Letters to the Editor, July 20, 2016

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 July, 2016, 4:45pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 July, 2016, 4:45pm

Long delays for baggage must be dealt with

Before getting too involved in preparations for a third runway, perhaps the Hong Kong Airport Authority could devote some attention to solving a persistent problem at the current-sized facility: the agonisingly slow handling of ­baggage for arriving passengers.

British Airways flight 31 from Heathrow arrived at the gate on Sunday, July 17, around 2.15pm. My case arrived on the carousel at 3.33pm and was not the last from that flight to be delivered.

If this were an isolated occurrence, I could overlook it, but it happens almost every time I have to check in a bag.

This is a long-standing and common problem at the airport, as evidenced by accounts from friends and past letters to the editor on this topic, and it really is a disgrace that nothing has been done.

The baggage handling times compare very unfavourably not just with Heathrow, which is far busier, but even with airports in less prosperous Asian nations like Manila.

It’s quite pointless striving to create the best airport in the world (and Hong Kong airport is pretty good in most other ­respects) if arriving travellers face a needlessly long delay.

Simon Martin, Kennedy Town

Popular game has risky downside

Pokemon Go has gone viral ­globally in the short time since it was launched earlier this month.

The game allows players to capture, battle and train virtual creatures called Pokemon. It makes use of GPS and the ­camera function of smartphones.

The positive aspect of this game is that players have to go outside and walk, unlike most computer games where they stay in their chairs at home. That was why some medical professionals praised it, because the players get some exercise.

However, it does have a downside. Having a GPS facility, these Pokemon Go players are appearing in all sorts of places and they become so absorbed that they ignore what is happening around them and put themselves and others at risk.

Because they are so ­wrapped up in the game, some players have ended up in the middle of roads with busy traffic, on construction sites or on riverbanks. They create potential problems for themselves by being at these locations and some have been injured and in some cases ­attacked and robbed.

While it is an interesting game to play and gets people exercising and can even be educational as it teaches young people map-reading skills, users have to act responsibly.

When they are playing Pokemon they must be more aware of their surroundings. Safety should always be the priority.

Jacky Tsoi, Tseung Kwan O

Students can adopt a ‘work smart’ attitude

It is clear that students in Hong Kong are under a lot of pressure.

This is not only because of excessive amounts of homework, but also the overbearing attitude of some parents.

However, they are forced to accept this state of affairs if they want to get a place at university.

I think the best way for them to deal with the pressure is to “work smart”. By that I mean that they need to make efficient use of their time with a well-organised timetable. This will give them a clearer picture of what they have to do each day, leaving sufficient time for exercising and ensuring they get enough sleep.

This will make them more effective in their studies.

The studying environment is harsh in Hong Kong, so ­students must adopt this work-smart attitude and distribute their time wisely.

Alex Law, Tseung Kwan O

Have fairer election for chief executive

The government considers the Basic Law so important that all candidates in the Legco elections must pledge allegiance to it (“Changes to poll rules to ensure patriotism”, July 15).

So why doesn’t the administration itself adhere to our mini constitution?

Why doesn’t it insist that we have a “broadly representative nominating committee” (Article 45) for the forthcoming chief executive election?

Warren Russell, Tseung Kwan O

Unpleasant experience at US consulate

Recently I booked a short holiday for myself and my wife (who has Hong Kong citizenship) ­involving travel in the US and Canada.

Thinking that there would be no problem applying for a visa for her for such a short trip, I confidently booked our plane ­tickets to the US and for the ­ongoing connections.

Having waded through the very detailed and exhaustive questions on the US consular website, and succeeded finally in getting a visa interview appointment for my wife, I thought the matter would be very quickly settled.

We did note that the application form states “You may also provide any additional documentation you feel would support your case”, but as the form is so detailed and we had provided details of flights booked and our trip we hardly thought any extra documents would be needed.

The official involved ­however demanded evidence of, for example, working status and bank details from my wife, and as we had not supplied such evidence, our first application was refused. I promptly reapplied, paid the application fee of HK$1,280 again, booked a ­second appointment and duly collected all possible evidence that my wife would not abuse the provision of a US visa to ­disappear for the highly dubious merit of finding some illegal work in the country. This ­included a covering letter from myself, details of our daughter’s studies at school here, as well as all the work contracts, bank statements and plane tickets we thought might be relevant.

To my wife’s enormous shock the official peremptorily accused her of lying on her ­previous application form and interview, and when she could not remember some details of the trip I had booked, ­refused to even look at my letter to the ­consulate, let alone the other evidence.

The whole interview could hardly have lasted more than a minute.

I hope this letter will be a warning to those who intend to apply for a visa to be exceedingly well-prepared, not only with full documentation but also mentally forearmed for a most intimidating interview. It ­reminds me of interviews at Eastern European consulates back in the 1980s in iron curtain days.

Phil Smith, Sheung Shui

Problems will get worse without action

I refer to the letter by Kathy Ho (“We can all help to curb global warming”, July 9).

Global warming is not just a local problem affecting Hong Kong, but a global phenomenon. Human activities such as burning fossil fuels and clearing vegetation and forests have ­increased the emission of greenhouse gases significantly.

These greenhouse gases are making global warming worse. Over the past century, Hong Kong’s annual mean temperature rose by 1.5 ­degrees Celsius and the global average temperature has risen by 0.74 degrees as a ­result of ­global warming.

This is causing greater frequency and intensity of extreme weather conditions around the planet. Severe Typhoon ­Nepartak is an example of this.

Unless we all make efforts to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, we will not be able to ­address the problem of global warming.

Melody Ho, Tseung Kwan O