Letters to the Editor, September 18, 2015

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 17 September, 2015, 4:15pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 September, 2015, 4:15pm

Cooperation is key to easing congestion

Congestion affects the roads in Hong Kong most days of the year.

I believe it is getting worse because over the past few years, there has been a growth in the number of private cars in this city.

They are seen as symbol of wealth and social status, so you often have families owning two or even three cars.

The high density of road maintenance works is another contributing factor. I see so many roadworks, for example, in Tsuen Wan, Mong Kok and Central.

This reduces road capacity and disrupts schedules of public transport. It is one of the reasons congestion is so bad during the morning and evening rush hours.

Such phenomena are undeniably worth our attention, and a provident government ought to contend with the problem without further ado.

Some people have suggested following the example set by Singapore and introducing electronic road pricing. It has been very successful there.

There also has to be better planning of roadworks to reduce traffic disruption.

Also, a higher first registration tax might persuade some people not to buy that second car and use more public transport instead.

I realise that Hong Kong's serious traffic congestion problems cannot be successfully tackled overnight.

The government faces formidable obstacles, but they are not insurmountable.

If the administration and citizens can cooperate, I think we will eventually see radical improvements on our roads.

Chan Yik-tat, Tseung Kwan O 

How to make HK friendlier for pedestrians

I am glad the suggestion to get rid of the Central-Admiralty section of the tram has stirred so much interest.

It has certainly made for lively conversation during meal times lately. I would be interested in seeing the results of a survey in which the Hong Kong citizens were asked what their vision was for the future of the trams.

I think we should be much bolder and greener than we have been. Make the entire Sheung Wan-Causeway Bay section of the tram route for trams and pedestrians only between 8am and 8pm.

We don't have to do it every day, maybe just on weekends and public holidays. And there could also be a bicycle lane. The absence of cars, trucks and buses with belching exhaust fumes would encourage more walking.

Pedestrians would patronise local stores and family-owned restaurants in these areas. I know my family would spend more time window shopping. And tourists would find strolling around these areas and seeing old Hong Kong much more enjoyable.

The government could plant more trees in areas along the route and encourage more cafes and street entertainment similar to what you see in London and Paris.

Of course, businesses operating in the area would have to organise deliveries to the area early in the morning or late evening. The relevant department could issue permits to allow for that.

Some businesses might find it inconvenient, but this would be offset by the benefits to the community and other enterprises.

G. Li, The Peak

Griping about parallel traders solves nothing

There have been renewed protests in Sheung Shui by so-called localist groups outside shops this month.

They have complained that parallel goods traders and mainland tourists are ruining their neighbourhoods by buying up daily necessities and making public places dirty and crowded.

I believe these people are venting their anger and not doing anything constructive towards finding a practical solution to the problem. They are acting in an irresponsible manner.

Their actions also damage the retail sector in that area, which is facing a dramatic downturn in business. Because of these protests, fewer mainlanders are coming to Hong Kong, and this hurts these shopkeepers and puts people out of work.

The adverse impact, however, does not stop there. Very soon, other sectors, such as logistics, will be negatively affected.

I call on the government to take effective action in response to this kind of behaviour.

I urge all reasonably minded citizens to condemn these radical elements.

Jessica Chow, Quarry Bay

A question of priorities for the airport

Albert Cheng King-hon, in his article "Civil aviation chief should take off - now" (September 11), records the building of 1,200 square metres of office space of the Civil Aviation Department's headquarters at the airport without authorisation.

I recently asked a well connected person how it was possible to approve the third runway when the capacity of the present ones is limited not by ground space in Hong Kong but by air space over the mainland.

The reply put the blame on the director of civil aviation.

Surely the creation of 6.5 million square metres of ground space that cannot be used is more worthy of attention than 1,200 square metres of office space.

S.P. Li, Lantau

Tradition must change to help save lives

I refer to the report ("Liver patient finally receives transplant", September 10) regarding patient Stephen Lee.

A previous operation last month was halted at the last minute when surgeons were told the donor had kidney cancer, which posed a health risk to Mr Lee.

He received his liver from a patient who died at a hospital in Tai Po and her family agreed to the transplant.

What happened to Mr Lee has highlighted the issue of organ donations. Even though the donor and recipient did not even know each other, a life was saved.

There are not enough donors, because Chinese tradition decrees that the body in death must remain complete. With respect, I think it is time to end this tradition.

More Hong Kong people need to recognise that by registering as an organ donor, they give the chance of life to others.

More of us need to think about the importance of giving to society rather than taking from it.

Michelle Mai, Sau Mau Ping 

Universities are still much in need

There is no denying that what Alex Lo says about devalued degrees is correct ("Degree no longer worth what it once was", September 9).

Graduates now earn less than in previous generations. At the same time, the cost of living and property prices have soared to historic highs. A fresh graduate will struggle to pay for daily necessities.

Lo attributes this state of affairs to the rapid expansion of tertiary education since the 1990s.

The city's nine publicly funded tertiary institutions certainly do churn out a lot of graduates every year. It has been suggested that the number of undergraduate places be trimmed down. I think that, from time to time, tertiary education must be expanded. Hong Kong, as an international metropolis, needs skilled labourers to ensure that it remains competitive.

Lo said many undergraduates had poor language skills and some were encouraged by their studies to be activists, "advocating democracy and nativism". That is a sweeping statement. Many university students who join peaceful protests have a good command of Chinese and English.

I am also upset by the growing number of disorderly protests in the city. However, there is no direct relation between "depreciation" of university degrees and these radical protests. The widening wealth gap, bad pollution and other social issues are what people are angry about.

Secondary schools need to provide students with proper career planning advice so they can decide if going to university is right for them. And the government has to provide more subsidies for vocational training.

Charlotte Chan, Kowloon Bay

More care to improve telecast

I refer to the letter by Howard Cowley ("High price for third-rate Now TV package", September 5) regarding the telecast of the women's javelin final at the world athletics championships from Beijing.

Our partner Fox Sports was the broadcaster of the event.

It has told us that it did not show the end of the women's javelin final because of "a miscommunication with the event organiser". Fox Sports says it takes feedback seriously and will improve how it inserts commercial breaks in the future. It said: "We always strive to provide a quality TV viewing experience to our viewers."

Now TV would also like to thank Mr Cowley for his feedback. We aim to provide the best quality service to our customers and will work closely with all of our partners to minimise such occurrences in the future.

C. K. Chan, head of group communications, PCCW