Letters to the editor, January 27, 2016

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 January, 2016, 3:02pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 January, 2016, 3:02pm

Leung is right to focus on the economy

I refer to Nick Anderson’s letter, “Many issues await outside ‘belt and road’” (January 19). To a certain extent, I agree with Mr Anderson. The policy address made this month by our chief executive Leung Chun-ying no doubt had some empty pledges and wrong focuses. However, I do not agree that Mr Leung could gain support from fellow Hongkongers only after solving the problems Mr Anderson mentioned, such as recycling, the housing shortage and pollution.

The reason is, without a healthy economy, how can we solve these problems effectively?

China, as you know, just posted the lowest economic growth rate in a quarter of a century; its gross domestic product growth slowed to 6.9 per cent in 2015. As its economy slows down, it has introduced the “One Belt, One Road” economic initiative, which I believe will push the economy into a rally again.

The initiative demands cooperation between the difference provinces and regions in China, as well as with other developing Asian countries, such as India. Hong Kong has been involved in an intense competition with Shanghai and Shenzhen, as they are all major financial centres in China. If Hong Kong does not show prompt support for “One Belt, One Road”, our economy will likely continue to weaken. While I found Mr Leung’s “support” for the initiative, as demonstrated in his policy address, to be rather weak and irrelevant, at least he has shown concern.

No doubt problems like unaffordable housing, pollution and lack of recycling demand action from the government. However, if the Hong Kong economy keeps on deteriorating, only more headwinds will be created that will impede any government action taken to mitigate the above-mentioned problems.

It all comes down to a matter of priorities.

Eunice Lui Cheuk Yin, Kowloon City

Lost chances in policy address to fix problems

I was very disappointed with the chief executive’s policy address, particularly with the initiatives concerning housing and the education system.

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has pledged to produce 97,100 public housing units over the next five years, of which about 76,700 will be public rental housing. But with Leung completing his term in 2017, will this pledge be carried out by the next government? Moreover, the government will need to rezone land in some cases to build flats. This must involve negotiations with developers, which takes time. I am not sure the government can keep its word and produce the flats after five years.

As for education, while the government is continuing its effort to help schools build their Wi-fi infrastructure, and has announced plans to set up a Gifted Education Fund, it has refused to do anything to respond to parents’ concern about excessive drilling to prepare for the Territory-wide System Assessment test.

Leung has missed a golden opportunity to correct these long-standing issues.

Dicky Pun, Lam Tin

People must unite over loss of rights

This is a worrying time for Hong Kong. A Beijing official’s view that the chief executive has a constitutional status that transcends all three branches of government, the veto of the government’s political reform plan, and now the Lee Po incident have made Hongkongers feel more and more hopeless about their future. We feel we don’t have a hold on our lives.

We can’t sell the books we want to sell, we can’t choose the TV channels we want to watch, we can’t completely decide who our legislators are, and we can’t choose our own chief executive. Yet, still, many people choose to remain silent, and expect that democracy and improvements will come to us.

Do they really think that rights and freedom will come with no sacrifices? If the government wants to take back the rights that a Hongkonger deserves, we will have to take stronger and tougher measures to resist. Protests and hunger strikes aren’t enough; a ruthless dictator can only be beaten by a people’s determination and unity.

I suppose many know this, but few are willing to practise it. If Hongkongers don’t stand up and make a change even at such a critical moment, our remaining rights will be taken away soon.

Dora Chan Long Sin, Sha Tin

Taxpayers pay more for white elephants

I am profoundly irritated by the ice seekers who deliberately placed themselves in great danger (“Hong Kong frost chasers ridiculed: hospitalisations, arguments with police, 300 firemen and 8 helicopter flights to rescue them”, January 25).

Such is the shallowness of many people today, I suspect that for an overwhelming majority of the stricken, their aim was simply to pick up a few more “likes” on various social-media platforms.

With regards to the financial element involved in rescuing these people, however, I would like to place their actions in the context of the hugely expensive white elephants the government regularly backs.

I have no idea how much the underused cruise terminals, mainlander-focused amusement parks and bridges-to-nowhere cost, but it must be several orders of magnitude greater than that of Sunday’s great day of collective silliness. It is this that the Hong Kong taxpayers should be really griping about.

Jason Ali, Lantau

Why no double glazing for HK windows?

I would love to know why there is hardly any use of double glazing in Hong Kong. This will help keep flats cool in the summer by keeping the air conditioning in and humidity out, and warm in winter. Is it because property developers are too greedy?

Andrew Tjaardstra, Sai Ying Pun

Do more to thwart bomb hoaxes

I refer to your editorial, “Bomb hoaxes cannot be tolerated in Hong Kong” (January 19). I agree that we must stop what seems to be becoming a trend.

The authorities and schools should begin with ensuring the right values are instilled in students. Young people are curious and like to try anything, but many do not consider the consequences of their actions; they just think it is hilarious to play a prank. We must make sure students do not grow up to play such pranks.

The government should also increase the penalty for those perpetrating a hoax. For now, making a false bomb threat is punishable by a fine of HK$150,000 and five years’ jail. I think we should raise the fine and increase the jail time, say, to 10 years. This would make the pranksters think twice.

Lastly, law enforcement officers should also be more alert, and look out for suspicious people.

The more cautious society is, the harder it is for people to carry out a bomb hoax.

Bomb hoaxes disrupt normal life and undermine our alertness to real threats. So this trend must be stopped.

Melody Wong, Kowloon Tong