type of procedure needed to help the casualties.

All those nations that responded must be commended for their selfless dedication towards alleviating human suffering and offering vital help to a poor and ill-equipped nation.

It is reassuring to note that, while the world's attention was diverted from Nepal a few weeks after this tragic event to other regions that were plagued with wars and calamities, the ITC stayed on in the country. It continued with its teaching of around 115 Nepalese community leaders and professional teams.

The organisation did this, in particular, in remote and poor villages. It helped them learn how to cope in the aftermath of such a traumatic event and prepared them psychologically to rebuild their shattered economy.

Lowest bidder may use toxic materials

Shalom Levy, Tsim Sha Tsui Lowest bidder may use toxic materials

The contractors who installed the pipes at estates affected by the leaded-water scare must take responsibility for what has happened.

They should replace the pipes at these estates. They should also make a pledge that the new pipes will not contain any material, like lead, which could contaminate the water and pose a health risk to the residents.

The government must also learn from what has happened. When choosing a contractor for public housing developments, one should not always pick the lowest tender.

Low cost should not be the only factor and certainly should not be the determining one. Officials should also look closely at the materials that the companies bidding for the contract intend to use and rule out any that could be harmful.

Fion Cheung, Kowloon Tong

War against discrimination still not over

I was bemused by the Kenyan government's response to a speech by US President Barack Obama calling for the protection of basic rights in the country ("Obama sees peril, promise in Kenya", July 27).

He has previously criticised African countries for their attitude to gay rights. However, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said that "gay rights were unacceptable to Kenyans and therefore a 'non-issue'". The government's position is that there are barriers relating to culture and society when it comes to gay rights.

Discrimination of various kinds has been a problem throughout history; for example, gender and racial discrimination.

In some societies, girls cannot get an education, in schools or universities.

While such attitudes are no longer tolerated in most countries, there is still a lot of prejudice in some developing countries, with boys being seen as more important than girls.

And it is the same with gays and lesbians, who are treated differently. They cannot help their sexual preferences, which should be respected.

Yet in countries such as Kenya, the government will offer them no protection, often quite the opposite. As a consequence, discrimination against them actually gets worse.

In all countries, people should be working together to ensure that future generations grow up in a fairer, more tolerant society.

People make laws, and bad laws can be changed. Legislation is needed in nations such as Kenya to outlaw discrimination against gays and lesbians.

Chloe Chow, Tseung Kwan O

Transporting foreign food risks health

I am writing about the people who fell ill in Hong Kong after eating a popular brand of sandwiches which had been imported from Taiwan ("Sandwich ban after 29 people poisoned", August 4).

They purchased them from various sources, including a supermarket and online.

Obviously questions must be raised about how these sandwiches were stored.

Once they are put in a refrigerated cabinet in a store, they have a shelf life of about one day.

I think we also need to look at the environmental issue of food mileage.

It is not environmentally friendly to import sandwiches and bring them from Taiwan to Hong Kong.

You are also paying their transportation costs.

At home you can make your own sandwiches or go to a restaurant where they are made on site.

They will be fresher than imported sandwiches and therefore better for your health.

Felix Mak Hoi-kuoh, Kowloon Bay