Letters to the Editor, September 29, 2016

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 29 September, 2016, 4:31pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 September, 2016, 4:31pm

Stiffer fines will put brakes on illegal parking

I refer to the report “Traffic watchdog calls for higher ­parking fines in Hong Kong as complaints jump 30 per cent”, (September 27).

I agree that the penalties ­imposed for illegal parking should be increased next year. It is important that the government takes action before it is too late to stop the problem.

It cannot be denied that it is getting more serious, which is why complaints have risen by 30 per cent over the past six months. This is an important issue, because when illegally parked vehicles block lanes on main roads, it can adversely ­affect the city’s entire road transportation system.

Hong Kong is a prosperous city and as citizens become ­better off, more of them want to own a car and so this exacerbates congestion and the problem of illegal parking.

As your report points out, Sai Kung, Eastern District and Kwun Tong are the “top three trouble spots”. The government should try and find out why this is the case. Is it possible that there are not enough parking spaces in these areas?

I think having stiffer fines is the best way to deal with this problem and can reduce the number of vehicles parking ­illegally on our roads.

Wong Kwan-yu, Tsuen Wan

Camera tickets good way to deter offenders

The release of the Transport Complaints Unit quarterly report and its revelation that ­illegal parking is a problem in Hong Kong is welcome.

Illegal parking is rampant and thus far the relevant authorities have shown a grossly inadequate response to enforcing existing laws, thus creating a ­culture of arrogance among drivers and self-righteous ­belief that they can park anywhere.

Police bear a large amount of the blame for the abuse of the law, either ignoring illegally parked cars or simply ushering them away to allow them to drive around the block and park back in the same spot.

Traffic wardens are a rarer breed than most endangered species and are seldom to be seen, let alone actually writing a ticket.

Given the ineffectual capabilities of our uniformed law ­enforcers, it is time for camera enforcement that automatically tickets offending vehicles. This system has seen a dramatic ­improvement in efforts to curb illegal parking in European cities. Asia’s world city deserves more than the car park the government’s ridiculous selective traffic enforcement programme has allowed it to become.

Mark Peaker, The Peak

East Lantau transport links open to studies

I refer to the letter from Ronald Taylor (“Sceptical about East Lantau Metropolis”, September 9).

Mr Taylor mentioned that a cross-harbour railway connection between Kennedy Town and east Lantau was concluded as not feasible by a government study conducted about 25 years ago.

In the 1990s, the government conducted studies on the potential development of the Lantau port at the eastern waters off Lantau, which involved reclamation at Kau Yi Chau, and a railway development strategy (issued in 1994 and 2000). The alignment of a railway line connecting west Hong Kong Island, Lantau and northwest New ­Territories was considered to be among the long-term options.

While this railway scheme was not taken forward like the other projects such as the West Rail Line, Tseung Kwan O Extension, Ma On Shan Line and West Island Line, that were more near-term and have since been completed, there was no conclusion at all that this railway alignment was not feasible.

Suffice it to say, the overall proposed transportation network, including a railway system supporting the East ­Lantau ­Metropolis, if taken ­forward, will be subject to ­studies and they may not necessarily follow the ­proposals previously investigated.

Chan Chi-ming, deputy secretary for development (works)

Reading grants essential for true learning

I agree with what Alex Lo says in his column (“Our children need to read more books, not fewer”, September 22).

Like Lo, I think children in Hong Kong should be encouraged to read more rather than “spend hours staring at an electronic screen”.

In the past, the Education Bureau has emphasised the ­importance of children learning from reading to widen their ­horizons and enhance their comprehension skills. But now it is axing reading grants to ­primary and secondary schools in order to ­reduce government expenditure. This contradicts its policy of encouraging children and teens to read more.

These schools will lose funds which were earmarked to buy new books.

Having access to a wide ­variety of reading material benefits youngsters. It helps them to establish a good reading habit, as they will be encouraged to go regularly to the school library and get books to read. This proves that these subsidies are vital to them.

Of course, nowadays, teenagers are exposed to different types of information via the mass media, for example, the internet, TV and radio, but the importance of reading books cannot be underestimated.

It also helps them improve their attention spans.

As a Hong Kong student, I believe that our teenagers need to be encouraged to read more. Schools should not just be focusing on rote learning.

I hope the bureau will recognise this and reconsider its decision. These youngsters are future pillars of society.

Helping with their development should be seen as more important than making some savings on a budget.

Kwok Ching-yi, Kwai Chung

Think beyond rankings on school choice

Every school year, local parents are seen vying to get their children into a good primary school.

On Monday, they went to top government and aided schools on the first day for application for discretionary Primary One places, and the process has been compared to a lottery.

I can understand their motivation for doing this. They want a school with a solid academic programme for their children.

However, I think this can lead to them having high expectations of a school and of their children’s abilities. This puts so much pressure on the students and may actually cause them to fail in exams. This can have a negative impact on their self-esteem.

Rather than just aiming for top-performing schools, parents should consider what would be best for their children and ask them what they want.

What matters is to find a learning environment where the child will feel comfortable, rather than blindly forcing them into a school where the onus is on being a high achiever.

Maggie Chan Hiu-suet, Yau Yat Chuen

Transgender citizens face mindset hurdle

I refer to the article by Alfred Chan Cheung-ming, chairperson of the Equal Opportunities Commission (“Using a public toilet should not be a trial”, September 6). There should be more unisex toilets and we need effective sex discrimination laws.

Some transgender people can be made to feel uncomfortable when using public toilets, such as the transgender woman who was advised to have the “gender” indicator on her identity card changed before using the female bathroom in a mall to avoid confusion. Such people should have the same rights to use public toilets as non-transgender citizens.

Transgender people are treated unequally in our society, such as in the workplace. There must be effective sex discrimination legislation that protects them. And we need to develop a more caring society.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people will continue to face discrimination if there is no change in the ­mindset.

Rachel Chan Hoi-ching, Kwai Chung