Letters to the editor, February 21, 2016
Welcoming Yuen Long flats scheme
It was reported last month that the government plans to increase housing supply in Yuen Long with 85,000 more residents.
The idea is to attract more people from urban areas and I agree with the proposal.
Since areas such as Mong Kok and Sham Shui Po are densely populated, flat sizes are small and often living conditions are poor.
There are also pollution problems for those residential buildings located near factories.
The proposed development of Yuen Long is an example of better land use and planning. If more people can be attracted from the packed urban neighbourhoods, then they will become less densely populated and we will see a more even population distribution in Hong Kong.
If more public housing estates are constructed, then the long waiting lists for a unit will be cut.
This would be good news for those on the waiting list, espcially residents of subdivided apartments who want to enjoy a better living environment.
Also, more private flats can be constructed, giving young people a better chance to own a home.
The government should look into the feasibility of having more development schemes like the one in Yuen Long, rather than a lot of reclamation projects.
It is important to see further development of this part of the New Territories and it will provide more employment opportunities.
Fung Sze-man, Ngau Chi Wan
Revamp urban areas and save green-belt land
Discussions over how to tackle the problem of Hong Kong’s shortage of housing often prove to be controversial. Some people call for the use of greenbelt land, while others would prefer to see the redevelopment of the older urban areas in the city.
In order to achieve the goal of sustainable development, I support the latter option.
Revitalising old urban areas can provide more homes and improve the lives of all the people living there.
In the past when these areas were growing, there was little in the way of urban planning.
Conflicts arose over land use between, for example, factories and people in nearby apartment blocks.
Also, building regulations were lax and many older buildings have insufficient fire safety features, such as alarms and fire exits.
These problems adversely affected the lives of residents and can be alleviated with urban renewal projects.
In addition, more flats will be made available, increasing the city’s housing stock.
Developing on green belts is also a quality of life issue as people in built-up parts of the city will have fewer rural retreats where they can relax on their days off.
Critics say urban renewal projects push up prices in urban areas, but the government can impose a price ceiling on these properties.
Once you build on a greenbelt, it is gone for good.
The government needs to strike a balance between the needs of society and the environment.
Tong Tak-yu, Kowloon Tong
HSBC staying in London for simple reason
It is hard to believe that most people had expected HSBC to move its headquarters to Hong Kong (“HSBC HQ to remain in London”, February 16).
Different people have suggested different reasons for HSBC’s decision. Here, I venture to suggest the principal reason for the decision of HSBC.
A high level of proficiency in English is an essential prerequisite for being a competent banker.
Unfortunately, Hong Kong’s standard of English is very low.
As a result of its people’s complete lack of interest in developing language skills, most of them speak in broken English and Chinese and write in virtually illiterate English.
It is safe to conclude that the lack of locally educated qualified bankers with the necessary language skills is the principal reason for HSBC’s decision to bypass Hong Kong.
Alex Ng, Sham Shui Po
Offer subsidies to help provide more carers
I refer to the article by Mimi Zou and Jennifer Lee Shoy (“With a lack of carers in Hong Kong, who will look after us as we grow older?” February 16).
Most societies around the world, including Hong Kong, are facing the problem of an ageing population, with people living longer. And many governments also have to deal with a shortage of carers for elderly citizens.
The Hong Kong government needs to offer the right kind of incentives so that more youngsters make being a carer their choice of career.
Fees for some training courses for this and closely related fields, such as health care, can be expensive and may be too pricey for some youngsters. Therefore, the government has to offer subsidies so that young adults who have the motivation and the ability can get the necessary training.
Also, more places on courses, including those training medical staff, need to be increased.
However, it has to be emphasised that families are still chiefly responsible for looking after elderly relatives. They should not become too reliant on hospitals and care homes. It should be seen as a form of filial piety to look after your aged parents. This concept should be taught to students in schools so they recognise their responsibilities.
Kary Kan, Tsuen Wan
Teens can aim for better time management
Nowadays, teenagers are under a lot of pressure. It can be pressure from parents or from school where they are bombarded with too much homework.
Some parents will closely monitor the academic progress of their teenage sons and daughters.
If the pressure is too great, then these teens may dread going back home after the school day. This pressure damages family relationships.
With such a heavy workload, some youngsters may have trouble sleeping. They then go to school tired and have trouble concentrating. This can lead to them losing interest in their studies and becoming depressed. In extreme cases, they may take their own lives.
Teens must learn to help themselves and aim for better time management. It is also vital to do regular exercises.
Yoyo Sin Lok-yiu, Cheung Sha Wan
Why some students resort to plagiarism
I am writing about the problem of plagiarism, with students copying material from the internet when they do their homework.
I find the internet is helpful when I do my homework and it is not difficult to find answers to questions for an assignment.
However, some students use the net for plagiarism. It may be they have lost interest in their school work and the motivation to study.
This can sometimes be because they have been put under too much pressure, with excessive quantities of homework and many tests.
It is difficult for schools to cut the workload as it is so tough to get a place at a university.
However, schools have to get the message across to pupils that they face serious consequences if they are found guilty of plagiarism. Parents must reinforce this message and monitor their children’s homework.
Students should also be encouraged to start work on their assignments early so they do not have to rush things.
Chloe Hung Yee-ching, Lai Chi Kok
Saddened by end of special postage rate
There has been a lot of discussion lately about the importance of an open market in books.
I was disappointed to learn that Hongkong Post has quietly ended the special postage rate for printed papers.
For decades, this made it more cost-effective to share magazines and books with others elsewhere and its passing will be sorely missed.
Christopher Ruane, Sheung Wan