Letters to the editor, April 5, 2016

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 05 April, 2016, 4:28pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 05 April, 2016, 4:28pm

Grappa’s just another mall restaurant

In his letter “Swire should allow Grappa’s to stay open” (April 2), Mark Hill beseeches Swire to ­allow Grappa’s to remain in Pacific Place mall.

He compares the eatery to true Hong Kong landmarks such as the Noonday Gun, Peak Tram and the Hong Kong Club.

Such a comparison is foolhardy for the Noonday Gun dates back to 1860, its daily ­firing the result of a penalty ­imposed on Jardines by a senior British naval officer. The Peak Tram started operating in 1888 and was a remarkable piece of engineering that now carries more than four million people annually, or an average of over 11,000 every day. The Hong Kong Club was the first gentlemen’s club in Hong Kong and opened on May 26, 1846.

These are core parts of Hong Kong’s heritage that survive to this day and continue to be a part of the fabric of our society, they have seen war and bewildering changes and have each, in their own way, adapted to their ever changing surroundings. Grappa’s I am afraid does not meet the exalted status Mr Hill feels it deserves; a restaurant in a shopping mall, regardless of its longevity, must also adapt.

Swire offered Grappa’s an opportunity to evolve and ­continue but this was not ­accepted. Swire’s aim was to ­ensure Grappa’s remained, the decision to leave was made by El Grande Concepts.

Mark Peaker, The Peak

Responsible dog ownership is what matters

I refer to the letter by Nicholas Rogers (“Dogs have no place staying in apartments”, April 1).

Your correspondent is ­entitled to his opinions, and I am sure he will never adopt a dog.

He is not entitled to pass blanket judgment on behalf of everyone else, however.

His comments “allowing highly strung little dogs to stay in little apartments ... is madness”, and “barking incessantly, cooped up, driving neighbours mad” have nothing to do with having dogs. Those issues have everything to do with responsible (and irresponsible) dog ownership.

Those of us who have spent years and decades trying to ­improve animal welfare, encourage decent legislation to reduce the feral population, discourage breeding and advocate responsible adoption, feel very let down when readers like Mr Rogers, or dog-despising Post columnists like Michael ­Chugani, write dismissive pieces about the “stupidity of having dogs in Hong Kong”.

Dogs didn’t choose to be here. Thousands of abandoned and feral dogs are killed by the Hong Kong government and Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals each year ­because of human recklessness and negligence.

If Mr Rogers feels dogs have no place in apartments here, then he is advocating the death of almost every dog in Hong Kong.

Bernard Lo, Mid-Levels

Homework leads to many late nights

I refer to the report, “Hong Kong’s sleepless children will lack creativity, study warns” (April 4).

Children in this city are always busy. They have to do on average seven to eight pieces of homework every evening in addition to various extracurricular activities.

As you reported, only 34.8 per cent of children surveyed slept on average for six to seven hours a night during the school week.

That is simply not enough. A lack of sleep can have an adverse effect on them ­physically and mentally.

Teachers should restrict the amount of homework they give to students. With their present workload, including having to revise for tests and exams, they are often working until late at night.

Parents also must try not to overload their children’s spare time with too many extracurricular lessons. They often arrange too many of these activities, ­because they want their sons and daughters to have an edge in what is a very competitive ­society.

These children will not necessarily do better academically if they have to attend far too many extracurricular activities. Parents must recognise the need for their children to get enough sleep and see this as a priority.

It is vitally important that all children in Hong Kong get sufficient rest. It is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle.

Yeung Ka-yi, Tsuen Wan

Misuse of smartphones harms studies

Thanks to advances in technology you see a lot of students in Hong Kong with their own smartphones.

These devices can be very helpful with their studies as they can go to so many online sources to get information. But they must strike the right ­balance and not depend too much on online resources.

One problem is that there are so many apps on smartphones. It can sometimes be difficult to draw a line between academic and leisure use. If youngsters are too easily distracted by the entertainment offered on their smartphones, their academic performance could suffer.

Another downside to the growing popularity of smartphones is that it can affect relationships between people. Individuals have fewer face-to-face meetings, instead using social networking websites.

Parents should see the potential pitfalls and talk with their children about the need to use smartphones in a sensible way. They should agree on a set period when they can go online and not exceed that limit. ­Students should appreciate the importance of interacting with friends and family face to face, rather than online.

Anson Sin, Tseung Kwan O

Incinerator was not the right decision

I was disappointed when the government decided to go ahead with its proposal to build an incinerator in Hong Kong.

I have concerns about how it will affect the health of people living in the vicinity. Fears have been expressed about air pollution from emissions and threats to marine ecosystems.

The high cost of construction (HK$18.2 billion) is another reason why the project should have been scrapped. Also, operating costs will be high, as will the cost of maintenance and necessary repairs. It will be an ongoing financial liability for the government.

The government should have pursued other more viable options to take the pressure off our landfills.

Dicky Pun, Lam Tin

A great chance for young entrepreneurs

The government has started accepting applications for people who want to join the food truck pilot scheme.

This scheme could prove to be very popular with visitors, especially at well-known tourist spots. It will offer them and local citizens greater diversity of food and beverage choices. Also, it will ­offer entrepreneurs the opportunity to be creative, with the food they serve and the trucks that they use.

I hope young people with ideas for a start-up in the city will be encouraged to apply to join the scheme. If they can design the vehicle so that it stands out and if the quality of the food is good, then I am sure they can be successful. It would be great if the designs used promoted local culture.

The food truck pilot scheme can complement the existing food landscape in Hong Kong.

Jenny Kwok, Tseung Kwan O