Letters to the Editor, April 20, 2016
Replacement airport worth considering
I refer to the proposal of legislative councillor Frankie Yick Chi-ming for the expansion of Hong Kong International Airport (“HK should be planning for a fourth runway”, April 15).
If there is no room for a fourth runway at the airport, we either decide now to stop airport development at three runways or plan for a replacement (not second) airport elsewhere in the SAR where there is room for four runways and more.
Most importantly, it would have to be where our air traffic would not need to get entangled with Macau’s and Shenzhen’s air and sea traffic.
Unlike perhaps what Raymond Li thinks in the article (“Three’s allowed”, April 11), London Heathrow prefers to use the segregated independent mode (SIM) to achieve over 80 movements an hour, where one runway is dedicated to arrivals only and the other dedicated to departures only, unless there is a surfeit of arrivals or departures, in which case the independent mixed mode is used.
To that extent, through a process of experimentation in good weather conducted over the past five years, Hong Kong has evolved the use of the SIM for its two runways, north runway for arrival only, capable of twice as many movements an hour as a single runway which, in the difficult environment of Kai Tak, was 33.
There is thus no need to acquire additional airspace from the mainland for the two runways for independent operations. But, for the third runway, used for arrivals only, additional airspace has to be acquired from the mainland, necessitating the convoluted arrangement.
Peter Lok, Chai Wan
It is possible to cut congestion in Sai Kung
Other towns in the New Territtories should be allowed to copy the format which has been so successful in Tai Po, and introduce more pedestrianised areas. Also bicycles should be allowed into these towns, while simultaneously removing offending cars from areas where they contribute nothing but a noise nuisance, air pollution and traffic congestion.
Unlike Tai Po, Sai Kung has no rail access with which to get in and out of town. On weekends entering and leaving Sai Kung is made almost impossible at times due to the high volume of visitor traffic.
I am sure that if some areas were pedestrianised private vehicle drivers would realise that they would either have to park out of Sai Kung town centre or find another way to get there. This would make it easier for residents to get out.
For some inexplicable reason Sai Kung still doesn’t have an MTR line and there’s only one road in and out. This makes the congestion in Sai Kung much worse than Tai Po, for example.
Stanley used to have massive vehicular traffic problems.
These (mostly weekend traffic) problems were overcome by the authorities building a large car park, five minutes’ walk away from the tourist areas, and forcing cars out of town. Stanley is now virtually free of vehicular congestion, and there are many pedestrianised areas there now, bringing harmony for visitors and residents alike.
Andrew Maxwell, Sai Kung
More English lessons for tourist sector
I totally agree with the letter by Jackson Lau (“Important to improve English”, April 12).
Given that Hong Kong is an international city there should be a stronger focus on English.
Throughout the world, native speakers of different languages when they meet will generally communicate in English. Therefore it is important to improve the standard of English here.
For youngsters studying science it is important as it is the language of science. If this is the area they want to specialise in and follow it as a career they will need to have a good grasp of English.
China is making a lot of progress, but English-speaking nations like the US still lead the way in technical innovation and economic development.
Also, having more well-trained employees with a good command of English will be essential if there is to be further development of the tourism sector.
So many visitors come to Hong Kong every year and they often have to deal with written material that has been mistranslated. For example, a restaurant menu that has been translated into English and is full of mistakes, leaves a bad impression with visitors and it can tarnish the city’s reputation.
The government should be trying to tackle this problem as soon as possible. It should be offering additional free English lessons for people who work in the service sector.
Maggie Chan Hiu-suet, Cheung Sha Wan
Students are reluctant to speak language
I refer to the letter by Jackson Lau (“Important to improve English”, April 12).
Hong Kong’s reputation as one of Asia’s financial centres has raised its profile above other cities in China.
The emphasis is on developing the financial and service sectors and so the city needs people in the workforce who can communicate easily in English with foreign visitors. Many students in local schools have a poor command of English and are reluctant to talk to visitors, because they struggle with vocabulary and pronunciation.
Schools need to do more to raise students’ standards of English with more exercises in spoken English. Students should be encouraged to have group discussions in English so they become more confident using the language.
Joey Fung, Yau Yat Chuen
Get tourists interested in local cuisine
There has been a sharp drop in the number of tourists coming to Hong Kong this year and this is alarming.
There are not enough tourist attractions in the city. The new Disneyland in Shanghai will have more to offer than our Disneyland. If, for example, I go on holiday to Japan, prices in shops are cheaper than they are here. And Singapore keeps developing new tourist spots. One outstanding example is Gardens by the Bay.
Luxury brand shops in Hong Kong are all similar. The government needs to promote those shops and restaurants that reflect the unique local character of the city. Taiwan’s night markets are very popular, because local dishes are served and tourists like to try them.
Hong Kong needs to develop its street food culture.
Taffy Wong, Lam Tin
Beijing worried by political chaos in city
There was a low turnout at the New Territories East by-election in February.
This would indicate that there are still many Hongkongers who do not care much about political issues.
I can understand that this might be partly because Hong Kong still does not have universal suffrage. We now seem to be in a chaotic situation politically, with a lot of citizens expressing discontent with the government.
We see frequent protests and the government should be responding to this high level of dissatisfaction rather than turning a deaf ear to it. But when we witness so many demonstrations it is not difficult to see why the central government is reluctant to let Hong Kong citizens make important decisions about the city and its future.
We must ensure that we keep working to develop the SAR’s economy. This can prove to Beijing that we are capable of taking care of ourselves and hopefully it will stop intervening.
We deserve genuine democracy. However, we need to ensure we have a stable society for that to happen, one where we all make the effort to cooperate and work with each other to achieve our objectives.
Natalie Chiu, Lai Chi Kok